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Press Release for Inaugural Arctic Circle Assembly


Anticipated to be the largest and most diverse gathering of its kind, with more than 900 participants from nearly 40 nations — all eight Arctic nations including Russia and the United States as well as France, China, India, Germany, Brazil, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia and Singapore.

REYKJAVÍK, Iceland, and NEW YORK (October 7, 2013) — To discuss important Arctic issues such as climate change, economic development and new shipping lanes, an influential mix of international stakeholders will convene at the inaugural Arctic Circle assembly, October 12–14, 2013, at the Harpa Reykjavík Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavík. It will be the first large international gathering after leading states in Asia and Europe became part of the Arctic Council process.

The Arctic is now playing a significant role in issues such as globalization, economic development, energy exploration, environmental protection and international security. Plans for resource use and new sea routes linking Asia to Europe and America have led to an increased focus on the region.

"Up to now, most Arctic conferences had been rather small and specialized," President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson of Iceland recently told CNN. "But the issues they talked about are all interrelated in important ways. There is therefore a need to create a forum where all the different constituencies — whether they were policy constituencies, experts or business constituencies — are able to come together."


The mission of the Arctic Circle is to facilitate dialogue and build relationships to address rapid changes in the Arctic. The Assembly will strengthen the decision-making process by bringing together as many international partners as possible to interact under one large "open tent." This annual assembly is a new mechanism for existing institutions, organizations, forums, think tanks, corporations and public associations to reach a global audience in an efficient way.


Some of the topics that will be discussed at the inaugural Arctic Circle assembly include:

  • Arctic Business Cooperation: Investor Outlook
  • Climate Change: A Plan for Action?
  • Greenland's Role in the Arctic
  • Northern Sea Routes: A New Era in Global Shipping
  • Arctic Energy Cooperation
  • Law of the Sea
  • The Future of Arctic Cooperation
  • The Future of Arctic Tourism
  • Polar Law: The Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Arctic Geopolitics
  • Arctic Ice Melt: Global Weather Events
  • Arctic Lessons for the Himalayan/Third Pole Region
  • The Alaskan State of the Arctic
  • The Republic of Korea in the Arctic
  • Russia and the Arctic
  • Singapore in the Arctic

The complete program for the Arctic Circle assembly may be found online.


Some of the speakers at the inaugural Arctic Circle assembly will include:

  • Artur Chilingarov, Explorer and Special Envoy of President Vladimir Putin to the Arctic
  • Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President, Iceland
  • Aleqa Hammond, Premier, Greenland
  • Tom Harkin, U.S. Senator
  • Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen, Prime Minister, Faroe Islands
  • Kuupik Kleist, Member, Parliament of Greenland
  • Sven-Olof Lindblad, President and Founder, Lindblad Expeditions
  • Scott Minerd, Global Chief Investment Officer, Guggenheim Partners
  • Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator
  • Frederik Paulsen, Paulsen Editions
  • Michel Rocard, Former Prime Minister of France and Special Envoy of President François Hollande
  • Alice Rogoff, Publisher, Alaska Dispatch
  • Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google
  • Strobe Talbott, President, Brookings Institution
  • Sam Tan Chin Siong, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore
  • Yao Tandong, Director, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Yunpeng Li, President, China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co. (COSCO Group)

The event will also feature video addresses from:

  • Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations
  • Al Gore, Former Vice President, United States, and Nobel Laureate
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, Former Secretary of State, United States
  • HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco
  • Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Nobel Laureate
  • Mark Begich, U.S. Senator
  • James Balog, Photographer, National Geographic ("Chasing Ice")

A comprehensive list of speakers, including the breakout session participants, may be found online.


"If the Arctic future is going to be successful, it has to be more science driven and knowledge driven than many other international issues," said President Grímsson.

"We needed a more open and frank dialogue. The Arctic Circle hopes to be such an open and democratic forum where an activist, a journalist, anyone can be part of the debate."


Media will be granted complimentary access to the Assembly. Please contact Margrét Stefánsdóttir at margret@meetingiceland.com or +354-892-7163 for assistance in coordinating on-site interviews or with general media queries.


Following the Assembly, presentations will be archived on the Arctic Circle Vimeo page.


Please follow us on Twitter at @ArcticAssembly, hashtag #ArcticCircle, and on Facebook for Arctic news and Assembly highlights. Updates will also be posted on Google+ and YouTube.


Read in-depth coverage on news and politics across the circumpolar North on The Arctic Wire.


The Arctic Circle, organized as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is a new mechanism for existing institutions, organizations, forums, think tanks, corporations and public associations to reach a global audience in an efficient way. The Arctic Circle is designed to increase participation in Arctic dialogue and strengthen the international focus on the future of the Arctic. Participating organizations will maintain their full institutional independence, identity and decision-making abilities.


The Harpa Reykjavík Concert Hall and Conference Centre was selected as one of the greatest concert halls of the new millennium by Gramophone magazine and as "Best Performance Space" of 2011 by Travel + Leisure magazine. Harpa's facade was designed by renowned artist Ólafur Elíasson, Henning Larsen Architects and Batteríið Architects.

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