Transnational Task Force on the Arctic

2016 Arctic Task Force

Winter Quarter 2016 Transnational Task Force
ARCTIC 495C The Arctic – A New Player in International Relations

The Arctic is one of the most dynamic and interesting regions of the world to study today! It is the world’s air conditioner, yet it is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet. In the 21st century the region will see an ice-free Arctic Ocean for the first time in history. Many Arctic indigenous peoples have gone from being nomadic hunters to internet users in just one generation. The Inuit have become global leaders including making the important connection between climate change and human rights. Meanwhile, geopolitics in the Arctic intensifies. Russia has planted a flag at the North Pole. China, with a fifth of the world’s population, demands rights to Arctic energy. Military forces in the Arctic have been stepped up in recent years while Arctic communities struggle to build stronger capacity. As part of this Task Force, students will have the opportunity to travel to Ottawa, Canada’s capital, where they will meet with ambassadors, Inuit leaders and scholars. Two students will be selected to present their findings to the Senior Arctic Officials meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska in March! For students who want to be on the cutting edge of international affairs, this course is for you! To learn more, read the entire Task Force Description.

UW Students visited Ottawa on 24-30 Jan 2016.

Task Force Report
Ottawa Report
Ottawa Program
Task Force Album
Expert Evaluator Presentation
Task Force in Kesserwan Arteau Blog

Expert Evaluator

Kenneth-YalowitzAmbassador Kenneth Yalowitz became the Director of the Conflict Resolution MA Program at Georgetown University on July 1, 2015. He is also a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC and an adjunct professor of government at the Stanford University in Washington Program. He served as the Director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College from 2003 -2011 following retirement from the US Department of State after 36 years as a career diplomat and member of the Senior Foreign Service. Amabasador Yalowitz has served as a U.S. ambassador overseas and has won a variety of awards for conflict prevention and overall diplomatic performance.

He has authored or co-authored op eds and articles in publications such as the International Herald Tribune, Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, The National Interest, Reuters, CNN Blog, The American Interest, US News and World Report, Project Syndicate, McClatchy News and The Hill.

2016 Task Force Instructors

Nadine FabbiNadine C. Fabbi is the managing director of the Jackson School’s Canadian Studies Center, chair of the UW minor in Arctic studies and the UW representative for the University of the Arctic. Her research focuses on indigenous diplomacies and international relations in the Arctic. She teachers ARCTIC 200 and co-teaches the Task Force on the Arctic for the Jackson School. She has also taught Inuit history and political mobilization at the University of Alberta and the University Centre of the Westfjords in Ísafjörður, Iceland. Her publications include “Inuit foreign policy and international relations in the Arctic,” (in L. C. Jensen & G. Hønneland (Eds.), Handbook of the Politics of the Arctic 2015); “Inuit political involvement in the Arctic,” (in L. Heininen (Ed.), Arctic Yearbook 2012; and “Geopolitics, Arctic Council, and Arctic resources,” with V. Gallucci and D. Hellmann (in C. Carothers, et al. (Eds.), Fishing People of the North: Cultures, Economies, and Management Responding to Change, 2012).

Vincent Gallucci

Vincent Gallucci is the chair and director of the Jackson School’s Canadian Studies Center, director of the Center for Quantitative Science in the UW College of the Environment, professor in the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and adjunct professor with the Ellison Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies at the Jackson School, and also at the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. His research focus is the geopolitical dimensions of Arctic development as viewed through the impact of international actors on the Arctic Council. He is also deeply involved with Arctic and sub-Arctic marine fisheries management, endangered species protection, Russian fisheries science and Russian involvement in the Arctic debate. Gallucci has taught a course on marine policy for more than 10 years. He serves on an Arctic biodiversity assessment team appointed by the Arctic Council and on the Russian Academy of Sciences editorial board for the journal Regionalistica, devoted to research on the social and economic processes occurring in the Russian far east.

International Policy Institute Fellow

Brandon-RayBrandon Ray is a research assistant in University of Washington’s Department of Atmospheric Science. His research focuses on sea ice predictability in the Arctic at seasonal to interannual timescales, with the goal of allowing stakeholders to better understand the limitations of seasonal forecasts. Brandon was a member of the inaugural Arctic Research Fellows program at UW, where he worked with another graduate student, Brit Sojka, and Nadine Fabbi on a project which examined how the climate change narratives of scientific, political, and indigenous communities have evolved and influenced each other in the Arctic. A naval officer of nine years, Brandon is also interested in how climate change has been incorporated into national security strategies, focusing specifically on the Arctic.

UW International Policy Institute Arctic Fellow

JoelJoël Plouffe Joël Plouffe is a Research Fellow at the Interuniversity Research Center on the International Relations of Canada and Québec (CIRRICQ) at ENAP, Montréal, Co-Managing Editor of the Arctic Yearbook, and Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI). Joël’s research and publications focus mainly on Arctic geopolitics and security, and Canada-US relations. He was a Visiting Scholar at Western Washington University (WWU) in 2010 and 2015, and Visiting Scholar and Faculty Advisor at the Jackson School for International Studies (JSIS) at the University of Washington (UW) in 2013. He is a member of the Northern Research Forum’s (NRF)/UArctic Thematic Network on Geopolitics and Security; ArcticNet’s Arctic Transportation Programme; and an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Arctic Security Alumnus, U.S. Department of State. Joël is a PhD candidate in Public Policy Analysis at ENAP and his thesis deals with US Arctic region foreign policy making and implementation.

Task Force Students

Kelsey-BrewsterKelsey Brewster
Major: International Studies
Climate change is affecting many different populations on Earth with rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and severe weather changes. Over the course of this Task Force, I hope to discover how the Arctic Council is attempting to deal with the results of this environmental phenomenon, especially in highly sensitive areas like the Arctic.

Elizabeth-CastroElizabeth Castro
Major: International Studies
Minor: Education, Learning & Society
With an interest in human rights policy advocacy, I aim to explore the discourse around climate change in the Arctic and environmental protections as fundamental human rights. In this Task Force, I will also focus on economic prospects for indigenous communities including employment shifts, migration trends, and corporate industry expansion.

Jake-CrepsJake Creps
Major: International Studies—Environmental Studies Track
With an interest in human rights policy advocacy, I aim to explore the discourse around climate change in the Arctic and environmental protections as fundamental human rights. In this Task Force, I will also focus on economic prospects for indigenous communities including employment shifts, migration trends, and corporate industry expansion.The arctic is a very dynamic and important region. Each year, the problems in the arctic seem to grow. I really enjoy problem solving and the arctic region is something I have been interested in since I was a very young age. I hope to connect with like-minded people who are equally interested in not only learning more about the arctic region, but helping in solving the problems that are present there.

Erika-DoaneErika Doane
Major: International Studies
Being an International Studies major, I have become interested in the multitude of ways that decisions and actions of the most prominent players in the world system affect indigenous peoples. It seems that many times, those without a voice are affected the most. I am also interested in thinking about and reporting on what role the Arctic Council should play concerning key issues facing the Arctic region today. It will be an honor to travel with other students to Canada’s capital to engage in research and address topics of great importance in today’s world.

Jordan-HabenichtJordan Habenicht
Major: International Studies—International Political Economy Track
Minor: German
I have had the opportunity to spend about six months in Alaska on a humanitarian mission with the US military. Now, I would like the chance to learn more about the economic and international relations issues that surround the Arctic and what can be done to reach an multinational agreement.

Laura-HeckenlivelyLaura Heckenlively
Major: International Studies—Environmental Studies Track
As an environmental advocate, I am extremely passionate about preserving the world for future generations. With our current climactic instability, relations in the Arctic holds the ability to change the course of anthropogenic climate change, as well as educating younger generations about human involvement in the environment. In regard to the Arctic Council, policy and decision makers hold the power to chart the course of human history, and I am deeply interested in learning more about their motives and history.

Ivalene-LaohajaratsangIvalene Laohajaratsang
Major: International Studies
Minor: Law, Societies, and Justice
With an interest in international law and human rights advocacy, I wish to broaden my knowledge on indigenous rights and potentially find ways to improve the quality of life for people in the Arctic region. I believe that the political role of the Arctic Council will not only influence the future socio-economic aspects within the region, but also determine the region’s position on an international platform as well.

Danika-MooreDanika Moore
Major: International Studies
Minor: Environmental Studies
I am interested in the Arctic Task Force because of the confluence of environmental and indigenous issues. It seems as though a grassroots environmental movement is taking hold world-wide, and I am interested to see how that plays out in the Arctic. The Arctic is also seen as the world’s ‘last frontier’ and I am curious to see what major powers plan to do with the resources and land area of the Arctic as we continue to become more aware of the reality of climate change.

Allison-RutzAllison Rutz
Major: International Studies—Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Peace and Security Track
In this task force I am interested in how the changing Arctic environment is impacting the livelihoods of indigenous communities on a small scale, day-to-day basis. Combined with that, I want to gain an understanding of the environmental effects of resource extraction in the area, and how the efforts and opinions of local actors are being incorporated in the larger, federal and international dialog and processes regarding Arctic resources.

Yuchen-WangClaire Yuchen Wang
Major: International Studies and Economics
I am interested in the environmental impact that comes from the Arctic meltdown, and the economic and security implications in the Arctic that will affect geopolitical relations among the Arctic nations as well as other key players. My hope from the task force is to identify specific, actionable policy suggestions for government, businesses as well as individuals like me to make sustainable and responsible decisions for future generations and our planet.


Tyler-WheelerKyle Wheeler
Major: International Studies—Diplomacy and Security Track
I’m interested in the Arctic because it is a region that is going to play a pivotal role in the future of our planet. The Arctic is a region that is seeing a lot of attention from different world powers for their resources and territory, but is also drastically changing due to climate change and pollution, which will have a devastating effect on the world as a whole. I am most interested in how states are addressing these new issues brought up by climate change.


Mac-ZellemMac Zellem
Major: Economics and International Studies
As an Economics and International Studies double major I am fascinated by the interconnections of the global market. The opening up of the Arctic provides challenges and opportunities as resource extraction becomes viable, new global trade routs become feasible, and nations jostle for geopolitical power.