Maine North Atlantic Development Office

Arctic change will have a direct impact on Maine’s economy, coastline, and natural resources. Until recently, Alaska has been the only U.S. state to have a voice in current Arctic affairs. In 2013, the Maine North Atlantic Development Office (MENADO) was formed as an initiative of the Maine International Trade Center to increase trade and investment between Maine and markets of the North Atlantic Region and to develop Maine’s policy in Arctic Affairs.

Also in 2013, the Icelandic shipping company Eimskip chose Portland, Maine as its U.S. port of call, giving Maine a direct link to the North Atlantic region. Eimskip’s bright blue and white shipping containers along the Portland waterfront give Mainers a visual connection to the Arctic and Eimskip’s network has opened new markets to Maine businesses.

As melting polar ice leads to the gradual opening of more shipping routes for longer periods of time, Maine is well positioned as the first U.S. port on the East Coast for this increased shipping traffic. That presents both economic opportunity and responsibility. Maine’s hosting of the Arctic Council Senior Arctic Officials meeting in October is a recognition that Maine is emerging as a leader on U.S. Arctic engagement.

MENADO works closely with both the State and Federal Government to address these issues including Maine’s Governor Paul R. LePage (creator of the Maine North Atlantic Development Office) and Maine’s Senator Angus S. King who is a founding co-chair of the U.S. Senate’s Arctic Caucus with Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

What is the Arctic Council?

The Arctic Council is the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, Arctic indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular on issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic. 

Who takes part?

The Ottawa Declaration lists the following countries as Members of the Arctic Council: Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States.

In addition, six organizations representing Arctic indigenous peoples have status as Permanent Participants. The category of Permanent Participant was created to provide for active participation and full consultation with the Arctic indigenous peoples within the Council. They include: the Aleut International Association, the Arctic Athabaskan Council, Gwich’in Council International, the Inuit Circumpolar Council, Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North and the Saami Council.

Observer status in the Arctic Council is open to non-Arctic states, along with inter-governmental, inter-parliamentary, global, regional and non-governmental organizations that the Council determines can contribute to its work. Arctic Council Observers primarily contribute through their engagement in the Council at the level of Working Groups.

The standing Arctic Council Secretariat formally became operational in 2013 in Tromsø, Norway. It was established to provide administrative capacity, institutional memory, enhanced communication and outreach and general support to the activities of the Arctic Council.

How does it work?

Arctic Council assessments and recommendations are the result of analysis and efforts undertaken by the Working Groups. Decisions of the Arctic Council are taken by consensus among the eight Arctic Council States, with full consultation and involvement of the Permanent Participants.

The Chairmanship of the Arctic Council rotates every two years among the Arctic States. The first country to chair the Arctic Council was Canada (1996-1998), followed by the United States, Finland, Iceland, Russia, Norway, Denmark and Sweden. The second cycle of Chairmanships began in 2013, as Canada assumed the Chairmanship for the second time. On 24 April 2015, the second Canadian Chairmanship concluded, and the second Chairmanship of the United States (2015-2017) began. The next country to assume the Chairmanship will be Finland (2017-2019).

What doesn’t it do?

The Arctic Council is a forum; it has no programming budget. All projects or initiatives are sponsored by one or more Arctic States. Some projects also receive support from other entities.

The Arctic Council does not and cannot implement or enforce its guidelines, assessments or recommendations. That responsibility belongs to each individual Arctic State.

The Arctic Council’s mandate, as articulated in the Ottawa Declaration, explicitly excludes military security.

Above information about the Arctic Council was originally published on their website [LINK].

Historical Connections

Maine’s connection to the Arctic goes back to 1860 when a professor from Bowdoin College lead a group of students and alumni to Labrador and West Greenland. The allure of Arctic exploration also lead two Bowdoin graduates, Robert Peary and Donald MacMillan, to make numerous  expeditions to the region. Both men had vessels, the SS Roosevelt and the Schooner Bowdoin, designed for Arctic travel, built in Maine shipyards.

In 1909, Peary and his team claimed to be the first to reach the North Pole. MacMillan continued working in the region until 1954. Today, that tradition of Mainers in the Arctic is finding renewal in politics, the economy, arts,  education and science. Created in the two explorer's namesake, The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center, provides opportunities to explore cultural, social, and environmental issues involving Arctic lands and peoples.

Maine North Atlantic Education Consortium

The Maine North Atlantic Education Consortium is collaboration between the University of Southern Maine, Bowdoin College, The University of Maine, St. Joseph’s College, the University of New England, Maine Maritime Academy and the World Affairs Council. The Consortium works to cooperate and coordinate resources as each institution grows its North Atlantic related programming and partnerships with organizations located in the North Atlantic region of the Arctic.

Scientific Research

The Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine is a world leader in analysis of ice cores, many recovered in the Arctic. The Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Boothbay has opened a Center for Venture Research on the Opening Arctic Ocean.

Maine Arctic Council Host Committee

Promoting the richness of Maine’s Arctic History, business, academic and scientific expertise and providing hospitality to Arctic Council members visiting Maine during the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

Chair and Host Committee Organizer

Dana Eidsness, Director, Maine North Atlantic Development Office at Maine International Trade Center

Co-Chairs – Programs

Anne Henshaw, Oak Foundation

Susan Kaplan, Director, Arctic Studies Center and Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin College

Co-Chairs – Fundraising

Denise Garland, Deputy Commissioner, Maine Department of Economic & Community Development

Zeynep Turk, Senior International Trade Specialist and Development Manager, Maine International Trade Center

Co-Chairs – PR

Marnie MacLean, Journalist

Chris Cary, Digital Media & Marketing, SoliDG, Inc.

Justin Levesque, Founder, ICELANDx207

Public Members

Commissioner George Gervais, Department of Economic & Community Development

Deputy Commissioner Jonathan Nass, Maine Department of Transportation

Janine Bisaillon-Cary, President, Maine International Trade Center and Maine State Director of International Trade

John H. Henshaw, Executive Director, Maine Port Authority

Carolann Ouellette, Director, Maine Office of Tourism

Darryl Lyon, Maine National Guard

Beth Beausang, Office of Rep. Chellie Pingree

Morgan Cashwell, Office of Senator Angus S. King

Travis Kennedy, Office of Senator Angus S. King

Adam Lachman, Office of Senator Angus S. King

Kate Norfleet, Office of Senator Susan Collins

Edie Smith, Office of Senator Angus S. King

Private Members

Christoph Aeppli, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Patrick Arnold, SoliDG

Gregory R. Belanger, Ocean Passages

Mark Bessire, Portland Museum of Art

Ann Blanchard, Verrill Dana, LLP

Tracy Callahan, Lift360

Neale Duffett, The Archangel Committee

Tricia Erikson, Thornton Academy

John Ferland, Ocean Renewable Power Company

Ben Ford, Verrill Dana, LLP

Rick Gamache, BerryDunn

Casey Gilbert, Portland Downtown

Ellen Grant, Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Joseph Hall, Bates College

Anne Henshaw, Oak Foundation

Miranda Henning, Rambøll Environ

Gordon Hamilton, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine Orono

Ross Hickey, University of Southern Maine

Christopher Howard, Pierce Atwood, LLP

Larus Isfeld, Eimskip USA

Gretchen Johnson, Verrill Dana, LLP

Susan Kaplan, Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center, Bowdoin College

Adrian Kendall, Norman Hanson & DeTroy & German Honorary Consul for New England

Jonathan Laurence, Center for Maine Contemporary Art

Cathy Lee, Lee International

Justin Levesque, ICELANDx207

Jeanne Maginnis, St. Joseph’s College

James Matsoukas, Pierce Atwood, LLP

Nat May, SPACE Gallery

Paul Mayewski, Climate Change Institute, UMaine Orono

Cullen McGough, Lift360

Betsy Meyers, Verrill Dana, LLP

Greg Mitchell, City of Portland

William Needleman, City of Portland

Charles Norchi, University of Maine School of Law

Sara Pálsdóttir, Eimskip

Holly Parker, University of New England

Laura Poppick, Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine

Jeffrey Porter, US Commercial Service

Caroline Rossignol, Rambøll Environ

Terry Shehata, University of Southern Maine

Anneli Skaar, Skaar Design & Timber & Ice

Patti Smith, Lift360

Carl Spang, Kestrel Consulting

Lynn Tillotson, Convention & Visitors Bureau

Zeynep Turk, Maine International Trade Center

Laura Woods-Vachon, University of Southern Maine

Peter Vigue, President & CEO, CIANBRO Corporation

Alice Wagg, Lift360

Valerie Young, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Honorary Members

Governor Paul R. LePage

Senator Susan Collins

Senator Angus S. King

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree

Congressman Bruce Poliquin

Associational Members

Nils Andreassen, Executive Director, Institute of the North

Dana Connors, Maine State Chamber of Commerce

Penny Gage, Deputy Director, Institute of the North

Quincy Hentzel, Board President, Portland Community Chamber of Commerce

Amy Holland, President, World Affairs Council of Maine

Genevieve LeMoine, Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin College

Holly Martzial, Portland Convention & Visitors Bureau

Maggie Vishneau, Maine North Atlantic Education Consortium/USM