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New publication: Issue #7 of Arctic and International Relations Series—The Right to Sea Ice: Canadian Arctic Policy and Inuit Priorities

November 2, 2020

The Arctic and International Relations initiative in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies announces the release of Issue #7 of Arctic and International Relations Series – The Right to Sea Ice: Canadian Arctic Policy and Inuit Priorities.

Issue #7 includes nine policy papers by University of Washington (UW) International Studies majors and two by UW graduate students. This publication was an outcome of the International Studies Task Force course, JSIS 495: Arctic Sea Ice and International Policy (Winter Quarter 2020), in which students explored the role of sea ice both in the environment and in culture. In particular, students investigated the role of climate change on Arctic sea ice, framed through a deeper examination of how ice is understood in Western science and culture and the role of ice in the lives of Inuit. Students were encouraged to think creatively about ice as alive, as having memory, as constituting territory, and as a human right—and to explore ice through science, culture, history, law, and art. As part of the course, students traveled to Ottawa, Canada, for a week in January 2020 and met with Inuit organizations, federal departments, and scholars. The trip and the people they met during their travels inspired much of their thinking for these papers.

The expert evaluator for the Task Force was Whit Fraser, author of True North Rising, a memoir recounting the people across Canada’s Northern Territories who challenged colonial attitudes and policies. Whit provided feedback on, and further stimulation for, students’ papers.

To date, there is no international policy for sea ice. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to the use of oceans, dedicates only one article (Article 234) to the protection of “ice-covered areas,” — and it is open to interpretation. The policy papers in this volume represent much-needed avenues into clarifying this crucial issue in international policy and law.

About the Arctic and International Relations Series

The Arctic and International Relations Series is the outcome of a partnership between the Center for Global Studies, the Canadian Studies Center, and the International Policy Institute, in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. The series is dedicated to translating scholarship into policy options to enhance understanding of the Arctic as a unique region in international affairs including the important role of Arctic Indigenous peoples in shaping policy.