University of Washington

Undergraduate News

Many undergraduate students at the UW are involved in studies and projects relating to Canada. Following are articles by students from a variety of departments and schools relaying their experiences and how involvement with the Center and enhanced study of Canada is benefiting them academically and professionally.

January 2015
UW's First Student Ambassador to University of Arctic
Ian Lee, Earth and Space Sciences, is among the first cohort of students from the circumpolar world to be selected as a youth ambassador for University of the Arctic. 

January 2015
Student in UW’s First ARCTIC 200 Course now Intern for Arctic Caucus
by Devon O’Neill, International Studies
ARCTIC 200 Indigenous Diplomacies and International Relations gave me the opportunity to meet Executive Director of Pacific Northwest Economic Region, Matt Morrison, where I learned about the Arctic Caucus where I now serve as an intern.

Winter 2014
The Canadian Studies Center Welcomes the First Arctic Minor Student!
by Walter O'Toole, English Major, Arctic Studies Minor and Andrea Banel, Graduate Student, Evans School of Public Affairs; Canadian Studies Center Reporter

Summer 2012
Welcome New Undergrad to Canada!
Bénédicte Bicaba, triple major in French, Medical Anthropology and Global Health

  Spring 2012
Sustainable Socio-Economic Development: Indigenous Peoples in the Russian North

Victoria Choe, International Studies 
Winter 2012
Student from the Arctic Sovereignty Task Force 2011, creates ties with the Government of Québec 

Dominic Maltais, International Studies 
Winter 2012
Arctic Governance Task Force Presents at the UW Annual Undergrad Research Symposium


Winter 2011
Students from the International Studies in Business Program attend the Pacific Northwest Economic Conference of British Columbia

Garrett Mayock, International Studies

Winter 2010
Native American Students in Advanced Academia Annual Symposium
Karen Capuder, Anthropology

Circumpolar World Fall 2009
A Semester at University of Ottawa

Adam Tanga, Political Science
Circumpolar World Summer 2009
The Circumpolar World

George Roth, Geography
Arctic Governance Task Force Presents at Research Symposium Spring 2009
Arctic Governance Task Force Presents at Research Symposium

Kristen Olsen, International Studies
Spring 2008
University of the Arctic Council Meeting

Naama Sheffer, International Studies
Lu Jiang
Winter 2008
Crossing Borders Conference
Lu Jiang, Business, UW Tacoma
Winter 2008
Undergrad Research
Shirley Henderson, International Studies
LinhPhung Huynh
, International Studies / Political Science
Fall 2007
Internship Experience
Myles Brenner, Political Science


UW’s First Student Ambassador to University of Arctic

Ian is currently a junior in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences majoring in Geophysics. Due to his keen interest in glaciers and ice, he has plans to pursue graduate studies in glaciology. While more inclined towards the scientific aspects of glaciology, Ian regardless understands the importance of the other aspects of glaciology such as its political and anthropological nature. As a result, in his new role as a University of the Arctic (UArctic) Student Ambassador, Ian intends to further spread awareness of the issues currently ongoing in the Arctic and bring more needed attention to one of the last few bastions of pristine wilderness. At the same time, Ian also intends to use this opportunity as a UArctic Student Ambassador to learn more about the Arctic in the big picture, while continuing to pursue and supplement his studies in geophysics/glaciology.

With all that in mind, having the opportunity to attend the Arctic Frontiers Forum in Tromsø, Norway this coming January will be a great way to start Ian's three-year tenure as a UArctic Student Ambassador. The Arctic Frontiers Forum features various speakers who are leaders of their respective fields regarding the Arctic, including many notable glaciologists. Ian is excited to begin this journey and intends to make full use of the opportunities provided to him to make the experience a brilliant one.

University of the Arctic’s (UArctic) Student Ambassador Program is designed to train student leaders in the skills necessary to represent the UArctic network as well as their own home institutions on and off campus, and to grow UArctic’s student community. Ian's participation in the University of the Arctic Youth Ambassador Program was made possible, in part, by funding from the Office of Global Affairs, Future of Ice, and the Department of Earth and Space Sciences.

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Student in UW’s First ARCTIC 200 Course now Intern for Arctic Caucus

by Devon O’Neill, International Studies

I was originally exposed to the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) through previous research but received additional exposure in the ARCTIC 200 course through the Jackson School of International Studies. This introductory class has proved to be incredibly useful in securing an internship and exposing me to opportunities outside the university. It provided me with the chance to meet with the Executive Director of PNWER, Matt Morrison, and gave me the knowledge I needed to participate in discussions about the Arctic.

PNWER’s Arctic Caucus provides a forum for legislators in the Canadian and American governments to work with private sector actors to share information, discuss issues of mutual concern, and collaborate on action items and policy. This year, the Arctic Caucus will be focusing on Arctic marine transport, the implications of changing leadership in the Arctic Council, and working towards a regional policy that encompasses all jurisdictions.

In the next several months, PNWER will be working towards progress on the collective goals of the region, and I am excited to work with all involved parties in developing these comprehensive strategies, as well as increasing my knowledge of a relatively unknown region. It will be interesting to see how both of these aspects play out.

The Arctic Caucus of the PNWER is a partnership between Alaska, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. The partnership aims to provide a forum to share information, discuss issues of mutual concern, identify areas for collaboration between the three jurisdictions and the rest of North America, and provide Arctic-relevant input to PNWER working groups and the region at-large.

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The Canadian Studies Center Welcomes the First Arctic Minor Student!

by Walter O'Toole, English Major, Arctic Studies and Andrea Banel, Graduate Student, Evans School of Public Affairs; Canadian Studies Center Reporter

I began my Arctic studies with simple curiosity. While registering for Fall 2013 classes, I found a course on the Jackson School International Studies (JSIS) class listings: Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit. My father worked in the Alaskan Arctic for two decades, and I grew up with a strong (if second-hand) fascination and interest in the Arctic and Inuit culture. I sent an email to Nadine Fabbi inquiring about the class. She arranged a unique opportunity for me to study Inuktitut with Caitlyn Evans, the (Foreign Language Area of Studies) FLAS scholar who had arranged the course. I entered the class with the enthusiasm and support of both Nadine and Caitlyn, as well as the course instructor, Mick Mallon. I met Mr. Mallon and his wife Alexina Kublu during their visit to the University of Washington in December 2013. The class is conducted over videochat and Mick and Kublu work as a team, Mick handles the technical and linguistic concepts and Kublu is always ready to correct him. Through these courses at the UW, I have come to appreciate that Inukitut is “more than a language, it is a culture.” I was fascinated by the “beautiful juxtaposition of the richness of the life, culture, and wildlife in the Arctic and the extreme climate.”

About halfway into the quarter, Nadine asked if I would be interested in the newly created Arctic Studies Minor. I was greatly enjoying learning Inuktitut, and through the process, my fascination with the culture and environment behind the language was increasing. So I told her to sign me up!

My major is English, and I’m excited to see how these two fields of study will intersect. I’m interested in the ways literature and language relate to Arctic identities and cultures. I’m particularly interested in the oral literature of the Inuit, both in its traditional forms and in its presence in contemporary Arctic literature. Additionally, the relationships between people and wildlife are fascinating to me, and I look forward to exploring these in the context of the Arctic and in my own writing.

Arctic & International Relations ( is a Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies (JSIS)-wide initiative, led by the Canadian Studies Center since 2008, to address the Arctic as an emerging global region and actor on the world stage. JSIS and the Center are working in partnership with a parallel initiative, Future of Ice – a College of the Environment, College of Arts and Sciences, and Applied Physics Laboratory initiative – to enhance the University of Washington’s (UW) profile in research, education and public engagement about the polar regions.

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Welcome New Undergrad to Canada!

The Center would like to welcome freshman, Bénédicte Bicaba, triple major in French, Medical Anthropology and Global Health, as an undergrad associate in Canadian Studies.

“As a French major, I look forward to digging deeper into the history of Québec and to familiarize myself with its culture. As a native French speaker, it's interesting to me the different legacies that French language and culture has in different regions of the world. Also, as a medical anthropology student, it could be interesting to compare the differences in structure of the Canadian health care system and that of the United States.”

The Canadian Studies Center welcomes U.W. undergraduate students into its Associated Undergraduates of Canadian Studies program. The program provides mentorship and community to U.W. students seeking to increase their study of Canada, Québec and the Arctic.

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Sustainable Socio-Economic Development: Indigenous Peoples in the Russian North

By Victoria Choe 

Victoria presents her research "Indigenous Peoples in the Russia Arctic" at the Program on the Environment Capstone Symposium, May 2012. 

At the Spring 2012, Program on the Environment Capstone symposium, student Victoria Choe did her paper presentation. She writes in her abstract: Warming temperatures and the declining extent of sea ice have encouraged economic development in the Russian Arctic. The Russian Federation’s implementation of a foreign policy which places priority on sustainable socio-economic development, and protection of indigenous peoples and environment, surprised many within the international community. The strengthening
of the indigenous voice in Arctic governance is another significant recent transition. Indigenous peoples have gained the status of Permanent Participants in the Arctic Council, which is a high level intergovernmental forum for the Arctic region. My scholarly research aims to examine achievements by the indigenous peoples to ensure sustainable socio-economic development in the Russian Arctic. My work highlights ways in which indigenous peoples are utilizing international law and diplomacy to shape state policies. This research project uses four indigenous organizations as case studies to illustrate the evolving role of indigenous peoples in governance of the Russian Arctic. By examining the high degree of participation and political agency wielded by these non-traditional actors, it is clear that a paradigm shift in governance is taking place. This shift is one which marks the end of the strictly state-centric model of international relations towards a more cooperative and multi-lateral global political arrangement.

Pdf File 

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Student from the Arctic Sovereignty Task Force 2011, creates ties with the Government of Québec

Dominic Maltais from 2011 Task Force Arctic Governance Team with Claude Bachand, Government of Québec, one of our invited presenters in Ottawa last year during our one-week research trip as part of the Task Force on Arctic Sovereignty. 

By Dominic Maltais 

I graduated in the summer of 2011 from the Jackson School of International Studies with a major in International Studies and a minor in Latin American Studies. I am currently enrolled as a Master's student in comparative politics at McGill University. I always had an interest in indigenous politics but my participation in the Arctic Governance Task Force, carried out by the International and Canadian Studies Centers at the University of Washington, redirected my research and my career from Latin America to the Arctic. I came to be very interested in important developments happening in my home province of Québec, and the close relationship the government is building with its Inuit people. Since the beginning of the Task Force in 2010, I have received tremendous support from the Canadian Studies Center which has helped advance both my research and professional skills. Most notably, the Center gave me the opportunity to meet, learn from and build relationships with important Inuit and Québécois political figures, as well as the opportunity to present my research at the biennial Association for Canadian Studies in the United States conference in Ottawa. I have also received an invitation to publish my work in the American Review of Canadian Studies. Recently, I was offered an internship at the Secretariat aux Affaires Autochtones du Québec. I will be working on maintaining and improving ties between the Inuit of Nunavik and the Government of Québec. To this end, I will participate in negotiations and assist in the implementation of various agreements. Needless to say, this is an incredible career opportunity and I am immensely grateful to the Canada Studies Center for helping me get there! - Dominic Maltais

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Arctic Governance Task Force Presents at the UW Annual Undergrad Research Symposium

2011 Task Force Arctic Governance Team

The 2011 Task Force on Arctic Governance team presented their research at the UW Annual Undergrad Research Symposium. Their panel was entitled, "Governance Issues in the Arctic Region" presented as part of the session, "Governance, the Environment, and Private Militaries." Joel Migdal, Jackson School of International Studies, served as the moderator.





Task Force mentioned in Seattle Times:

For more information on the Task Force on Arctic Governance see the course website at:

For more information on the U.W. Undergraduate Research Symposium see:

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Students from the International Studies in Business Program attend the Pacific Northwest Economic Conference at University of British Columbia

Students at the Pacific Northwest Economic Conference of 2011 at University of British Columbia.

By Garrett Mayock

I am a German track member of the nationally-ranked Certificate of International Studies in Business Program (CISB) at the University of Washington Foster School of Business. I, along with 13 other CISB students, attended the 2011 Pacific Northwest Economic Conference thanks to the sponsorship of the UW’s Global Business and Canadian Studies Centers. The event was held on February 4 and 5, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The PNEC conference was designed by undergraduates at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia. The aim was to bring together students, academics and business people to discuss common economic issues facing the Pacific NW and look at how the region can leverage its unique characteristics to fully participate in the global economy. Workshops covered such areas as technology, sustainability, natural resources, Asia Pacific trade, real estate development, and venture capital/entrepreneurship.

The conference began with a Friday evening dinner and networking event. The keynote speaker was Yoram Bauman, an instructor at the University of Washington who is self-described as “the world’s first and only stand up economist”. He is co-author of the Cartoon Introduction to Economics and has appeared in TIME Magazine, on PBS and NPR, and regularly appears at the Comedy Underground. The amazing views from the 34th floor only provided fuel for the conversation as we were given the opportunity to mingle and socialize with many of the students from colleges around the Pacific Northwest.

The following morning we heard from Egils Milbergs, Executive Director of the Economic Development Commission of Washington State. Appointed by Governor Gregoire in 2008, he is charged with developing a long term economic development strategy and making Washington State the most innovative region in the world.

After breakfast, we broke out into three groups to participate in breakaway sessions. I attended the “Technology” session, which was largely about the development in the technology sectors of the Pacific Northwest and specifically Vancouver. The speaker helped us make connections between the real world and the economic theories we’ve all studied. The second session was lead by Stephen Brown, President of the B.C. Chamber of Shipping. His informative speech was largely about international shipping between Vancouver and various ports in China.

The keynote speaker was Nolan Watson, a young Vancouverite who graduated from UBC. He described how he grew from having no work experience to obtaining a position as CFO of Silver Wheaton Corp at the age of 27, and what eventually drove him to quit the job. His insights into “work-life balance” rejected that theory; he worked nearly 100 hours a week to achieve the results he did. He talked frankly about the difficulties of living that lifestyle, and was unafraid to discuss the benefits as well. His insights were simple but powerful and he was incredibly motivating. After he finished his presentation and opened up for questions, the organizers of the PNEC made several closing remarks, and we headed home.

All in all, it was an incredible experience for many reasons. Besides having the opportunity to talk frankly with many successful people from all sorts of careers, attending an international conference aimed specifically at college students provided a great ‘stepping stone’ toward an international business career. Now I know what to expect from an international conference and know how enlightening it can be. I left much more knowledgeable than I came, and would highly recommend this conference to future students. There aren’t many opportunities like this and it is well worth it.

Click here for conference info/program

This project was supported, in part, by funding from the Center’s Title VI grant, US Department of Education, Office of International Education Programs Service.

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Native American Students in Advanced Academia Annual Symposium

By Karen Capuder

NASAA President Karen Capuder (Kanien’keha:ka) is a PhD Candidate in the University of Washington’s Sociocultural Anthropology Program. Ms. Capuder’s collaborative ethnographic research with a local Tribal Elder is grounded in the Kaianereko:wa, the Great Law of Peace, of the Roti’nonshon:ni (Iroquois Confederacy).

On April 23 and 24, 2010, Native American Students in Advanced Academia (NASAA) hosted their Ninth Annual Symposium of Native Graduate Student and Faculty Research at the University of Washington. This year’s symposium, entitled Indigenous Research and Relationships, featured keynote speaker Dr. Shawn Wilson, an Opaskwayak Cree author and educator from northern Manitoba who currently lives with his wife and sons in New South Wales, Australia. Dr. Wilson’s 2008 book, Research is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods, is grounded in Cree teachings and life experience working with Indigenous peoples worldwide and is quickly becoming one of the most highly valued foundational texts for Indigenous and Indigenist researchers in both the social and physical sciences. Dr. Wilson’s keynote address, as well as his discussion forum on day two of the event, provided UW graduate students and community members with profound insights into the levels of relational accountability involved in culturally appropriate, ethical research.

NASAA was also deeply honored to host Cree/Metis filmmaker Loretta Todd, creator of the Aboriginal Media Lab, in partnership with the First Nations Studies Department at the University of British Columbia. Ms. Todd’s eloquent film, Kainayssini Imanistaisiwa: The People Go On explores the significance of land, memory, and knowledge in the lives of the Kainai Blood peoples of Alberta. Ms. Todd engaged in deep discussion with many of the film’s attendees after the screening, enabling the genesis of fruitful cross-border relationships, knowledge sharing, and community.

NASAA would also like to acknowledge the work of Michelle Daigle, member of the Constance Lake Cree First Nation and MA Candidate in the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria. Ms. Daigle currently lives in Seattle, and is a treasured new member of the NASAA community. Her presentation, “Awuwanainithukik (Living a Cree Way of Life): A Discussion on the Transmission of Indigenous Knowledge,” showed the promise of a young, gifted, critical Indigenous scholar, and was an inspiration and reminder to all of us of the passion and good-mindedness that we Indigenous scholars bring to the academy as we do our work grounded within our own ancestral values and teachings.

This year’s symposium, supported by the notions of relationships and relationality, brought diverse Indigenous and Indigenist scholars together for two full days of much needed ceremony. NASAA would like to extend their appreciation to the many gifted scholars from UW and beyond who shared their work with all of us. NASAA is also grateful to the Canadian Studies Center for their generous support for this year’s symposium and film screening, for their commitment to Indigenous education at UW, and for providing opportunities for members of UW’s Indigenous community to transcend borders.

This project was supported, in part, by funding from the Center’s Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship Grant, US Department of Education, Office of International Education Programs Service.

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A Semester at University of Ottawa

George Roth
Adam Tanga, a major in Political Science at the UW was one of the two UW students selected as a Killam Fellow for the 2009-2010 academic year. Adam poses in front of the Parliament buildings in Ottawa.

By Adam Tanga

 In 2009-10 two UW students were awarded Killam Fellowships – Rozanna Fang, Senior, French (minor Public Health and Community Medicine); and Adam Tanga, Junior, Political Science (minor French) who spent Fall Quarter at McGill University and University of Ottawa respectively.

The Killam Program orientation in Ottawa, in September, was among my most memorable experiences in Canada as a Killam Fellow. I was able to see so much of the capital while getting to know the other Killam fellows and Fulbright Scholars from all across Canada and the United States. I was truly amazed at the diverse knowledge and experience everyone had which was clearly evident during the seminar portion of the orientation. My heightened awareness of the importance of the relationship between the United States and Canada and the various issues concerning both countries has certainly impacted my professional academic career in a positive way. The discussions complemented my studies at the University of Ottawa where I am taking a Canadian politics course. It was an honor and a once-in-a-lifetime experience to visit the U.S. Ambassador’s residence and speak one-on-one with Foreign Service officers. As a result, I am inspired to work toward a career in the same field. To top off an incredible weekend, I played hockey for the first time. I’m really excited for next year’s seminar when we meet again in Washington, DC.

In 2008 the Canadian Studies Center and the Killam Foundation, Ottawa, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance study abroad opportunities for UW students. The agreement enables two to four undergraduates to study at a Canadian partner institution for a semester or academic year. The Fellowships are worth up to $10,000 annually.

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The Circumpolar World

George Roth
George at Snæfellsjökull, Iceland, the volcano known as the starting point in Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth."

By George Roth

George Roth, a junior in Geography, first became interested in the Arctic last summer through a UW Exploration Seminar in Greenland. He is currently the UW’s first student enrolled in the Circumpolar Minor through the Center. He spent this last summer in Iceland.

I just returned from an independent trip around Iceland in August, exploring everywhere from cities like Reykjavik and Akureyri to the fjords, waterfalls, and lava fields that lie in between. It's a kind of personal goal of mine, to visit and learn about as much of the Arctic as I can. It's so isolated and beautiful, but at the same time extremely dynamic, and more often than not, its fate depends on decisions made far to the south. I'm very excited to be starting in the Bachelor in Circumpolar Studies this fall, because I believe that students with a strong, interdisciplinary background in the Arctic will become the future's key scientific, political, and cultural links between the North and South.

George is enrolled in “Introduction to the Circumpolar World “ that introduces students to the landscape, peoples and issues of the circumpolar region and “Land and Environment I” that provides a more in-depth understanding of the lands and environments that defines the Circumpolar North, as well as the key issues involving interaction between humans and environment.

The Circumpolar Minor project has been supported, in part, by funding from the Center’s Program Enhancement Grant, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

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Arctic Governance Task Force Presents at Research Symposium

By Kristen Olsen

Kristen Olson just graduated with an undergraduate degree in International Studies. She was part of the Winter Quarter Task Force on Arctic Sovereignty and wrote her chapter on Russia’s involvement in the Arctic. Kristen just left Seattle to serve with Teach for America.

Arctic Governance Task Force Presents at Research Symposium
Members of the Task Force on Arctic Sovereignty, Kristen Olson, Gus Andreasen and Andrew Schwartz, presented their research on "Arctic Sovereignty and Governance" at the Twelfth Annual UW Undergraduate Student Symposium.

The Twelfth Annual UW Undergraduate Student Symposium is an opportunity for undergraduates to showcase exciting fields of research to fellow students, UW faculty, and community members. Presenting my group’s Task Force research at the 2009 Symposium was an unforgettable academic experience.

During winter quarter I had the privilege of working with a dynamic group of thirteen peers under the mentorship of two outstanding faculty members to produce a Task Force on Arctic Sovereignty and Governance. Task Force is a senior capstone project for students at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies where students work in an intensive group setting to produce a 200-300 page set of policy recommendations regarding pressing real world problems.

Our Task Force focused on the future of circumpolar relations among state and non-state actors in the Arctic, and contained extensive chapter analyses of environmental, legal, state, and indigenous concerns in the rapidly changing Arctic. For instance, one of the report’s chapters explored the tensions among and cooperation between the US and Canada over the Northwest Passage.

The primary reason our team wanted to present at the symposium was because of our exciting research expedition to Ottawa, where our team had unparalleled access to leading scientists, diplomats, Inuit leaders, and international lawyers expert in Arctic affairs. Our presentation at the symposium focused on our Ottawa insights, the catalysts for researching Arctic affairs such as climate change, an overview of the key state and non-state stakeholders, and examples of current hot-button issues such as Russia’s continental shelf claim.

As the coordinator of our group’s symposium presentation, author of the Russia chapter for our Task Force, and a graduating senior from the UW, I can say with confidence on behalf of my team that the symposium and Task Force experiences will propel all group members towards greater success academically and professionally.

The Task Force on Arctic Sovereignty and research trip to Ottawa was supported, in part, by funding from the Center’s Program Enhancement Grant, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and Title VI grant, US Department of Education, Office of International Education and Graduate Program Services.

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University of Arctic Council Meeting - Spring 2008

By Naama Sheffer

I'm a junior in the General International Studies major at the Jackson School, the Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Peace and Security track. (I previously lived in Tel Aviv where I studied filmmaking.) Among other things, I'm interested in current developments in the Arctic, including related issues of progression of Arctic melt, territoriality and sovereignty, natural resources, transportation and development, security, circumpolar international relations and changes in international law.

In early June, as an Affiliated Undergraduate student with the Canadian Studies Center, I had the privilege to attend the University of the Arctic's 11th Council meeting at the Circumpolar Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton. At the meetings UW was voted in as a member institution. Attending the meeting allowed me to meet representatives of many educational institutions from countries with arctic territories, and to get acquainted with the opportunities that membership in the organization will present to UW students. I was extremely impressed with the good will and eagerness to cooperate in the circumpolar academic community.

The conversations I had with experts and educational leaders were enlightening. I received technical information and educated opinions on the issues I'm directly interested in, and I also gained insight into the lives and concerns of those living in the Arctic. As a result, I now have a sense of how the global-scale issues that I'm interested in might affect those people living in the region, and a sense of how they might affect the international processes I'm researching.

Many school representatives were eager to form relationships with UW and its students. The welcoming invitations to visit their institutions or to do an exchange program (with promises of warm hospitality!) were quite enticing, and realizing which institute was involved in which area of study was great - it seems that membership in UArctic will open up many valuable opportunities for UW students who are interested in anything from scientific research, indigenous studies, European, Russian or Canadian studies, development, sovereignty, and self-rule issues, to new media education methods, cold climate technology, environmental management, language study, international cooperation and relations, etc. Like many UW students, I am looking forward to taking advantage of some of what UW membership in UArctic will offer.

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2nd Annual Crossing Borders Conference - Issues and Resolutions 

By Lu Jiang

On March 7th, the 2nd Annual Crossing Borders Conference sponsored by the Canadian Consulate, Seattle, was held in the Henry Art Gallery on the UW campus. Out of almost 60 applications, 16 participants were chosen from Canadian and US institutions, including two UW students – Lu Jiang, a major in Business Administration and history minor, and Sandley Chou, a double major in International Studies and history and a UW Honors student. Sandley presented on the melting of the Northwest Passage and the intensifying debate over sovereignty of the Arctic waters. Lu and her teammate, John Kardosh, University of Alberta, presented on the Canada-U.S. border and border security, winning $250 each in prize money for their performance.

Lu Jiang

I was selected to attend the 2008 Crossing Borders Conference, where 16 students from United States and Canada debated current critical issues facing both nations. The topic I was assigned was border security and its implication for the trans-national relationship between Canada and United States.

I entered this competition because I felt that there should be greater exposure and dialogue between the US and one of our closest neighbors – Canada. In my opinion our mainstream media often neglect our northern neighbor. Indeed, Americans’ lack of familiarity with Canada is quite disconcerting. Just days before the competition, my business professor asked a class of 40 capstone business students, “What is the capital of Canada?” No one, including me, knew the answer. I think it is time for me (and all Americans) to stop taking this easy friendship for granted. 

The competition was a great experience. Judges were professors and researchers who are experts in their field. After each side presented its argument, judges and moderators had 45 minutes to ask questions and look for weaknesses in the arguments. The questions were direct, sharp and tough.  I’ve never been as uncomfortable as when former State Attorney General and former Senator, Slade Gorton “grilled” us regarding the implications of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which aims to increase border security. (Keep in mind that Gorton is on the 9/11 commission panel which proposed WHTI.)  But overall I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process.

I did not win the individual grand prize of $1000. John and I won the team prize receiving $250 each. An assortment of other non-monetary gifts and prizes were generously awarded to us by the Canadian Consulate. In conclusion, I believe there needs to be more opportunities like the 2008 Crossing Borders Conference so that my generation can communicate and strengthen our relationship with our neighbors.

The Crossing Borders Student Conference was co-sponsored by the Canadian Studies Center with funding from a US Department of Education, Title VI grant.

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Canada: Morality and Justice in the 21st Century

Shirley Henderson and LinhPhung Huynh

LinhPhung Huynh is a sophomore majoring in International Studies and Political Science. Shirley Henderson is a senior, also majoring in International Studies. Both are students of the SISME 420 International Humanitarian Law course taught by Frederick Lorenz, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies.

Professor Andy Knight (front row), Political Science, University of Alberta, provides CanadaÂ’s perspective on humanitarian law in Professor Rick Lorenz (back row) course, SISME 420 International Humanitarian Law. Rick and Andy are joined by the members of the "Canada Team." From left: Shirley Henderson, LinhPhung Huynh, Erina Aoyama, and Fiona Gillan.

Morality and justice are frequently discussed norms in SISME 420, a UW course about International Humanitarian Law. Not coincidentally, CanadaÂ’s role in promoting humanitarian values has been part of this discussion. Canada is a world leader in promoting and establishing institutions that foster international humanitarian norms, including the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Ottawa Convention to ban landmines.

Erina Aoyama, Fiona Gillan, Shirley Henderson, and LinhPhung Huynh did extensive research on Canada’s leadership in the aforementioned international institutions for their SISME 420 class presentations. As part of their research, the students met with Professor Andrew Knight of the University of Alberta. Professor Knight stressed Canada’s strength as a “norm entrepreneur.” He stated that Canada is heavily involved in many organizations, treaties, and conventions that promote human security as a norm. This is especially important as human security becomes increasingly threatened by the changing face of conflict in the 21st century, leaving women, children, and the unarmed vulnerable.

Canada and other medium-sized states are rallying the world around these moral standards. In contrast to the United StatesÂ’ use of hard power, Canada believes in the effectiveness of soft power, motivating others through ideas, values, and persuasion. This is an important lesson for the future of US foreign policy as soft power is proving itself increasingly effective, showcased in the achievements of the ICC and the Ottawa Convention.

Professor Andy KnightÂ’s visit was made possible by funding from the University of Alberta and the CenterÂ’s US Department of Education, Title VI grant.

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Interning at the Canadian Consulate

By Myles Brenner

Myles Brenner is a major in Political Science and spent Fall Quarter as an intern for the Canadian Consulate, Seattle.

Myles skiing at Whistler mountain in British Columbia.

As a political science major, my studies have been focused on the theoretical side of international relationships and politics. The hands-on experience in political and economic relations that I have had at the Consulate will be invaluable for my future enterprises. I see my internship as being a valuable on-the-job experience that has helped to develop business and communication skills, while enhancing my resume and possibly opening doors to future career opportunities. My aspirations are to be involved in international relations and trade, and it is my hope that performing this internship will be somewhat of a springboard into those fields. The opportunity to work alongside people who deal with international relations and trade everyday and to ask questions about how it all works has been remarkable.

There were some perks to the job, and it just so happens that I was able to be a part of two very important projects with high profile attendees. It's not everyday that an undergraduate college student gets to be involved in a discussion with such people as the Honourable Michael Wilson, Canada's Ambassador to the United States. Accepting an internship at the Consulate General of Canada has provided me with a unique perspective on US-Canada relations that will have a lasting value. The relationship between Canada and the US is quite possibly the best between any two nations in the world - they are each other's largest trading partner particularly in the Pacific Northwest. Given that I am a resident of this region, I think it is vital to recognize Canada's influence here. My internship provided me with the opportunity to do just that.

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Canadian Studies Center
University of Washington
Box 353650
Thomson Hall, Room 503
Seattle, WA 98195-3650
T (206) 221-6374
F (206) 685-0668