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Huskies in Ottawa: Canadian Studies-International Studies Centers’ Fact-Finding Mission to Ottawa

February 28, 2010

Above: Scott and Kelsey (to Scott’s right), editors of the Task Force report, with Makivik Corporation participants from Nunavik, Canada, Lisa Koperqualak (far right) and Kitty Gordon (far left).

By Scott Halliday and Kelsey Barrett

The International Studies undergraduate major at the University of Washington is characterized by a cohort of students united in their interest to learn about the way the world works from a global perspective. Some might pursue this interest through learning about economic development, others through comparative analysis of world religions, and others through critical studies of international relations. For all International Studies undergraduates, their education culminates in the senior capstone project known as Task Force.

Required of all students in their senior year, the Task Force is an exercise in writing a policy paper to provide an expert evaluator with recommendations grounded in analytical research. As current participants in the 2011 Task Force on Arctic Governance, we have been paired with Nadine Fabbi, the Associate Director of Canadian Studies and Vincent Gallucci, Professor of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, to examine how the Arctic, as an emerging field in international relations, should best be governed. Evaluating our final Task Force report is the US Representative to the Arctic Council, Mrs. Julie Gourley. Dating back to the first week of January and ending with the oral defense of their report on March 10th, our task force has been diligently researching, analyzing, and writing about pertinent Arctic policies. The highlight of our Task Force on Arctic Governance was the unique fact-finding mission to Ottawa, Canada to gather data, information, and advice to inform the final policy report.

Beginning at the Burke Museum parking lot at 5 a.m. on Saturday, January 29th, 2011, 14 of us migrated to Ottawa for a week of intense discussions, meetings, and interviews that ended with lifelong memories. We were joined by two Inuit students from the Nunavik region of Québec in Ottawa who were also part of our class, making it a truly global Task Force. Included in our trip were visits to the embassies of Russia, Iceland, USA, Denmark, Norway, and EU, meetings with Department of Foreign Affairs and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, discussions with the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa, consultations with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and the Inuit Circumpolar Council and various other experts in the field of Arctic Governance. This jam-packed trip was book-ended by excursions to Canadian Parliament and ice-skating escapades on the Rideau Canal to name a few.

For many of us the most memorable event was the Task Force’s attendance at the ITK’s “A Taste of the Arctic”, a gala celebrating the organization’s 40th anniversary that was an elegant evening filled with live performances, traditional Inuit delicacies, and notable speeches by former Governor General of Canada Michaëlle Jean and ITK President Mary Simon. We had the invaluable opportunity to interact and network with experts in the field of Arctic Governance, to strengthen our scope of understanding, and to develop professionally. In leaving Ottawa, we were better prepared to write a comprehensive policy paper, but more importantly, we were now a global Arctic Governance Task Force team. Learning firsthand from the Inuit students their perspectives on Arctic Governance and watching how slowly policy actually becomes implemented, proved the most valuable lessons of all.

Task Force Team visits Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, one of the sponsors of the Program.

Here’s to wonderful memories formed and countless hours of paper-writing ahead! See you later, a tout a l’heure, and Tavvauvusi!In reflection, our team will be writing a policy paper to inform the US Representative to the Arctic Council on our conclusions for how the Arctic should be governed. Rather than simply viewing this course as a capstone project that needs to be done prior to graduation, we have collectively embraced the challenge to become a strong team. Our trip to Ottawa will forever be in our minds as a unique privilege and experience beyond simply enhancing our understanding of Arctic Governance. Special thanks from our class goes out to Tamara Leonard and Sara Curran at the Center for Global Studies, the Government of Canada, and the Don Hellmann Fund in the Jackson School of International Studies which helped make this trip a reality. Special thanks from our class also goes out to Jean-François Arteau and Donat Savoie of the Makivik Corporation, whose tireless efforts and coordination made the trip so successful, informative, and truly global. Last but not least, special thanks goes to our instructors Nadine and Vince, whose constant support and insight has helped our team realize its potential.

Ottawa Schedule

Scott Halliday is a major in International Studies and pre-Med and a minor in Global Health. He is interested in exploring how the intersection between Arctic governance, indigenous rights, and climate change contributes to the determinants of health for people living in the Arctic region. Kelsey Barrett is a major in International Studies and in JSIS Honors with a minor in Political Science. She is interested in the governance of the Arctic region because it is an emerging issue in international studies, attracting political attention and spurring competition among countries vying for ownership of newly exposed natural resources. Kelsey wants to see what institutional arrangement of rules or laws could be devised to incentivize individuals and groups towards productive, cooperative and mutually beneficial ends.

The 2011 Task Force on Arctic Governance is a joint program between the Canadian and Global Studies Centers in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington and part of the Canadian Studies Center and Makivik Corporation, Nunavik, Canada, Educational Initiative. The Ottawa Research Trip is sponsored by the Canadian and Global Studies Title VI grants, International Education Programs Service, U.S. Department of Education; Government of Canada; Hellmann Fund for Innovation and Excellence; Maxwell M. and Julia Fisher Endowment; International Studies Program Discretionary Fund; Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies; Wilburforce Foundation, Seattle; and Makivik Corporation.