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2015 Speakers

Professor Whitney Lackenbauer, University of Waterloo

P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Ph.D., is a professor and chair of the department of history at St. Jerome’s University in the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group based in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada.  He completed his B.A. at the University of Waterloo (1998) and his M.A. (1999) and Ph.D. (2004) at the University of Calgary.  A fellow with the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute, the Arctic Institute of North America, and the Frost Centre for Canadian and Indigenous Studies, Dr. Lackenbauer’s recent books include Vigilans: The 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (2015), Blockades or Breakthroughs? Aboriginal Peoples Confront the Canadian State (co-edited 2014), A Historical and Legal Study of Sovereignty in the Canadian North, 1870-1942 (edited 2014, winner of the 2015 Lyman Prize for Naval and Maritime History), Legal Appraisals of Canada’s Arctic Sovereignty: Key Documents, 1904-58 (co-edited 2014), The Canadian Rangers: A Living History, 1942-2012 (2013, shortlisted for the Dafoe prize), Canada and the Changing Arctic: Sovereignty, Security and Stewardship (co-authored 2011), and Arctic Front: Defending Canada in the Far North (co-authored 2008, winner of the 2009 Donner Prize for the best Canadian book on public policy). He currently holds a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant (2015-18) on Canada-United States Arctic relations, and is completing books on China’s Arctic interests, Canadian Arctic sovereignty and security policies since the Second World War, Aboriginal-state relations, and contemporary circumpolar affairs.


Julia L. Gourley, US Senior Arctic Official

Julia Gourley is the Senior Arctic Official of the United States and is the U.S. representative to the Arctic Council. She handles the State Department's Arctic portfolio covering the wide range of U.S. foreign policy interests in the Arctic. Prior to her current position in the Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs, she spend five years in the State Department's Office of Environmental Policy where her portfolio covered hazardous waste and chemicals issues including the Basel Convention, the Rotterdam Convention and the Montreal Protocol. She came to the State Department from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where she spend twelve years covering chemicals issues, hazardous waste trade and domestic climate change programs. Before her twenty years of government service, Ms. Gourley spend several years at both the Urban Institute and the National Council for Urban Economic Development concentrating on domestic urban issues. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, USA.


Coco Smits, Social Policy Consultant

Industry, Energy & Mining at Royal HaskoningDHV and Chair of Young Royal HaskoningDHV

Coco Smits is a consultant at Royal HaskoningDHV where she is working on the social aspects of large industrial projects. Managing non-technical risks in the extractive industries is her key focus. Coco is an expert in the governance and social license to operate of oil and gas activities, with a particular interest in the Arctic region. Her scholarly publications include work on Arctic energy governance, politics of the Arctic, human capital building and exploring the concept of a social license to operate. In 2013 Coco won the prestigious Graduate Award of the Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). Currently Coco is chairing the board of Young Royal HaskoningDHV.



Farid Sharifi, M.Sc., MBA, Senior Renewable Energy Specialist at WWF-Canada. 

Farid manages the Sustainable Energy Development initiative in the Canadian Arctic and also the renewable energy mapping project at Saint John River Watershed and the Bay of Fundy in Atlantic Canada. Prior to joining WWF, Farid worked five years at a consulting engineering company, focusing on water resources planning and management and hydropower operation optimization. He has been published and cited in several peer-reviewed journals and conferences such as Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, World Environmental and Water Resource Congress, ASCE Journal of Construction Management and Engineering Optimization. Farid holds a Master of Business Administration from University of Toronto and Master of Science in Water Resources Planning and Management from IUST.


Mariano Arriaga, University of Waterloo

Mariano is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Waterloo focusing on renewable energy planning for remote communities in Canada. As part of a Natural Resources Canada funded project, he has collaborated with the remote community of Kasabonika Lake First Nation in northern Ontario to explore local renewable energy alternatives. In addition, he has worked on feasibility studies, project management, and deployment of renewable energy projects in Canada, Mexico, Laos, and Tanzania. Also, he previously worked in the oil & gas exploration and automotive industries.


Susan Evans, M.Sc., Senior Specialist, Science Research and Innovation

Susan leads WWF-Canada’s work on climate change adaptation and resilience. She has worked in the aquatic resource management and conservation fields for over 10 years and holds a B.Sc. in Marine and Freshwater Biology, and a M.Sc. in Zoology from the University of Guelph.  Susan provides science advice to various program areas within WWF-Canada, as well as the global WWF Network, related to ensuring long-term conservation success under conditions of rapid change. As a leader in the global WWF Network on building resilience, Susan played a significant role in the development of an adaptation planning tool to identify sources of resilience across the circumarctic.  In addition, Susan has actively participated in various Government of Canada science advisory processes focused on improving land and sea-use planning policy, and was an advisor to the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy’s 5th Climate Prosperity Report: Building Business Resilience in a Changing Climate


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Monica Tennberg, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland

Monica Tennberg earned a master degree in political science at the University of Helsinki (1990). She continued her studies at the University of Lapland (a licentiate degree 1994 and a doctoral degree in social sciences in 1998). In her licentiate thesis she studied the concept of environmental security and later in her doctoral dissertation the negotiations to establish the Arctic Council (1996) and the development of relations between states and indigenous peoples in the cooperation. After the dissertation, she has studied climate change politics and adaptation in the Arctic, international environmental cooperation in Northwest Russia, indigenous peoples as international political actors and recently she has focused on politics of development in the Barents Region. She works as research professor leading the sustainable development research group and the northern political economy team at the Arctic Centre since 2004.


Michael Kingston, Partner, Marine Trade and Energy Group, DWF LLP, London, UK

Michael Kingston, from Goleen, County Cork, Ireland is a solicitor in England, Wales and the Republic of Ireland and is the current Lloyd’s List Global Maritime Lawyer of the Year for his contribution to safety of life at sea, particularly in the Polar regions in relation to risk and regulation as the Polar Code is being finalised. Michael is currently representing the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) on the IMO’s world delegation Correspondence Group in the final stages of the development of the ‘ice regime’ that will guide limitation for operation in ice. Michael also worked closely with the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat, the Swedish Government, Lloyd’s of London and leading Industry ice experts in organising a workshop on 12 March 2014 entitled ‘Bridging the Arctic marine risk gap - The need for a cross Arctic Ice Regime – linking ice conditions to ice class requirements’, following which recommendations about best practice in marine operations were made to the Arctic Council, after which an ice regime was proposed for inclusion in the Polar Code. Michael has worked closely with a number of Arctic Governments and in August 2014 he presented at NASA’s John C Stennis Space Centre in Mississippi in relation to how their satellite missions can assist in better navigation in Ice.  He has just returned from Reykjavik, Iceland where he has been helping the European Commission for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries formulate their Artic Policy. He also gave evidence to the House of Lords Arctic Committee whose report was published earlier this year.







Kevin Harun, Arctic Program Director, Pacific Environment

Since joining Pacific Environment in early 2013, Kevin Harun has quickly established his leadership in the coalition seeking to protect Arctic ecosystems from the harmful impacts of increased, unregulated shipping in the face of disappearing sea ice. Kevin has been instrumental in bringing strategic focus to member efforts, and he drives the implementation of advocacy campaigns targeting key national and international decision makers. Previously, Kevin served for seven years as the Executive Director of the Alaska Center for the Environment (ACE) and for three years as Program Officer of Forestry, Oceans and Arctic programs at the Alaska Conservation Foundation. Kevin served as state Communications Director for the Alaska Democratic Party, and he has worked successfully to elect Democratic candidates to the state legislature and U.S. Senate. He also served locally as Director of the Sustainability Department of Anchorage. Kevin co-founded an environmental organization in the Russian Far East modeled on his successful work at ACE. Kevin attended the University of Alaska at Anchorage and Fairbanks and has a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University.


Igor Shevchuk, Foreign Relations Officer, Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Science

Mr. Shevchuk graduated from the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Moscow (Russia) in 2012 and Saint-Petersburg State Marine Technical University, Saint-Petersburg (Russia) in 1993. Igor Shevchuk has longstanding experience in the research and development field as a foreign relations officer at the Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Science, Petrozavodsk (Russia). Since 2009, he has also been leading the nonprofit partnership "Centre for Problems of the North, Arctic and Cross-border Cooperation" (North-Centre) dealing with issues of sustainable territorial development, especially majoring on the cross-sector strategies and programmes. Mainly focusing on project management, Igor has been involved in a number of research initiatives with special, professional and personal research interests in strategic planning and analysis, expertise in regional development, intersectoral networking (NGO, business, authorities, etc.), Northern regions sustainable development matters and cross-border cooperation issues. 


Andreas  ØsthagenResearcher, Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies

Andreas  Østhagen is from Bodø in the Norwegian Arctic and currently works as a research fellow at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS) in Oslo. He coordinates the program "Security and Defense in Northern Europe", whilst conducting research on Arctic security and maritime issues. He has also been taking part in starting and developing The Arctic Institute, an online-based think tank for young Arctic researchers that was launched in 2011. Andreas holds a Master of Science (MSc) in European politics from London School of Economics (LSE) and a Bachelor's degree in political economy from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Before returning to Oslo, Andrea worked for three years in Brussels as an advisor and acting director at the North Norway European Office. He has also worked on Arctic security and energy issues at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C. and at the Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation in Toronto. Apart from (or maybe because of) Arctic issues, Andreas is particularly enthusiastic for mountain hiking and breathtaking views.


Alexey Tsykarev, Chair-Rapporteur, United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 

Alexey Tsykarev has gone from being a member of the youth organization Nuori Karjala (Young Karelia) to heading the International Youth Association of Finno-Ugric Peoples, which includes 50 public organizations of Russia, Finland, Hungary and Estonia. Mr. Tsykarev participated in a fellowship program on the rights of indigenous peoples in 2011 and was an indigenous intern in the Moscow office of the United Nations in 2012. He is an independent young expert possessing local, national and international experience and expertise. In March 2013, he became a member of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, an advisory body for the United Nations Human Rights Council, in 2014 appointed as the vice-chair, and in July 2015 elected as the Chair-Rapporteur of the Expert Mechanism. In August 2013, he was appointed as the representative of the Republic of Karelia to the Barents Regional Youth Council for two years term. Mr. Tsykarev is a member of the Indigenous Peoples Council under the head of the Republic of Karelia. Mr. Tsykarev's interests include indigenous international affairs, indigenous rights, youth policies, media and the environment. 


Leena Heinämäki, PhD Research Fellow, Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland. 

Leena Heinämäki works as a PhD Research Fellow in the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland. Her research focus is indigenous peoples' rights, particularly their human right to culture and related right to participate in decision-making concerning them. Heinämäki is also teaching in Arctic Law and Saami Law programmes, and acts as a vice-lead in University of Arctic Thematic Network on Arctic Law.