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2024 Task Force: Indigenous and International Relations in a Warming Arctic

2024 Arctic Task Force students and advisers

April 8, 2024

The Donald C. Helmann Task Force Program is a student-led experiential learning capstone in the Jackson School of International Studies which results in policymaking recommendations presented by students to expert evaluators from the foreign policy field. One of the topics featured this year, Indigenous and International Relations in a Warming Arctic, was led by the Canadian Studies Center with support from the East Asia Center and Center for Global Studies.

This year’s Arctic Task Force focused on the relationship between Arctic Indigenous Peoples and major superpowers such as China. Advised by Michelle Koutnik, College of the Environment, students examined whose voices are dominant in the policy development process and how Inuit are influencing international relations in the region.

In December, fourteen students participated in a week-long research tour to Ottawa with Koutnik, Canadian Studies director Nadine Fabbi, East Asia Center managing director Paul Carrington, and iSchool senior research scientist Jason Young. The trip included meetings with the Norwegian Embassy, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (national Inuit organization), and other Arctic experts and policymakers.

Over the course of winter quarter, students researched and put together a 162-page report with their findings and recommendations. The group presented their research to expert evaluator Whit Fraser, Viceregal Consort of Canada, longtime CBC reporter, founding chair of the Canadian Polar Commission, and former executive director of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

Read the 2024 Arctic Task Force Report here.

A student presents at a podium in front of a group of people seated at tables arranged in a horseshoe shape

Students presented their policy recommendations to expert evaluator Whit Fraser, Task Force advisers, and Consul General of Canada Adam Barratt. Photo credit: Monqiue Thormann.

Funding for the Arctic Task Force was made possible, in part, by the Government of Canada; the Canadian Studies Center, East Asia Center, and Center for Global Studies with Title VI grant funding administered by the International and Foreign Language Education office in the Office of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education; the Office of Global Affairs; the Don C. Hellmann Fund; and the Buchman Family Foundation.