Anchorage, Alaska – September 19, 2023
The Arctic Resilient Communities Youth Fellowship (ARCYF) recently concluded its intensive in-person workshop in Greenland, which focused on addressing issues related to resource development, governance, and education and fostering dialogue regarding cultural sustainability and trauma impacts in the Arctic region. From August 17 to August 23, 2023, the 2023 ARCYF cohort from Alaska, Canada, and Greenland gathered in Sisimiut at the Greenlandic School of Minerals and Petroleum, with the second round of in-depth-depth sessions concluding in Nuuk, Greenland’s capital. Throughout the week, participants engaged in thoughtful discussions to understand and address the complex challenges faced by Arctic communities, including responsible resource development, workforce development, meaningful engagement with Indigenous communities, and environmental and social concerns in the rapidly evolving Arctic landscape.
Building on insights from the previous gathering in Alaska, the Greenland Workshop reinforced the importance of a meaningful youth-led engagement and review process, ensuring that the experiences and insights inform future gatherings. Many valuable lessons learned during the Alaska and Greenland gatherings will be incorporated into the ARCYF Program as it moves forward, reinforcing the commitment to building stronger, more resilient communities in the Arctic.
Recognizing the importance of continuous improvement, ARCYF has sought comprehensive feedback encouraging open communication and active participation from the youth cohort. This enables the fellowship to adapt and refine its approach, helping participants with the necessary skills to foster resilience and build sustainable communities in the Arctic.
“This is an interactive journey with these young Arctic leaders and program staff, and we acknowledge that the future of our fellowship is profoundly shaped by the invaluable feedback and direction we receive from them. Their vision and commitment will continue to guide the pursuit of building more resilient communities, leaving behind a legacy we hope will reflect the spirit of collaboration and innovation for future generations of Arctic leaders.” – Jon Isaacs, Chairman, Board of Directors of the Institute of the North
In-person workshops are integral to the fellowship’s success, allowing the fellows to build camaraderie, form lasting relationships, interact with governmental, commercial, and non-profit entities, and connect with staff team members. The first in-person workshop in Anchorage this March joined the fellows with various business and government representatives and Alaska Native leaders and engaged in discussions on Arctic natural resources, renewable energy, climate change, and adaptation. The fellows recently returned from the second in-person gathering in Greenland, which built upon engagement with Arctic leaders and stakeholders and continued valuable in-person collaboration among the fellows.
Now that the fellows have returned to their respective communities, they are working on completing their ‘personal projects,’ the final requirement before graduation. These projects serve as a platform for applying their leadership capabilities and contributing to greater community resilience. Their collective strength and preparedness in addressing ongoing challenges will ultimately chart a course toward a more resilient future in the Arctic region.
About ARCYF – ARCYF’s mission is to empower Arctic youth to become leaders in building resilient Arctic communities and fostering responsible and inclusive development. Spanning three countries – the United States (Alaska), Canada, and Greenland – ARCYF is a one-year paid fellowship for young leaders, empowering them to pursue resilience in Arctic communities with a strong emphasis on transboundary cooperation; the hometowns of the 2023 cohort are located an impressive distance of 3,337 miles (or 5,371 km) apart.
Since its inception in 2022, ARCYF has emerged as a unique opportunity for Arctic youth leaders. It utilizes a multifaceted, hybrid approach integrating a virtual speaker series, in-person workshops, and community resiliency projects.
ARCYF is administered by the Institute of the North and North Star Group, and is proud to have the valued support of the Government of Canada, USFWS, Alaska Airlines, and the Denali Commission. While this is the inaugural year of ARCYF, its concept has been in development for several years as an outcome of work through the Arctic Council’s Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working group’s Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Arctic Mining (MBAM) initiative.