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Jennifer Spence Named Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Arctic Initiative

| July 01, 2022

Jennifer Spence stands at a podium with a laptop

Jennifer Spence led an interactive mind-mapping exercise at the Arctic Initiative's "Advancing Arctic Resilience" workshop on March 30, 2022.

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Jennifer Spence, one of Canada's leading Arctic experts, will join Harvard Kennedy School's Arctic Initiative as a resident Senior Fellow this coming academic year. Spence will substantially enhance the Initiative's capacity to address the future of Arctic governance—an increasingly critical issue in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Spence joins the Arctic Initiative from the Arctic Council, where she serves as Executive Secretary of the Sustainable Development Working Group. She is also an Adjunct Professor with Carleton University’s Northern Studies Graduate Program. 

“Everyone at the Arctic Initiative is delighted that Dr. Jennifer Spence is joining us as a Senior Fellow,” said John Holdren, Arctic Initiative Co-Director. “She has already made important contributions to our work in her role, until now, as an affiliated member of the Initiative while based at Carleton University and the Arctic Council. She brings deep expertise in climate change resilience and governance issues around Arctic challenges, as well as an extraordinary set of connections across the multinational Arctic community.”

Henry Lee, Arctic Initiative Co-Director, said, “We are very fortunate to have one of Canada's top experts on the Arctic. joining our team. Jen's understanding of the climate challenges facing Indigenous peoples throughout the Arctic region will be extremely valuable.”

Spence combines expertise in sustainable development, international governance, institutional effectiveness, and public policy with a particular passion for working with Northerners to understand and respond to the opportunities and challenges facing the Arctic region. At the Belfer Center, she will help lead the Initiative’s ongoing work on building Arctic communities’ resilience to rapid socio-ecological changes, as well as related governance issues.

“I've always believed that how decisions are made is as important—and sometimes more important—than what the decision is. The Arctic Initiative is committed to working closely with Arctic residents in its work and that's extremely exciting for me,” said Spence. “Now more than ever, we need to be advancing conversations about the future of Arctic governance and issues critical to Arctic residents. We've got lots of work to do, and I’m eager to join this amazing team.”

Prior to her work at the Arctic Council and Carleton University, Spence spent eighteen years working for the Canadian government in senior positions related to resource management, conflict and change management, strategic planning, and leadership development. Earlier experience included stints as a project manager developing an international network of drylands policy experts for the United Nations Development Programme in Nairobi, Kenya, and as a safari lodge manager in South Africa.

Spence received her Ph.D. in public policy from Carleton University, an M.A. from Royal Roads University in conflict management and analysis, and a B.A. in political science from the University of British Columbia.

 About the Arctic Initiative

The Arctic Initiative addresses the challenges and opportunities being created by rapid climate change in the far North. By integrating insights from cutting-edge scientific research, Indigenous knowledge, and policy analysis, the Initiative seeks to improve understanding of the regional and global impacts of Arctic climate change, work with stakeholders at all levels to develop responsive policies and actions, and train the next generation of leaders in the field.

Co-directed by Holdren and Lee, the Arctic Initiative is a joint project of the Environment and Natural Resources Program and the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program at the Belfer Center.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Hanlon, Elizabeth. “Jennifer Spence Named Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Arctic Initiative.” News, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, July 1, 2022.

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