History of the Arctic Initiative at the University of Washington

1909 – Perhaps the first inspiration for Arctic studies at the University of Washington began in 1909 when the university hosted the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific World’s Fair. Arctic Indigenous Peoples from Alaska and Labrador traveled to the exposition as part of circumpolar diplomacy.

June 2005 – In the Summer of 2005 the first Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship in the U.S. in Inuktitut was awarded to Timothy Pasch.

April 2008 – Executive Vice Provost, D. Wadden, submits letter of interest in membership to University of the Arctic. See letter here.

June 2008 – The University of Washington’s application to University of the Arctic (UArctic) is accepted at the UArctic annual meeting held at the Circumpolar Institute, University of Alberta. UW becomes just the second UArctic member in the contiguous states. See the powerpoint presentation here. Nadine Fabbi, Canadian Studies Center, and Vincent Gallucci, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, serve as the first UW Council Representatives for UArctic.

January 2013 – The Fulbright Canada Visiting Chair in Arctic Studies is established at the UW via a five-year MOU approved by the Office of Global Affairs, College of the Environment, the Division of Social Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, and the Foundation for Educational Exchange Between Canada and the United States of America. See MOU here.

2013-14 – Tony Penikett, former premier of the Yukon, serves as the first Fulbright Canada Visiting Chair in Arctic Studies.

2013 – The Future of Ice initiative, proposed by Eric Steig, Earth and Space Sciences, and Ben Fitzhugh, Anthropology, is launched representing a commitment by the UW Washington to invest in knowledge about the polar regions. Lisa Graumlich, Dean of the College of the Environment, appointed a Task Force to oversee the initiative. See the Future of Ice website here. See the January 2014 article on the initiative launch here.

14 January 2014 – UW President Michael K. Young approves the minor in Arctic Studies authorizing the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies and the School of Oceanography to specify these requirements in autumn quarter 2013. See letter of authorization here.

June 2014 – Walter O’Toole, a major in English and Creative Writing, is the first UW student to declare and achieve a minor in Arctic Studies.

2015 – The first issue of Arctic and International Relations Series is published titled “Québec Policy on the Arctic: Challenges and Perspectives, edited by Nadine C. Fabbi and Vincent Gallucci.

March 2018 – The School of Marine Affairs and the Department of American Indian Studies are awarded bridge funding for a new hire in population health, “Addressing the Coupled Issues of Health and the Environment in Arctic Indigenous Communities.” See article here. Joshua Griffin is appointed to the position in the Fall of 2019.

January 2019 – The second MOU (2018-23) for the Fulbright Canada Visiting Chair in Arctic Studies is signed by President Ana Mari Cauce and Fulbright CEO, Michael Hawes at the University of Washington. See the MOU here; see the article here.

September 2020 – Elena Campbell, Department of History, replaces Vincent Gallucci as the UW Council Representative for UArctic for a four-year term (2020-24).

September 2022 – Jason Young, Information School, replaces Nadine Fabbi as the UW Council Representative for UArctic for a four-year term (2022-26). See article here.