Wednesday, June 1, 2011

UAF forms partnership with Institute of the North

A new alliance between the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Anchorage-based Institute of the North will create a unified forum for addressing arctic policy, infrastructure and climate change issues.

A recently signed memorandum marks the first step in a long-term collaboration between the two organizations. As part of this partnership, the institute and university will organize several arctic-focused workshops and programs in the coming year. UAF Vice Chancellor Mike Sfraga and Institute of the North Managing Director Nils Andreassen will lead the collaborative efforts. Planned projects include a Bering Strait Access Workshop to be hosted in August during the Institute’s Week of the Arctic.

“We are excited about the collaboration this agreement brings about and the board feels that this a great step toward solidifying the future of our organization founded by the late Gov. Walter J. Hickel,” said Leif Selkregg, chair of the Institute of the North’s board of directors.

The partnership highlights the university’s leadership role in research on the circumpolar North and climate change studies as well as the institute’s expertise in crafting international programs and initiatives. UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers is enthusiastic about the relationship.

“The institute brings to the university an innovative spirit and an advocacy role that Gov. Hickel firmly believed in. This partnership recognizes a history of leadership and a future filled with opportunity,” Rogers said.

The memorandum provides a collaborative framework that aligns the university’s current and future arctic programs with the institute’s ability to bring groups together. It builds on UAF’s academic, research and public service capacities and combines financial resources from both entities.

The Institute of the North is a nonprofit organization founded by former Gov. Walter J. Hickel in 1994. Its mission focuses on how to use and care for commonly owned lands, seas and resources for the benefit of those living there.

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