Arctic Diplomacy – Daily engagement in support of our Shared North

The Arctic Institute posted an article titled, “Arctic Diplomacy – Daily engagement in support of our Shared North.” The article reads in part as follows;

“When thinking of Arctic diplomacy, one is drawn to the significant work of the Arctic Council.  One may also think of the United Nations system and the important work being done under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to settle claims related to the continental shelf.  What is often forgotten in the mix of Arctic politics and diplomacy is the central role of bilateral relations in advancing cooperation and understanding between nations and people in the High North. In my view, Arctic diplomacy is about connections and people.

As an Ambassador, I speak with key governmental agencies such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. Governmental engagement is key to any diplomatic role. However, I have found the people-to-people connections to be most rewarding and effective in building bridges between our countries. Engaging with Indigenous peoples, with youth and academic institutions has been an important part of Canadian diplomacy in Norway’s North.

As Canada’s Ambassador to Norway, I am an Arctic Ambassador.  It has been one of the most rewarding aspects of the job.  It surprises me how much of my day-to-day work is related to Arctic issues and activities. My job has been to focus on more personal interactions; to meet people all over Norway and talk about Canadian experiences and perspectives. It may not be high diplomacy, but it builds connections between our countries.

Before appointed Ambassador, I had been to the Arctic once – in 1997.  I travelled to Iqaluit, Nunavut for a conference.  Being there in August, I was struck by the landscape – the beautiful colors of the tundra – the caribou out in the distance.  My experience 20 years ago was but a taste – a foreshadowing of how important this region has become to me today.”

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