September 04, 2018
On September 3, the University of New England was welcomed as the newest member of the University of the Arctic, a cooperative network of universities, colleges, research institutes and other organizations concerned with education and research in the peoples and places in the “New North.” By building and strengthening collective resources, providing a collaborative infrastructure and forging global partnerships, the University of the Arctic promotes thriving and sustainable communities and economies in the northern region of the world. UNE, the first university in Maine to become a member of the organization, joined nearly 200 institutions from around the globe in bringing its education, research and outreach strengths to bear on issues unique to the developing North.
According to UNE president James Herbert, Ph.D., demographic, geographic, climatic, and cultural similarities between Maine and the North Atlantic/Nordic states have created a need and enthusiasm for impactful regional relationships that can support thriving and sustainable communities and economies. “Joining the University of the Arctic is an exciting next step in utilizing both UNE’s expertise and curiosity to explore ways to help shape Maine’s and the Arctic region’s vibrant future,” he said.
The University of New England will engage in all University of the Arctic programs. The north2north student mobility program will allow UNE students to apply for exchange grants to fund study at any of the participating UArctic institutions. Students may even take advantage of online courses and programs offered by UArctic partners. UNE faculty and researchers will be able to participate and even take leading roles in vibrant thematic working groups focusing on a range of topics, from Arctic environmental, marine, and social-political sciences to distance education and social work.
Barry Costa-Pierce, Ph.D., UNE Doherty Professor of Marine Sciences and executive director of UNE’s newly founded Institute for North Atlantic Studies, UNE NORTH, says the opportunity for students to gain knowledge and expertise in subjects directly pertaining to the circumpolar region is significant given the increasing role that the region is playing on the world stage. “Over the next 50 years, every nation on Earth will be impacted by the rapid changes occurring in the Arctic and North Atlantic,” he stated. “This region will be a key player in world commerce, so expertise in Arctic issues will be a tremendous asset to students in several cross-disciplinary, transdisciplinary fields who hope to make progress on critical global sustainability development goals.”
Costa-Pierce further explained that “being part of the University of the Arctic opens doors for UNE students and faculty to study all of the great issues of the present and the future that pertain to the region and to study them specifically through an Arctic/North Atlantic/Nordic lens.” He said that the ability to take UArctic courses as uniquely tailored as Arctic Vegetation, Arctic Shipping, Arctic Marine Biology, Sociology of the North as well as courses in the languages of the various Arctic nations will be instrumental in UNE students’ education and will greatly influence their career paths.