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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Launch of Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network and arrival of first Nansen Professor

Össur Skarphéðinsson og Stefán Sigurðsson

The Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network (IACN) was officially launched on 7 February 2013 with the signing of an agreement between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the IACN at the research center Borgir, Akureyri. The event was celebrated with a reception, where Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson, Stefan Sigurdsson, Chairman of the board of IACN and President of the University of Akureyri, and Pétur Þór Jónasson, Director of Eything, Association of the communities in the districts of Eyjafjordur and Thingeyjarsysla, addressed guests.

On the same occasion Dr. Natalia Louckacheva, the newly appointed Guest Professor for Arctic Studies was welcomed. Mrs. Louckachevea is the first to hold the post, named after the renowned Norwegian explorer and scientist. The professorship was established with an agreement between the Icelandic and Norwegian Foreign Ministries, signed by Minister Skarphedinsson and former Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store, on 29 September 2011.     

The Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network is a part of the Governments progress plan - Iceland 20/20 – a policy statement for an efficient economy and society, including plans for investments in human resources and the necessary infrastructure for the economy, as well as policies on how to strengthen education and culture, innovation and development. The project is the result of the cooperation between the local Eything, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources and the numerous parties involved with Arctic issues in Akureyri.

The main aim of the IACN is to increase the visibility and understanding of Arctic issues and create a link between the institutes and individuals working on those issues in Iceland. IACN's first director is Embla Eir Oddsdóttir, who has extensive experience in the field of Arctic research.

The founders of the Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network are: University of Akureyri, Stefansson Arctic Institute, Polar Law Institute, University of Akureyri Research Center, Northern Research Forum, Icelandic Centre for Research (RANNIS), Icelandic Tourism Research Centre, Arctic Portal as well as the two Working Groups of the Arctic Council hosted by Iceland; CAFF (Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna) and PAME (Protection of Arctic Marine Environment). The Network constitutes a link between private enterprises and institutes from all over Iceland with the common cause of working on arctic matters.

The Nansen professorship is awarded for a twelve month period at a time and Dr. Natalia Loukacheva is the first scholar to hold the post. She is experienced in multi-disciplinary research intertwining legal, social, political, environmental and international issues in arctic context and has published numerous articles and books on the subject.  

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