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2018 Speakers


Dr. Danita Catherine Burke
Center for War Studies, Department of Political Science and Public Management, University of Southern Denmark
Danita Catherine Burke is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellow based at the Center for War Studies, Department of Political Science and Public Management, University of Southern Denmark (SDU). Dr. Burke was previously a Carlsberg Foundation Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-2018) based at SDU. She received her PhD in International Politics from the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University in 2016 and her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Political Science from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her research focus areas include international politics, Arctic politics, diplomacy, non-governmental organizations, and national identity.



Bernhard Diekmann
Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) 

Bernhard Diekmann is head of the Research Unit Potsdam of the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and is adjunct Professor for Quaternary Geology at the University of Potsdam. He provides a long-term experience as geologist. For his doctoral thesis, he investigated earth history in the European Alps and in East Africa. As senior researcher, he deals with past environmental changes in Siberia, Central Asia, and in the polar oceans. Outreach activities to public audience are devoted to the vulnerability of the polar regions to modern climate change.



Dr. Yekaterina (Katia) Kontar
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

Dr. Yekaterina (Katia) Kontar is a postdoctoral scholar at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. Her research focuses on science diplomacy with an emphasis on disaster resilience in the Arctic. Katia joined the Fletcher School and from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she received her doctoral degree in Science Communication and Policy. The focus of Katia’s graduate research was disaster risk reduction in rural Arctic communities. A key accomplishment of her research was a facilitation of a dialogue among stakeholders — tribal and civil leaders of flood-prone communities, federal and university scientists, and representatives from federal agencies — responsible for flood management involved in flood management in both regions. Katia has published multiple peer-reviewed articles, and two interdisciplinary Springer monographs. Her professional background is in science communication and outreach.


John Crump
Senior Science Writer, GRID-Arendal
I’ve lived and worked in the north for many years as Manager of Government Relations for the Nunavut Planning Commission, Executive Director of the Canadian Arctic Resources Committee and Executive Secretary of the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat in Copenhagen. As Senior Science Writer at GRID-Arendal, I work with colleagues to develop innovative ways to communicate new knowledge to policy makers and the general public. I’m also a member of the Polar team which provides strategic advice and information to UN Environment on the rapid changes taking place at the poles and the implications this has for the rest of the planet.
Roman Sidortsov
Assistant Professor, Energy Policy, Michigan Tech
Dr. Roman Sidortsov, J.D. LL.M currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Energy Policy at Michigan Technological University. He holds a Ph.D degree in Polar Studies/Geography, from Cambridge University, J.D. (magna cum laude) & LL.M in Environmental Law (summa cum laude) degrees from Vermont Law School, and Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Law (highest honors) from Irkutsk State University. J.D. Prior to his appointment Dr. Sidortsov taught energy law and policy courses in Vermont Law School’s summer and distance learning programs while serving as the Senior Global Energy Fellow. His research focuses on international and comparative energy law and policy with a special emphasis on the Russian Federation and the United States, energy security and justice, risk governance in the energy sector, and Arctic energy development. He authored and co-authored over 20 refereed articles, chapters, and books. Dr. Sidortsov also serves an associate editor for Energy Research and Social Science. 
Jocelyn Joe-Strack
Member, Champagne and Aishihik First Nation and Vanier Scholar, University of Saskatchewan
Jocelyn Joe-Strack is a member of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation located in the Yukon Territory of northwestern Canada.  She was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon and lives there today. Jocelyn holds a BSc in biochemistry and microbiology and MSc in Geography.  Her Master’s investigated the role of bacteria in cycling atmospherically transferred mercury in the sediments of a subarctic Yukon Lake.  Her PhD work with the University of Saskatchewan is conjunction with her role as a consultant to develop a Settlement Land Use Plan with her First Nation. From this experience, Jocelyn intends to contribute to advancements in value-driven decision-making, Indigenous-led reconciliation and intergeneration leadership in self-determination.
Grant Sullivan
Grant Sullivan
Executive Director, Gwich'in Council International
Grant is a recognized policy leader in clean energy sector with years of experience in both the private and public sectors. Born and raised in Inuvik and currently residing in Whitehorse, Grant holds a Bachelor of Management with a Minor in Finance from the University of Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada). He currently is the Executive Director of Gwich’in Council International and has been active with the Gwich’in Settlement Corporation, Nihtat Gwich’in Development Board, Gwich’in/Imperial Oil Access and Benefit Negotiations for the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline.
Andreas Østhagen
Fridtjof Nansen Institute
Andreas Østhagen is a Research Fellow at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Oslo, Norway (2017- ). He is additionally a PhD-candidate at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver (2015- ), and a Senior Fellow and Leadership Group member at The Arctic Institute. He is also an affiliated fellow at the High North Center at Nord University Business School (2014- ). Previously, Andreas worked for the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS) in Oslo (2014-2017), and at the North Norway European Office in Brussels (2010-2014). He has also had shorter work-stints at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C. (2011), and the Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation in Toronto, Canada (2013).
Heather Exner-Pirot
Managing Editor, Arctic Yearbook
Heather Exner-Pirot is the Managing Editor of the Arctic Yearbook.  She is a member of the Board of Advisors for The Arctic Institute, an Editorial Board member with the Canadian Journal of Foreign Policy, a Board member with the Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network, and an online commentator for Radio Canada’s Eye on the Arctic.  She earned her PhD at the University of Calgary in 2011 and has held positions with the University of Arctic and the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development. She is currently a Strategist for Outreach and Indigenous Engagement at the University of Saskatchewan.
Monica Tennberg
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.


Alexey Tsykarev
Member, 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.

Jannie Staffansson
Advisor, The Arctic Environmental Unit, Sami Raddi/Saami Council

Jannie was born in a big reindeer herding family in the southern most part of Sápmi. She graduated with a degree in environmental chemistry from the University of Gothenburg and is currently writing her Master's thesis on organic chemistry. Since 2013, she has been working for the Saami Council within the Arctic Council working group AMAP (Arctic monitoring and assessment programme) as well as on other Arctic Council related issues. In 2015, she was elected to be on the Arctic Focal Point within the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change and worked in the technical team within IIPFCC, where she mobilized and negotiated as part of the UNFCCC meetings and finally during COP21 in Paris. Since  2016, she has served as the Indigenous representative on the Arctic Science Summit Steering Committee.l Studies.


Victoria Herrmann
President and Managing Director, The Arctic Institute

Victoria Herrmann is the President and Managing Director of The Arctic Institute. In addition to managing the Institute and Board of Directors, her research and writing focus on climate change, community adaptation, human development, and resource economies, with a particular focus on Arctic oil and gas. She is a Gates Scholar at the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge, where she is pursuing a PhD in Political Geography of the Arctic. In 2016, Victoria is traveling across the United States for a National Geographic funded book on climate change stories, America’s Eroding Edges.