by Sophie Hubbell and Adam Akerblom, Arctic Initiative Interns, UW Undergraduates
Every so often the University has the honor of hosting one of the world’s bright minds in the form of a visiting scholar. In January the Canadian Studies Center had the pleasure of welcoming Joёl Plouffe to our beautiful campus. On the 15th of January we, the Arctic Initiative Interns, had the opportunity to spend the afternoon with Joёl showing him around our campus. Joёl is a professor visiting the University of Washington from Université du Québec à Montréal, and is here teaching the Task Force on Arctic Security. His primary focus is the international relations between actors involved in the Arctic as well as their security dimensions. These include international commerce, economics and military questions in the area. The research he conducts is an investigation of the geopolitical and regional dynamics of the numerous Arctic states and actors. Particularly the role played by Arctic interests in U.S. foreign policy is a major focal point.
When asked what the single most important thing he wanted people to understand about his research is, he divulged that the region is exceedingly dynamic in nature. Its diversity, peoples, cultures, histories, and biodiversity should be in the forefront of Arctic initiatives. The Arctic ice is disappearing however the people are not. Climate change can mean new opportunities that foster adaptation and substantial growth. This knowledge is taking effect in the Nordic region however Joёl seeks to create an awakening within North America and political science as a whole. The issues of the Arctic are not often felt by the southern-oriented people of North America and as such are largely absent from political debate and academic curriculums.
His foremost task during his visit to Seattle is to teach the 2013 Task Force on Arctic Security, a program of the Canadian Studies and International Studies programs in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. With climate change and globalization, the transformations taking place in Alaska, the Canadian Arctic territories and Inuit regions, and other Arctic nation-states, provide an opportunity to identify, assess, and challenge the meanings of ‘Arctic Security’ in the 21st century. The program is funded in part by the Ministère des relations internationales of the Gouvernement du Québec (MRI) (Website: http://jsis.washington.edu/canada/quebec/) In addition to this Joёl will also be giving a lecture entitled “Media in the Arctic, A Case Study of Canada and Quebec” on March 7th right here at the UW.
Sophie Hubbell and Adam Akerblom are the Arctic Initiative Interns through the Canadian Studies Center. The Arctic Initiative includes expanding Arctic Studies at the UW.
Funding for the Québec Visiting Professor Grant and the Québec Unit Grant are provided by the Government of Québec, United States University Grant Program.