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Arctic education leader

UArctic empowering people of the circumpolar North

Teaching and Learning

By Nora Daly

A recent federal government investment of $4.5 million in the University of the Arctic (UArctic) will enable the network of more than 200 universities, colleges and research institutes to increase its activities and programming in Canada.

Students
A Students on Ice expedition.
Photo: Submitted

It will also allow for an increase in circumpolar engagement and co-operation.

Education and research

As members of UArctic, Memorial and Yukon College co-manage the funds, another example of Memorial’s leadership in national and international collaborations for education and research.

UArctic is among the world’s largest international networks of educational and research institutions. It leads, partners and supports co-operation for education, research and outreach concerned with education and research in and about the North.

“These challenges can only be tackled by having access to current, strong and quality information.” — Sheila Downer

Memorial recently led the submission of a UArctic proposal to the federal government’s Arctic Policy Framework for re-engagement and support on a number of initiatives focusing on increased northern and Indigenous capacity-building for relevant circumpolar education and research co-operation.

“The changes taking place in the Arctic are not only opening up new opportunities, but are at the same time creating challenges, especially for the people who live there,” said Sheila Downer, strategic northern liaison with the Office of Public Engagement, and vice-president of finance, development and engagement with UArctic.

“These challenges can only be tackled by having access to current, strong and quality information. UArctic, through its member institutions, is rising to the challenges surrounding the need for research and can be impactful in assisting place-based solutions to issues affecting Arctic regions.”

Ice and water
An Arctic landscape.
Photo: Submitted

An important aspect of federal re-engagement with UArctic is the strengthening of northern and Indigenous mobility by supporting international opportunities for students and faculty of Canada’s northern regions. It will also support internships for graduates and young professionals with northern business and industry, helping to build Arctic capacity competence and future northern leaders.

Funding for UArctic was part of a larger $28.7 million federal government commitment to the Arctic to support Canada at the Arctic Council, a sustainable development working group, permanent participation capacity and youth engagement.

“It is our hope to eventually see all the other Arctic countries be inspired by the long-term support agreements, as well as by Canada’s recent decision to re-establish support of UArctic’s leadership and programming for advancing international Arctic education and research co-operation,” Ms. Downer said.


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