September 26, 2018 - 9:45am

Vancouver Island University attends UArctic Council Meeting and Congress in Oulu and Helsinki, Finland

As an Arctic Nation, Canada is a significant member of the University of the Arctic (UArctic). UArctic was created in 2002, and VIU has been a member institution since 2007. Since 2010, and through the North2North (N2N) student mobility program, VIU has hosted 20 students from UArctic institutional members, including Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland and Alaska, USA. Sixteen VIU students have also enjoyed the opportunity to study in Sweden, Norway, and Finland.

Dr. Suzanne de la Barre, a faculty member in the Faculty of Management’s Master of Sustainable Leisure Management and the Bachelor of Tourism Management programmes, is a VIU institutional representative on the UArctic council. She combined attending council meetings with presenting on the Future of Arctic Tourismpanel, and project planning meetings for a recently approved Nordregio (Northern Council of Ministers) Arctic Cooperation Programme funded project.

During the three year project, and led by the University of Lapland (Finland), VIU and five other partner universities will look at changes in Arctic tourism in three thematic areas: seasonality, Arctic urbanism, and overtourism. Suzanne will bring the northwestern Canadian context to the international case studies. 

The interdisciplinary group of social scientists will collect data with their students in the host site, and complement those findings with secondary source data. Data will be analyzed using theoretical and conceptual frameworks from diverse disciplines (e.g., geography, economics). The project enables one VIU masters student to contribute to the project and travel with Suzanne to Finland (October, 2018), Umeå (Sweden) (2019), and Reykjavik (Iceland) (2020).

“Through my collaboration work with UArctic partner universities, I have engaged 7 students (3 undergraduate and 4 graduate) from VIU in 3 different projects. I’m about to engage at least 3 more! It’s fantastic to be able to provide this kind of pan-polar educational and research exposure to our students.” Interested students should contact Suzanne for more information.

Two significant outcomes of the UArctic council meetings are the 2018 UArctic declaration, and an initiative aimed at re-engaging the Canadian Government. The former provides a strong statement on sustainable Arctic development from an education, training and research perspective (https://congress.uarctic.org/congress2018/declaration/). The latter is specifically relevant to Canadian institutional members and is an initiative that seeks tore-engage the Canadian Government to support initiatives that will secure capacity building for the Canadian North, its people, circumpolar cooperation, and ensure continuation of Canada’s initiative to build circumpolar academic cooperation.

VIU students and others who are interested in finding out more about N2N and the opportunity to do a semester in a participating UArctic member university should contact: EducationAbroad@viu.ca

For more information on Suzanne’s VIU UArctic affiliated projects, contact Suzanne at Suzanne.delabarre@viu.ca and go to:


Tags: Research


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