About the Arctic Innovators

2018 Arctic Innovators Cohort at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik
2018 Arctic Innovators Cohort at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik 

The Arctic Innovators program was established in 2017 with the goal of bringing more young people into the expanding international discussion of Arctic issues, both to educate them about this fast changing region and its impacts on the rest of the globe and to equip them to contribute to developing and implementing sustainable solutions. Through a series of lectures, meetings with policy makers, and a field trip to Iceland students developed their own idea of how to address the Arctic challenges. This new leadership program, based on smaller pilot programs developed from 2014, is a part of the Belfer Center’s Arctic Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School which strives to contribute to the development of new programs and policies aimed at understanding what is happening in this critical region by initiating new research; by convening policy makers, scientists, and politicians; and by developing a new generation of public and private officials with a much greater knowledge of the factors that are affecting the Arctic ecosystems and their implications for the environmental, social, and economic systems around the globe.

In early Fall 2017, 14 Arctic Innovators, selected from more than 100 student candidates at Harvard, came from diverse backgrounds in Arctic and non-Arctic nations, from Canada to India. They all recognize that what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic and want to be part of future solutions that can only be achieved through collective local, regional and international efforts. All of them worked on finding solutions for the Arctic over a course of a semester and participated in the Arctic Innovation Lab at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Iceland, where multiple ideas were presented and discussed with leaders in the field.

“Being a part of the Arctic group in 2016 and traveling to Iceland broadened my perspective on the dynamic region and deepened my understanding of the critical connections between Arctic countries and the rest of the world. We met with key leaders and experts and explored incredible scenery. The trip was a highlight of my HKS experience.”

Shira Miller, MC/MPA 2017

More on the Arctic Innovators

  • IGA 671M: Policy and Social Innovations for the Changing Arctic

    Part of our mission is to train a new generation of researchers and public policy leaders to address Arctic challenges. These future leaders start out as Arctic Innovators. They engage in coursework at Harvard Kennedy School to learn about the latest challenges facing the Arctic. Next, they develop their own innovative ideas to help address those challenges, with guidance from our extensive network of science and policy experts.

    In Fall 2018, 24 students enrolled in the first Arctic-focused course at Harvard, IGA 671M "Policy and Social Innovations for the Changing Arctic." The course was co-taught by Dr. John Holdren, Senior Advisor of Science and Technology to President Obama, and Halla Logadottir, Co-Director of the Arctic Initiative and a 2017 graduate of Harvard Kennedy School, where she was a Louis Bacon Environmental Leadership Fellow.

    As part of the course, students flew to Iceland and delivered their pitches at the 2018 Arctic Circle Assembly. The Assembly, held each year in Reykjavík, is an important forum for bringing together policymakers, researchers, indigenous leaders and other Arctic stakeholders from around the world.

  • 2018 Iceland Experience

    Students began the 2018 trip by meeting with President Jóhannesson of Iceland, after which they attended Arctic-focused panel discussions and networking events to round out the first day. On the second day students delivered their pitches to a full room, followed by round-table discussions with conference attendees.

    Based on feedback from participants at the Arctic Circle Assembly, the students then finalized their pitches and submitted Op-Eds, which were published throughout the year on Arctic Today.

    Check back soon for photos from the 2018 Iceland field experience, or visit our Facebook page for photos of the event.