Welcome to the Arctic Meeting Room

The Arctic is the home to unique populations, biodiversity and extreme weather conditions and all the associated challenges it represents. In the Arctic Cooperation Webinars Series, a team of selected experts, academics and professionals will tackle a hot Arctic topic, setting up a discussion on current trends, developments and solutions to the related challenges. If you want to learn more about Arctic topics and participate in the discussion, take a seat at the Arctic Meeting Room table!

The Arctic Cooperation Webinars Series

The Arctic Cooperation Webinars Series was initiated by Thomas Viguier in 2020 and seeks the promotion and democratization of Arctic and Traditional knowledge through the creation of an online platform, bringing together multi-perspective and high-level expertise to provide knowledge and content for a thematically focused educational access. An interdisciplinary approach is achieved through the promotion of Icelandic and international Arctic-relevant expertise. Target audiences include indigenous and local communities, students and early career researchers, academic and non-academic experts, policy makers and private sector entities. Overcoming remoteness, expanding high quality tailored education, creating new knowledge and content, building resilience in Arctic local communities and promoting sustainable development are the key achievements of the project, fostering compliance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals 4, 10 and 13.

For 2021, the IACN is joining efforts to continue developing the project by drawing cooperation with several bodies such as the SSNE. With the SSNE, the project has been awarded a grant from the North East Development Fund under the theme "Sóknaráætlun Norðurlands Eystra" or "Strategy for the North East" to strengthen the support for the integration of North East Iceland in the Arctic affairs' dialogue.



The Arctic Guardians' Dialogue
April 12 - 13, 2021
*This event is by registration only*

Please visit this link to register

The Arctic Coast Guard Forum, the Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network and the University of Akureyri are cooperating on a 2-day conference called “The Arctic Guardians’ Dialogue” on April 12th and 13th 2021. The Arctic Guardians’ Dialogue conference is established to echo the goals of the Arctic Guardian exercise in Search and Rescue and Maritime Environmental Response within the Arctic. The conference is also built towards cooperation in the Arctic between the Arctic Coast Guard Forum (ACGF) and the EPPR Working Group of the Arctic Council; the integration of Arctic cultures and knowledge in Arctic institutions; the progressive closing of the gender gap in maritime; and the protection of the marine environment in the context of an increasing shipping traffic in the Arctic region. In this sense, the conference is articulated around three main themes:

  • Cross-cultural communication
  • Women in maritime
  • Marine environmental response


Day 1, April 12th, 12:00-16:00 UTC - Cross-Cultural Communication & Women in Maritime

12:00 to 12:05 UTC - Welcoming Words
Eyjólfur Guðmundsson, Rector, University of Akureyri

12:05 to 12:10 UTC - Opening Remarks
Rear Admiral Georg Kr. Lárusson, Director General of the Icelandic Coast Guard & Chair for the Arctic Coast Guard Forum for 2019-2021

Moderator: Andrew Paul Hill, Assistant Professor, University of Akureyri

12:10 to 13:10 UTC - Effective Communication in Multi-Agency Work 
Andrew Paul Hill, Assistant Professor, University of Akureyri
The presentation will be interactive and explore cross-cultural communication issues, barriers to, and enablers for effective communication. Models & TheoriesInclude:  

  • Betari´sBox(Attitudes&Behaviours)
  • TransactionalAnalysis(ParentAdultChild)
  • ResponsestoDominance(AvoidanceResistanceAcquiescence)
  • C.U.D.S.A. (ConflictResolution) 
  • SixCategoriesofIntervention(Support &Growth)
  • ActionCentredLeadership(Adair)

13:10 to 13:30 UTC - Cross-Cultural Communication, Policy and Personally 
Rear Admiral Joanna Nunan, Assistant Commandant for Human Resources, U.S. Coast Guard
Rear Admiral Joanna Nunan, U. S. Coast Guard, will speak about the challenges of managing a workforce that is diversifying in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as facing some inevitable growing pains.  Effective cross-cultural communication is the solution, a balance of members’ respecting one another’s differences while also finding common cause in the Coast Guard mission.  This is a policy priority at the most senior level as well as a process that must take place personally - between shipmates - presenting the U.S. Coast Guard’s Human Resources directorate with their most important work to date. 

13:30 to 13:40 UTC - Q&A
Rear Admiral Joanna Nunan, Assistant Commandant for Human Resources, U.S. Coast Guard

13:40 to 14:00 UTC - Break

14:00 to 14:20 UTC - All Aboard: History, Equality and Opportunity at Sea 
Margaret Willson, Affiliate Associate Professor, University of Washington

Our perceptions of our histories in many ways set the boundaries of our present. In Iceland, women are not newly entering sea work, now defined as a ‘man’s world’, but reentering, their vibrant herstory at sea effectively erased. Their knowledge and experiences at sea, past and present, can teach us a great deal about the influences female incorporation into maritime management and crews at sea can have. Using a current example of positive gender maritime integration, Dr. Willson will make suggestions for avenues for achieving greater gender equality at sea.

14:20 to 14:40 UTC - Being a Woman in a "Men's" Job!  
Steinunn Einarsdóttir, Instructor, Maritime Safety and Survival Training Center, Iceland

What is my experience of working as a woman in a man's job? What are male and female jobs and how do we define them and why? Do we need to have a plan to equalize the gender ratio? does it really matter? 

14:40 to 14:50 UTC - Break

14:50 to 15:10 UTC - The Future of  Women  in  the Maritime Industry 
Lara Barrett, Commanding Officer, CCGS Terry Fox, Canadian Coast Guard

Capt. Lara Barrett will discuss the past, present and future of women in the maritime industry and how she sees their position evolving over time. Not only are women more present on-board vessels, but they are increasingly taking management positions ashore and how this is changing the industry.

15:10 to 15:30 UTC - Present and Future for Youth in the Maritime Industry
Inga Fanney Egilsdóttir, Second Officer, Faroe Ship - Fossar, M/S Selfoss
Inga will discuss the present and future for young people in the maritime industry and how job opportunities have changed from  when she started working at sea, 1976 to present.

Moderator: Níels Einarsson, Director, Stefansson Arctic Institute

15:30 to 16:00 UTC - Q&A with all the speakers of Women in Maritime

NOTE: There will be an opportunity for Q&A between themes.


About the Speakers 

Andrew Paul Hill 
Andy Hill is an assistant professor and Director of Police Science at the University of Akureyri in Iceland.  Andy served for nine years with the British Royal Military Police and over twenty years with the Thames Valley Police in the United Kingdom.  Andy developed and led one of the first police education programmes in the United Kingdom for over ten years before moving to Iceland in January 2017. Andy Introduced Inter-ProfessionalEducation(IPE) to the student police officer curriculum in 2010 and has begun to do the same in Iceland.  At the very heart of effective IPE is professional communication.  This theme will be explored in his interactive (virtual) workshop at the start of the Arctic Guardians’ Dialogue event.  Andy has amaster’sdegree in adult education and a PhD in policing and dyslexia.  

Joanna Nunan 
Rear Admiral Nunan graduated from the U. S. Coast Guard Academy in 1987.  Her early sea duty was in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Western Pacific before becoming the last commanding officer of the WWII era USCGC IRONWOOD in Kodak, Alaska, and subsequently the first commanding officer of its state-of-the-art replacement, the 225-foot SPAR. Ashore, she has held senior positions in two different Cabinet offices:  Military Advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security and Military Assistant to the Secretary of Transportation.  Joanna has been Chief of Staff at the Force Readiness Command, Sector Commander in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Deputy Sector Commander in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Before becoming the Assistant Commandant for Human Resources, she commanded the Coast Guard’s Ninth District, which encompasses the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Seaways region. 

Margaret Willson 
Dr. Margaret Willson, Affiliate Associate Professor in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Washington and Senior Associate Scientist at the Stefansson Arctic Institute in Iceland, has conducted extensive research on gender in the maritime, including her book Seawomen of Iceland: Survival on the EdgeMargaret is currently completing a biography of the Icelandic fishing captain ÞuríðurEinarsdóttir.

Steinunn Einarsdóttir 
Steinunn has extensive experience of jobs that would have once fallen under the definition of a "man's job". She began her career as a "newbie/novice" on the Icelandic Coast Guard ship Týr in 1997 when she was 18 years old. A year later, she took a commercial divers license and worked as a diver for the Icelandic Coast Guard until 2003. In the year 2004, she started to work at the Coast Guard's office. Steinunn graduated from the State Police Academy in 2005 and worked as a police officer, for ten years. While working as a police officer Steinunn finished a B.S. in sports and health sciences in 2010. Today Steinunn works as an instructor at the Maritime Safety and Survival Training Centre where Icelandic mariners train safety and survival skillsSteinunn has participated in various courses, most notably the undergraduate EMT at the School of Ambulance Services.

Lara Barrett 
Capt. Lara Barrett has worked with the Canadian Coast Guard for 21 years. Before she joined the Coast Guard, she worked in the merchant marine on various passenger vessels. In the Coast Guard, she started as a navigating officer and worked herself up to Captain on smaller vessels and then gradually to larger vessels. Presently, she is one of the Captains on the CCGS Terry Fox, which is Canada’s second-largest icebreaker. She works in Canada’s Arctic in the summer and around the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Newfoundland in the winter.

Inga Fanney Egilsdóttir
Forty years since she graduated from The Collage of Navigation in Reykjavík, during which time she has worked at sea on various boats and vessels.  From small fishing boats, research vessels, passenger ferry to cargo vessels.  Inga Fanney hast taught at maritime collages both in Namibia and Iceland. While in Namibia she also participated in Legal Drafting Committee, but the main purpose was to draft maritime legislation to be approved by IMO.


Day 2, April 13th, 13:00-16:00 UTC – Marine Environmental Response


Moderator: Embla Eir Oddsdóttir, Director, Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network

13:00 to 13:30 UTC - Norwegian Oil Spill Response in Cold Waters: Lessons Learned from the Northguider and Godafoss Incidents 
Trond Hjort-Larsen, Norwegian Coastal Administration

The Northguider incident will focus on the emergency off-loading of more than 330 000 litres of diesel from a grounded trawler at 80 degrees north in the Hinlopen strait, midwinter, and 24 hours of sailing from the closest port (Longyearbyen). The Godafoss incident will focus on collecting heavy oil at sea with booms and skimmers in temperatures down to minus 20.

13:30 to 14:00 UTC - Introduction of the Canadian Coast Guard Arctic Region and the Coast Guard Response to Two Cold Water Incidents
David Yard, Superintendent, Canadian Coast Guard
Join us for an overview of the new Canadian Coast Guard Arctic Region and to hear more about two cold water response incidents. In 2020, the Canadian Coast Guard responded to a pollution incident near the community of Postville, Newfoundland and Labrador, and in 2018 the Canadian Coast Guard conducted diverless, sub-sea oil removal operations from the Manolis L wreck in Notre Dame Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. 

14:00 to 14:15 UTC - Break

14:15 to 14:45 UTC - CAFF Activities, Oil Spill and Arctic Biodiversity 
Tom Barry, Executive Secretary, CAFF, Arctic Council
Susse Wegeberg, Senior Advisor and Representative of the Kingdom of Denmark, CMBP, CAFF, Arctic Council
This talk will provide an overview of relevant activities by the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Arctic Council biodiversity Working Group; links with relevant organizations; describe impacts of oil spills and oil spill methodologies on Arctic biodiversity; and illustrate how CAFF activities can provide information to oil spill response planning, and vice versa.

14:45 to 15:15 UTC - Restoration of Impacted Arctic Sites 
David Pearce, Professor, Northumbria University

In a recent study on Svalbard, we evaluated the current environmental conditions around the coastal landfill site in Adventdalen (the wastewater from which discharges directly into the sea)and tried to identify future potential actions that might promote naturally occurring microbial communities to accelerate environmental recovery in cases of human impact. Combining molecular analyses of soil communities and physiological data from microcosm studies, we characterized the nature of the environmental changes induced at the landfill site, determined whether any intervention was necessary (or desirable) to restore the original environmental conditions, and evaluated whether the area of influence of the landfill site was stable, receding or increasing over time. 

15:15 to 15:45 UTC - Is the Biggest Oil Spill on Our Planet in the Form of Plastic Pollution?  
Ásta Margrét Ásmundsdóttir, Adjunct Professor, University of Akureyri

A big part of the world’s oil production is used for making plastics. Plastic is inexpensive, easily malleable and widely used material. Actually, it is difficult to imagine our daily lives without it. However, the side effects of this waste plastic use cannot be ignored anymore and must be addressed. Plastic pollution is one of the major pollution problems in our oceans today. Apart from the obvious accumulation of plastic debris on coastlines and plastic islands forming in open oceans, there is also an invisible side of the issue, the microplastics, which caught the attention of scientists only recently. 

15:45 to 16:00 UTC - Closing Remarks
Captain Auðunn Kristinsson, Deputy Chief of Operations, Icelandic Coast Guard

NOTE: In the second day, each speaker is assigned 15-20 minutes for their presentation, with an opportunity for Q&A afterwards.


About the Speakers 

Trond Hjort-Larsen 
Fifteen years of experience with oil spill training and response at the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA). He has been On-Scene Commander on several occasions during oil spill incidents (Full City, Helge IngstadNorthguiderBukhtaNaezdnik). He has also been Supreme On-Scene Commander during exercise Barents, a combined SAR and oil spill exercise between Russia and Norway, together with the Joint Rescue Command Centres in Bodø, Northern Norway and Murmansk. He has special focus on research and development concerning winterization of equipment and techniques / tactics during wintery conditions. Holds a bachelor degree in Business management & administration from the Arctic University of Tromsø, and before that a bachelor’s in management from Royal Military Academy together with several years of experience from the Army at platoon, company and battalion level.

David Yard 
David Yard is the Superintendent of Environmental Response, Canadian Coast Guard Atlantic Region. He has 32 years of service with the Canadian Coast Guard and Transport Canada in the marine environmental response field, and has been a member of the Coast Guard National Response Team member, an Incident Commander, or Coast Guard Salvage Master on numerous incidents across Canada and around the world.  David has also been a member of the Canadian Delegation at IMO for a number of years, a designated Port State Control Officer and a Pollution Prevention Officer. 

Tom Barry 
Tom Barry is the Executive Secretary for the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council, based in Akureyri, Iceland. Tom has a broad range of experience at national and international levels dealing with strategic planning and organizational development. Tom works with a diverse range of stakeholders from across the Arctic to ensure that biodiversity conservation remains a priority for audiences working in Arctic policy and in multilateral global environmental agreement settings. 

Susse Wegeberg 
Susse Wegeberg (Aarhus University, DK), PhD, is a senior advisor and represents the Kingdom of Denmark in the Coastal Steering Group within CBMP as well as being part of the CBMP coordination group. SW has her key expertise within marine ecology and coastal ecosystems, including environmental impact assessments. SW provides advice to the Greenland and Danish authorities regarding the environmental aspects of oil exploration and shipping in Greenland, including environmental aspects of marine pollution from oil and oil spill response methods. Susse has a number of publications from these activities.

David Pearce 
The underlying theme of my research is to use microbiology (and in particular novel molecular techniques applied to microbial ecology, microbial biodiversity and activity, environmental genomics, biogeochemical cycling and model extremophiles) to understand Polar ecosystem function and the potential for shifts in biogeochemical activity that may result from environmental change. I have taken the lead in the development of new frontiers of research in metagenomics, chemosynthetic communities, sediment sequestration of carbon and subglacial lake environments and have initiated new interdisciplinary approaches on the aerial environment (with chemists), ice nucleation activity (with physicists) and in the biogeochemistry of ice (with glaciologists).

Ásta Margrét Ásmundsdóttir 
Ásta Margrét Ásmundsdóttir is a chemist at the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at the University ofAkureyri, Iceland. She has been studying microplastics for some years and conducted and participated in different research projects involving the analysis of microplastics, for example, in drinking water, coastal sediments, lakes and glaciers in Iceland.


Contact Information: Thomas Viguier, Project Manager, thomas [AT] arcticiceland [DOT] is

Past Webinar: 20th October 2020

Regional Development & Food Security in the Arctic: The Role of Geothermal Energy

View Program PDF

Summary Report:
View Summary Report PDF


Important Information:
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