Arctic Sovereignty Students

We would like to introduce you to the student team for SIS 495 Task Force on Arctic Sovereignty. They will act much like a Presidential or Royal Commission to produce an extensive report on alternative approaches to the resolution of the emerging international dispute over who owns the Arctic. The report will be evaluated by Professor Rob Heubert, Associate Director for the Center for Strategic and Military Studies at the University of Calgary. The students are all International Studies majors in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. This Winter Quarter 2009 course is their capstone senior experience.

On behalf of the students we wish to thank you for taking the time to introduce this critical issue from the perspective of your department, organization or research. Our meetings with you are invaluable and will surely enhance their knowledge if not alter the course of their academic interests. Following is our team and what they hope to learn from this quarter's experience and the fact-finding mission to Ottawa. - Merci! Nakurmiik!

Gustaf Andreasen Gustaf Andreasen
Major: International Studies
Minor: Geography Degree
I am interested in Arctic sovereignty because as climate change occurs in the Arctic there will be vast new resources available, as well as large amounts of new land. Already in the Arctic is a population of native Inuit people who view the Arctic in a different way than nation-state diplomacy and international law. The new available resources, Inuit people, and nation-state governance could potentially end up in an international dispute of epic proportions. I hope to contribute an understanding of the region before an international dispute leads to irreversible effects on our climate and the Inuit people.
Emily Epsten

Emily J. Epsten
Major: International Studies
Minor: Human Rights
I am interested in this topic because it is such a new and urgent issue. The topic of oil and natural gas has been a key component of the national election this year, as well as the center of debate in the international sphere, which both show how pressing this issue is. Additionally, as a Human Rights Minor, I am very interested in the indigenous populations that will be affected by the melting ice caps.

Emily is now a graduate student at UCLA for Masters of Public Health in the Community Health Sciencs Department.

Patrick Lennon Patrick I. L. Lennon
Major: International Studies
Minor: Human Rights
I am interested in this topic due to the monumental importance of the Arctic region in the near future; no one from any country can afford to ignore this issue. Given the proximity and close relationship between the United States and Canada, Americans especially need to be engaged with this topic. I am also interested in several subtopics that are part of the dispute: the human rights issues around aboriginal sovereignty, the effectiveness and implementation of international law, and national sovereignty versus the interests of the international community. I have many family members in Canada, so there is a personal interest as well!
Alison McKay Alison McKay
Major: International Studies
Minor: Spanish
I am intrigued by the interaction between indigenous groups and the international community, an issue at the forefront of Arctic sovereignty. As the polar ice caps melt, opening trade routes and exposing new resources, tensions will certainly escalate between world powers concerning rights to this territory. While destructive effects on both indigenous peoples and global warming may be ignored in the rush for oil, I want to contribute my effort to ensure that these issues are not forgotten. Canada, with potentially threatened native communities, will play a key role in protecting these groups as the international community debates rights to the Arctic.
April Nishimura April G. Nishimura
Major: International Studies
I am interested in how traditionally separate perspectives, whether held by scientists, corporations, indigenous communities, or the state, have historically constructed notions of property and land use to support their interests. Is there overlap between these groups' goals for the Arctic? Can these common interests be brought to the forefront in policy making? Specifically, I am interested in examining Arctic sovereignty through a historical lens that centers on the experience of indigenous people. What grassroots strategies have the Inuit developed and how has this organizing transformed their communities? What is the possibility for creating new alliances? I look forward to learning from all of you on these issues.
Kristen Olson Kristen C. Olson
Major: International Studies: Environmental Studies
Minor: Russian Language
It is in the best interest of the international community to resolve areas of contested resource ownership, such as Arctic sovereignty, to avoid eco-based conflicts. The United States and Canada’s neighborly relationship can promote a forum for frank discussions of how to manage Arctic waters in the face of global natural resource scarcity. These two leading nations are home to important environmentalists, politicians, scientists, and indigenous leaders who all have innovative ideas concerning the future of the Arctic. I look forward to learning from Canadian leaders to create a balanced policy recommendation concerning one of the world’s most precious marine areas.
Stephen Printz Stephen Printz
Major: International Studies
Minor: Spanish
I am interested in this task force because I believe that the issue of Arctic sovereignty is going to be a legitimate concern of the future for many developed nations. I would like to analyze this issue and contribute towards a policy that could help avoid global disaster and build up Canada-US relations. This new dispute over the Arctic has the makings to be as powerful and historic as the Space Race. An issue with the potential to have such a significant impact on the future of global politics and economics is an issue I want to help resolve.
Andrew Schwartz Andrew Schwartz
Major: International Studies
The Task Force on Arctic Sovereignty is an opportunity to investigate innovative ideas of the State. As Canada, the United States, and Russia posture for increased economic hegemony in the polar region, the international community must proactively respond to the territorial claims of new and traditional voices. It is very exciting to be part of this new and important academic pursuit!
Marta Schwendeman Marta Schwendeman
Major: International Studies
In my time as an undergraduate, I've become interested in the grey areas of international law and negotiations that contribute to the resolution of international conflicts. Last fall quarter I took Water and Security in the Middle East with Professor Lorenz, which focused on the allocation of water resources among several nations. Although the Arctic dispute differs in character, it encompasses similar political, environmental, and economic issues. The Arctic Sovereignty Task Force provides a great opportunity to research and collaborate with my peers and apply our knowledge practically during the fact-finding mission in Ottawa.
Naama Sheffer Naama Sheffer
Major: International Studies
When considering current developments in the Arctic, I find the ramifications for international relations, international law, Northern countries’ security policies and capabilities, the reshaping of the global shipping system, Arctic development, etc. to be fascinating. These emerging issues and new ways of looking at the world are exciting to follow, and have potentially far-reaching implications. The changing and unpredictable nature of physical conditions in the Arctic only add to the need to make a variety of predictions—predictions that will be influencing government policies, business decisions, and the international structure in the coming decades.
Ruben Shimonov Ruben Shimonov
Major: International Studies; Near Eastern Languages and Civilization
The issue of Arctic sovereignty interests me because it encompasses a wide range of key social, legal, political, and economic issues in the contemporary world. It takes into account the pertinent topics of global climate change, growing tension between Russia and the West, petroleum scarcity, national proprietary rights, and the rights of indigenous ethnic groups. Thus, in order to engage in a discussion on the Arctic crisis, one must be cognizant of how all of these issues are encapsulated in the debate.
Jamie Stroble Jamie Stroble
Major: International Studies: Development; Environmental Studies
Minor: Geography; Diversity; Environmental Science &Resource Management
I am intrigued by the Arctic sovereignty issue as it represents a unique intersection of my interests. As a double major in International Studies and Environmental Studies, I am most interested in the ways that the environment figures into international policy. Within environmental policy, I am especially interested in the rights of indigenous peoples in the face of global warming. There is a critical need to evaluate the effects of global warming, and assess the implications for governments, commerce, and human rights worldwide. Both the United States and Canada are uniquely positioned to become leaders in this arena.
Julia Troutt Julia Troutt
Major: International Studies
Minor: Human Rights
The issue of Arctic sovereignty is interesting to me personally because of my focus in environmental studies and my interest in the rights of indigenous peoples. However, I wanted to become a part of this task force mostly because of the world-wide importance of this issue now and in the near future. This issue will not only affect the countries that are directly involved, but the United States and other nations as well, so being well-versed in the nuances of this problem will be of great value.