Workshop on security policy in the North American Arctic
By Helga Guðrún Númadóttir & Rasmus Leander Nielsen, Nasiffik
Friday the 21st and Saturday the 22nd of April, Nasiffik - Centre for Foreign and Security Policy at Ilisimatusarfik hosted the North American Arctic Security Workshop #1 (NAASW) in collaboration with colleagues from Alaska and Canada.
The workshop was held at Ilisimatusarfik, and is the first in a series of workshops that will take place across the North American Arctic from Nuuk, Greenland over to Nunavut, Canada to Nome, Alaska.
The focus of the workshops is security policy in the North American Arctic, i.e. the geographical region from Greenland in the east to Alaska in the west.
The events build on an ongoing collaboration between Nasiffik, the North American and Arctic Defense and Security Network (NAADSN) and the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies (TSC).
The workshop brought together various experts and practitioners from Greenland, the United States, Canada and the Kingdom of Denmark to discuss the broad and multifaceted aspects affecting North American Arctic security. The dialogue was based on a broad definition of "security", i.e. beyond military issues to also include economic, environmental and social aspects of security.
The workshop included speakers from Naalakkersuisut, the American and Canadian military, the Joint Arctic Command as well as Greenlandic diplomats and a number of researchers.
Prominent attendees included Naalakkersuisoq for Foreign Affairs Vivian Motzfeldt, Kenneth Høegh, Head of Greenland Representation in Washington DC, Mininnguaq Kleist, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Business and Trade of Greenland, Joanie Simon, Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Nuuk, Major General Randy "Church" Kee, Senior Advisor for Arctic Security Affairs at the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, and Dr. Whitney Lackenbauer, Professor at Trent University, Canada.
Students of Arctic Social Science at Ilisimatusarfik also participated in the discussions - and the student involvement and engagement was highly praised by the guests.
The purpose of NAASW#1 and future workshops in this series will be to examine the current and future security issues and challenges facing the North American Arctic region with rising geopolitical tensions.
By holding the series of workshops in different locations in the North American Arctic, the organizers will take advantage of local expertise and experiences from indigenous communities in the Arctic to further engage in a dialogue on these important issues.