MENADO

Arctic Council brings big October meetings to Portland, Maine

The excerpt below is from an article originally published on Nunatsiaq Online.  [LINK]

Under U.S. chairmanship, Arctic Council looks to south-north links

When you look at the city of Portland, Maine on the northeastern coast of the United States, it’s more likely that you’ll be reminded of lobsters rather than the Arctic.
But during September and early October, Maine will welcome nearly 250 ambassadors, scientists, representatives of Indigenous communities from around the Arctic and other Arctic leaders to various Arctic Council meetings and workshops associated with the Arctic Council’s working groups, task forces and expert groups.
Delegates to the meeting of the Arctic Council’s Senior Arctic Officials — the only SAO meeting of four during the two-year U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic Council to take place outside Alaska — in Portland Oct. 5 and Oct. 6, said a Sept. 1 announcement from the Maine North Atlantic Development Office.

he news release says Arctic change will have a direct impact on Maine’s economy, coastline and natural resources.

If climate change makes the Northwest Passage more navigable, Portland could become a strategic departure point or first point of entry for ships travelling through Canada’s High Arctic islands.

Portland has already forged economic ties with the Icelandic shipping company, Eimskip, which moved its North American headquarters to Portland in 2013 and which links the U.S with Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway and Russia.

As well, the Maine Maritime Academy, located in Portland, has received money from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Science and Technology Directorate for the development and delivery of maritime ice navigation and first responder courses.

Portland also can lay claim to some prestigious polar history: Robert Peary, a graduate of Portland High School and Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, is credited as being the first person to reach the North Pole in 1909.

As for the official Arctic Council meetings, these are are closed to the public, but the Maine Arctic Council Host Committee has planned side events so the public can learn about the work of the Arctic Council and Maine’s “growing connection to the Arctic,” the release said.

The University of Southern Maine, the University of Maine School of Law and Pierce Atwood LLP will host a public conference and Arctic showcase Oct. 3 on “The Arctic: Challenges and Opportunities.”

At Portland’s library, you’ll find an exhibit on the History of maps of the Northwest Passage.

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

You can find more information on this new website, called Maine and the Arctic, here.

Portland, Maine, population 66,000, located 2,235 kilometres south of Iqaluit and 7,301 km from Fairbanks, Alaska, has wanted to play a larger role in the Arctic and the Arctic Council under the U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic forum.

Angus King, an independent U.S. Senator for Maine, explained Maine’s Arctic interest this way in a statement released after he accompanied Secretary of State John Kerry to Iqaluit for the May 15 ministerial meeting: “As one of the closest American trade hubs [with the Arctic], Maine will play a central role… as commercial, cultural, and educational exchanges increase in the coming years.”

“Maine has already started looking north,” said King in an earlier statement on his website.

King also helped found an Arctic caucus at the U.S. Senate.

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, ww.maineandthearctic.com

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.

Contact:
Marnie MacLean
Maine North Atlantic Development Office
PR Committee Chair, Maine Arctic Council Host Committee (207) 310-­0184
marniemaclean1@gmail.com

Diplomacy forum in Portland will spotlight Arctic, Maine

The excerpt below is from the article, Diplomacy forum in Portland will spotlight Arctic, Maine, originally published by the Portland Press Herald and written by Patrick Whittle, The Associated Press. [LINK]

A forum about Arctic diplomacy slated to take place in Maine’s largest city will focus on issues like climate change and shipping, and put a spotlight on its host, organizers said.
The Arctic Council’s Senior Arctic Officials meeting will take place in Portland from Oct. 4-6. Officials from the council’s eight member nations, including the United States, and a host of non-governmental organizations will assemble for the midweek event.
The event will also likely focus on the Arctic’s indigenous groups and energy issues, said U.S. Ambassador for Oceans and Fisheries David Balton, who will lead the meeting. Balton said the event is the first time the council has held such a meeting on U.S. soil outside Alaska or Washington, D.C.