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The Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History; Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation & Global Cities Institute

Friday, 18 September 2015 from 8:45 AM to 7:00 PM (EDT)

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Friday, September 18, 8:45-7:00 PM Campbell Conference Facility Ended Free  
Friday, September 18, 8:45-7:00 PM Campbell Conference Facility Ended Free  


Event Details

Note: Keynote lecture on September 17th at the George Ignatieff Theatre, Trinity College has been cancelled.  

Note: There are still tickets remaining! Please change the available date to "Friday, September 18" and select the quantity of tickets you would like. If you have the "[SOLD OUT]" option selected registration will not work. Please email if you are having registration issues.

The Arctic is gaining the attention of national governments around the world. Indeed, countries as diverse as Switzerland, Mongolia, and Turkey have sought observer status at the Arctic Council as one expression of their Arctic interests. Much of the dialogue about circumpolar governance over the last few years has been focusing on how these non-Arctic voices will shape, change, or contribute to the Arctic agenda. Perhaps, this focus has led us to miss something – what is the role of the regional governments from within the Arctic in shaping the international Arctic agenda?

With the advent of globalization that has brought urban and international issues closer together than ever before, an opportunity arises for local governments across border to work with each other to tackle some of the these problems. So what role do regional governments play in international affairs? What lessons can be learned from regional governance and co-operation from different parts of the world and the Arctic that address similar issues such as the environment and economics? How can these lessons be applied to the circumpolar Arctic region?

At the front lines of the decisions made for the Arctic regions are municipalities, territorial and state governments, and Indigenous organizations and governments. How do these subnational actors and governments from within the Arctic participate in international diplomacy which could result in outcomes that affect them? With no formal role on the Arctic Council, which is often regarded as the main platform for international Arctic diplomacy, how do these regional governments engage in international affairs in the Arctic? What does the future of the Arctic look like, and how will these subnational and regional governments be involved? The goal of this conference is to learn more about the ways in which regional governments are engaging in Arctic issues across the circumpolar world.


Agenda and Confirmed Speakers

8:45-9:15am: Registration

9:15-9:30am: Welcoming Remarks and Introducing Mayo Moran: Professor Stephen Toope, Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto

9:30 – 9:40am: Introducing Tony Penikett: Mayo Moran, Provost of Trinity College

9:40 – 10:30am: Opening Address: Tony Penikett, former Premier of Yukon and A conversation with Bill Graham, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Minister of National Defence, and Moderated by Mayo Moran 

10:30 – 10:45am: Coffee break

10:45am – 12:15pmPanel I: The Role of Regional Governments in International Affairs

Chair: Professor Elizabeth Riddell-Dixon; Speakers: Steve Cowper, Former Governor, Alaska; Éric Théroux, Assistant Deputy Minister for Policy, Francophone and Multilateral Affairs, Québec; Ernst Olsen, Former Advisor, Foreign Service of the Government of the Faroe Islands

12:15-1:00pm: Lunch

1:00 – 2:30 pm: Panel II:  The Role of Regional Government in the Circumpolar Arctic Governance

Chair: Professor Jessica Shadian; Speakers: Inuuteq Holm Olsen, Head of Representation, Greenland Representation, Washington, D.C.; Christin Kristoffersen, Mayor of Longyearbyen, Norway; Elaine Taylor, Deputy Premier of Yukon; Lesil McGuire, Senator in the Alaska State Legislature

2:30 - 2:45 pm: Coffee

2:45 – 4:00pm: Panel III: The Arctic Council at 20 – The Role of Circumpolar Cities and Regions

Chair: Professor Patricia McCarney; Speakers: Madeleine Redfern, Former Mayor of Iqaluit;

Svein Ludvigsen, Governor, County of Troms; Sigríður Kristjánsdóttir, Assistant Professor, Agricultural University of Iceland; Paul Grenier, Board Member, Association of Municipalities of Ontario

4:00 – 5:30: Panel IV: Arctic Council in Transition: From Canada to US, and the Next 20 Years

Chair: Professor Franklyn Griffiths Speakers: Terry Fenge, Principal, Terry Fenge Consulting;

Rafe Pomerance, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Environment and Development, United States of America; Nauja Bianco, Senior Advisor - Arctic and cooperation with neighbours to the west, Nordic Council of Ministers; Igor Makarov, Associate Professor, University Higher School of Economics Moscow

5:30pm: Closing Remarks: Dr. Thomas S. Axworthy, President and CEO of the Gordon Foundation

5:40 – 7pm: Closing reception

For our Northern and international audiences, we will be webcasting this event live. Please stay tuned for more details and a link to the webcast. 

This event is made possible by the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History, the Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Program, and the generous support of The Gordon Foundation. Please note that further details on the event, schedule and speakers will shortly be made available. If you have questions about the event, please contact Emily Tsui (

Have questions about REGIONAL GOVERNMENTS IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: LESSONS FROM THE ARCTIC? Contact The Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History; Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation & Global Cities Institute

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