News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Sara Olsvig Joins Arctic Initiative’s International Advisory Board

| Jan. 25, 2024

Sara Olsvig

Photo Credit: Angu Motzfeldt

CAMBRIDGE, MA - The Arctic Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs is pleased to announce the appointment of Sara Olsvig to its International Advisory Board. Olsvig, a prominent Greenlandic politician and Inuit leader, brings to the Arctic Initiative a wealth of policymaking experience and a deep understanding of Arctic governance, human rights, and Indigenous rights.

Olsvig is currently the International Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), the Indigenous Peoples’ Organization that represents approximately 180,000 Inuit of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka. She has over a decade of leadership in promoting Indigenous peoples’ rights and interests, protection of the Arctic environment, and sustainable development in regional and international fora such as the Arctic Council and the United Nations.

In addition to her work with ICC, ¬Olsvig served as a member of the Parliament of Denmark from 2011 to 2015 and the Parliament of Greenland from 2013 to 2018. She led the political party Inuit Ataqatigiit from 2014 to 2018. She was Vice Premier and Minister of Social Affairs, Families, Gender Equality and Justice in the Government of Greenland from 2016 to 2018. Olsvig has actively contributed to the work of the Constitutional Commission of Greenland, as well as the Human Rights Council of Greenland. She holds a MSc in Anthropology from the University of Copenhagen, and is a doctoral candidate at Ilisimatusarfik, the University of Greenland.

“Sara is a wonderfully smart and experienced policymaker and a leading Inuit voice,” said Arctic Initiative Co-Director John Holdren. “I am delighted she’s joined the Arctic Initiative’s International Advisory Board.”

Olsvig joins five other distinguished Arctic experts on the Arctic Initiative’s International Advisory Board. Board members help grow the Arctic Initiative’s global networks, advise on trends in the Arctic, provide strategic guidance to inform the Initiative’s research, and engage in priority projects across the Initiative’s focus areas, including permafrost thaw, governance, socio-ecological resilience, and marine conservation. Board members also participate in seminars and other student-facing programs connected to the educational component of the Arctic Initiative's work at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

“Good governance and policy making in the Arctic depends on good relations and cooperation across peoples, sectors and national borders. The Arctic Initiative is an important contributor to the dialogue and cooperation we collective need. It is my great pleasure and honor to bring an Inuit voice to the Advisory Board,” said Olsvig.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Hanlon, Elizabeth. “Sara Olsvig Joins Arctic Initiative’s International Advisory Board.” News, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, January 25, 2024.

The Author


John P. Holdren