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

Since 2019, Iceland has Chaired the Artic Council with a focus on the theme of "Together Towards a Sustainable Arctic." Iceland has focused on four key priorities throughout their Chairmanship: The Arctic Marine Environment, Climate and Green Energy Solutions, People and Communities of the Arctic, and a Stronger Arctic Council. In this Earth Day dialogue, the panel will explore the progress made on these issues and what to expect next in the Arctic Council with a transition to the Russian Chairmanship happening this year. 

This discussion will be moderated by Dr. Mike Sfraga the founding director of the Polar Institute, with Arctic Initiative Senior Fellow, Fran Ulmer, past Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission and former Lieutenant Governor of Alaska, and Senior Fellow at the Wilson Center, David Balton, a former US Ambassador, as discussants. Opening remarks provided by Halla Logadottir, Co-Founder and Co-director of the Arctic Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson

Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson

Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation, and Chair of the Arctic Council

Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson has been a Member of Althingi for the Reykjavík North Constituency 2003–2009, for the Reykjavík South Constituency 2009-2016 and for the Reykjavík North Constituency since 2016. He was Chairman of the parliamentary group of the Independence Party 2016–2017 and was Deputy Chairman of the parliamentary group of the Independence Party 2013–2016 and 2005–2007. He was Minister of Health and Social Security between 2007 and 2009. 

Discussants: Fran Ulmer, Arctic Initiative Senior Fellow // Former Lt. Governor, State of Alaska; Former Chair, United States Arctic Research Commission

David Balton, Wilson Center Polar Institute Senior Fellow// Former Ambassador for Oceans and Fisheries, U.S. Department of State

Michael Sfraga, Director, Polar Institute;  Director, Global Risk and Resilience Program

Introductory Remarks: 

Halla Hrund Logadottir, Co-Founder and Co-Director, Arctic Initiative