International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS) VIII

Theme: Northern Sustainabilities


University of Northern British Columbia
Prince George, British Columbia CANADA
May 22 - 26, 2014





Keynote Speakers

Sustainability Panels

Sessions Program & Schedule


Social Programs and Activities

Registration and Rates

Visa Invitation Letters

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Conference Venue

Things to do in Northern British Columbia

Going Green

Organizing Committee & Contacts

Conference Announcements

Call for Papers/Posters

ICARP-III Townhall

Keynote Speakers

[Chief Joe Linklater] | [Dr. Alexander Pelyasov] | |[Henriette Rasmussen] | [Dr. Sverker Sörlin]

Chief Joe Linklater, Gwichin Council International, Canada

Joe Linklater is a seasoned political leader and program manager with considerable experience in building and implementing public policy and First Nation self-governance. He has contributed to successful intergovernmental relations at the federal, provincial and inter-provincial levels and worked successfully in numerous international initiatives representing his people and northern environmental and resource management matters. Joe is well known for his considerable expertise in establishing and overseeing economic development initiatives and trust structures.

Joe Linklater has been Chief of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation from 1998 to present (with a break, 2011 – 2012).  Mr. Linklater has served as the Chair of the Yukon Chiefs Committee on Education, the Self Government Chiefs Committee (Yukon) and the Chiefs Committee on Corrections (Yukon), as well as Board member of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation and the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board.  He continues to volunteer as the Chair for the Gwich’in Council International and a board member of the Vuntut Gwitchin Limited Partnership. Earlier he was a Councilor for Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation(1997-98), and its Director of Natural Resources and Implementation (1996-97).

Keynote Address Title/Topic:

Traditional Self Governance in a ‘Modern’ Context

Keynote Address:

The other day I was thinking about something one of our elders told me in a story.  In essence he told me about how his elders bought a box of shells (bullets for a rifle) and they would give him 5 shells to hunt caribou.  He told me about our people being able to kill a caribou with one 'shell'.  300 lbs of meat with one bullet or 300 X 5 = 1500 lbs of meat.  My thought was, "How does that effect Vuntut values in todays' world of values.  I want to speak about my impressions of 'traditional knowledge' and how they are translated into the self determination of a Vuntut Gwitchin community in todays' world with largely monetary values, but increasingly environmentally focused.  That bullet represents the survival of our people, but more over our ability to be self determining (because we don't have to depend on any government for survival) and that same bullet and the ability to use it represents economics (300 lbs X 5 = 1500 lbs).  I would like to expand on that thought.

Dr. Alexander Pelyasov, Director, Centre of Arctic and Northern Economies at the Council for Research of Productive Forces, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russan Federation

Dr. Alexander Pelyasov is a leading expert in the political economy of northern development in Russia and the circumpolar north. He has done extensive research on Russia's development strategies in the Arctic, as well as on the challenges of development at the local, regional, national and international levels.

Keynote Address Title/Topic:

Northern Futurology: The Next 20 Years

Keynote Address:

With more than 25 years of experience in forecasting for Northern Russian cities and regions, I will share with ICASS VIII my viewpoints on the process of the Northern forecasting in theory, and on the future of the economic and social development of the global North in practice. While long inspired by the work of Terence Armstrong’s, Graham Rowley’s and George Roger’s seminal work, The Circumpolar North. A Political and Economic Geography of the Arctic and Sub-Arctic, published in 1978, I also draw on many more recent works. I will underscore where I differ with some points argued by Lawrence Smith in his recent work on the North,

The New North: The World in 2050. Topics I will touch on in considering the North’s future will include: the restructuring of the large northern Russian industrial cities in the coming 20 years, the future economic destiny of the Northern transit sea routes (both Northern Sea Route and North West Passage), the prospects of new off-shore drilling in the Russian and global Arctic, the potential of future Native land claims in the Russian Federation’s Arctic and on the pluses and minuses to create new a Arctic Federal Okrug  (district) in Russia. I will offer five economic models of the Northern economy (Russian, Canadian, American, Nordic [Norway, Sweden, Finland] and Island [Iceland, Greenland]) and will look at how these different versions of the Northern economy will develop in the coming 20 years. Underscoring all these themes will be the idea of the ‘Arctic Mediterranean’ and its increasing global economic and political importance.

Henriette Rasmussen, Director, Greenlandic Broadcasting, and former Minister of Culture, Education, Science and Church, Greenland

Henriette Rasmussen is a Greenlandic educator and journalist.  She has had a long political carrier as member of the municipal council in Nuuk, the capitol, and as member of the parliament in the Home Rule, last serving as minister in the Government of Culture, Education, Science and Church till November 2005.

Her commitment was the rights of women and the rights of indigenous peoples’ internationally.

She worked as Chief Technical Advisor for International Labour Office in Geneva, Switzerland 1996-2000. She has also been a manager of the Greenland Publishing House publishing Greenlandic literature. She is an Earth Charter International Council member and has been active in the Inuit NGO, the Inuit Circumpolar Council for many years. She was instrumental in the creation of the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues in UN, New York in 2001.

Since  June 2012 she is the chief of Radio, KNR, the national radio and television of Greenland.

Keynote Address Title/Topic:

Inuit are Used to Change and to Adapt to New Places and New Situations: Our History Proves that. The Challenge is Elsewhere.

Keynote Address:

The Inuit have proven to develop techniques to survive  in the Arctic Region, one of the harshest environments on our planet. Our ancestors did that with the use of the materials found in the their own environment,  they were able to leave us a rich cultural heritage, with humour, poetry and  endurance still valid today. We have also developed political autonomies, which to a high extend permit to develop our own laws, politics on economic development, and introduced educational systems where our own languages are used. We work internationally in the premises of the United Nations with states and other indigenous peoples to develop a more just and equal world.

The biggest threads are not only for the inhabitants of the Arctic, like us the Inuit, but for the Planet. It is the development with oil and minerals where multinational companies are at stake. It is a struggle which resembles a David and Golieth situation. Not only for our common environment, but also for the political achievements we are so proud of.

The threads include the import of food and goods, which gives us bad health like diabetes, pure dental health and cancer. Our import contains lots of waste which pollutes our lives and environment. A situation requiring critical, active and visionary leaders.

Dr. Sverker Sörlin, Professor of Environmental History, Division of History Science, Technology and Environment, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

Sverker Sörlin is Professor in the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, where he was also the co-founder of the KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory in 2011. He was the President of the Swedish IPY Committee 2006-2009 and has led several research projects on northern and Arctic issues, currently the Scandinavian-Russian project “Assessing Arctic Futures: Voices, Resources, Governance” (funded by the Mistra Foundation). His book Narrating the Arctic (2002, with Michael Bravo) has become a standard reference in the Arctic humanities and social sciences. Recent works include Science, Geopolitics and Culture in the Polar Region (Ashgate 2013), Northscapes: Science, Technology, and the Making of Northern Landscapes (UBC Press 2013, with Dolly Jörgensen), and contributions to a forthcoming special issue of Journal of Historical Geography on the spatial politics and history of science and environment in the Arctic. 

Keynote Address Title/Topic:

Environmental Humanities and the Arctic – Transforming Knowledge, Transforming Sustainabilities

Keynote Address:

In this keynote I will argue that a sustainable future of the Arctic requires strong Arctic humanities. I will also argue that some of this is already under way, heralding transformations both for Arctic research and for how we perceive Arctic change, which is fundamentally cultural and societal and not just about climate and environment. The Environmental Humanities is an emerging phenomenon worldwide. It combines different strands of the humanities into a whole which is more than the sum of its disciplinary parts and it wishes to stake out a claim on widened societal relevance and impacts for policy, advice and advocacy. This ongoing “Environmental Turn” seems to have a potential of transforming the humanities – but it may also transform our understanding of the Arctic and how we perceive its different sustainabilities. During and after the International Polar Year the Environmental Humanities have in fact found the Arctic to be a salient arena for research and the testing of ideas, although this may not be noticed by all. Facing the shortcomings of previous knowledge, what can the humanities contribute to counter undesirable trends in the region? How can they help redefine sustainability to integrate realistically their societal and global entanglements? What can they do to transform Arctic human sciences?


[Updated: Apri 22, 2014]

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