Preparations Underway for Historic Arctic Council Meeting in Portland

Press release from the Maine North Atlantic Development Office

September 1, 2016 - 5:40pm - By The Arctic Journal

For Immediate Release: 

(PORTLAND)­ On October 4­-6, Portland, Maine will welcome nearly two hundred and fifty people from across the globe for the Senior Arctic Officials (SAO) meeting of the Arctic Council. From ambassadors to scientists and even a Saami reindeer herder, the event will host a wide international audience.

It is the only meeting during the U.S. Chairmanship of the council being held outside Alaska, an acknowledgment of Maine’s emerging engagement in the region.

Arctic change will have a direct impact on Maine’s economy, coastline and natural resources. As melting polar ice leads to gradual opening of Arctic shipping routes for longer periods of time, Maine is well positioned as the first U.S. port on the east coast.

While the high level meetings will be closed to the public, a number of events are being planned to offer the public a chance to learn about the work of the Arctic Council and Maine’s growing connection to this important region of the world.

“Maine being selected to host this important international forum is an opportunity to showcase our businesses, educators, scientists and innovation leaders with historic and ongoing engagement in Arctic issues to the world. Maine’s Arctic Council Host Committee has intentionally coordinated public events throughout the week of October 3 to connect our experts with Arctic Council delegates and to provide information to the general public regarding the important changes that are occurring in the Arctic—and how they will impact us in Maine and New England. We can take advantage of this moment to educate federal agencies, international dignitaries and organizations about Maine’s Arctic history, capabilities and priorities—Maine is a great location to facilitate this type of dialogue,” said Dana Eidsness, Director, Maine North Atlantic Development Office (MENADO)

The University of Southern Maine and University of Maine School of Law will host a full day public conference and Arctic showcase on October third, “The Arctic: Challenges and Opportunities.”

A shipping container, provided by the Icelandic steamship company Eimskip, will house a curated art exhibit, ICELANDx207, from photographer Justin Levesque, in Congress Square from September 27th through October 12th.

The Children’s Museum of Maine is partnering with the Anchorage Museum in Alaska to create family programming including an art project on the Aurora Borealis.

Bowdoin College is developing an Arctic Trail Map that will guide people to locations across the state that highlight Maine’s significant historical connection to Arctic exploration.

All of these events and other information about the Arctic Council can be found on the newly launched website,

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, including sustainable development and environmental protection.

The Maine North Atlantic Development Office convened the Maine Arctic Council Host Committee to welcome visiting delegations from around the world to Maine during the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council and is collaborating with Alaska’s Arctic Council Host Committee as the organizing bodies that will develop opportunities for U.S. engagement on the sidebars of official Arctic Council events, creating space to inform visiting delegations and to engage Mainers, Alaskans and the nation in U.S. Arctic interests.

The Maine North Atlantic Development Office (MENADO) was formed in 2013 as a program of Maine International Trade Center and the Maine Department of Economic & Community Development to develop increased trade, investment and arts/cultural and academic exchanges between Maine and the markets of the North Atlantic Region and to develop Maine's policy space in Arctic affairs.

Marnie MacLean
Maine North Atlantic Development Office
PR Committee Chair, Maine Arctic Council Host Committee (207) 310-­0184