Launching the University of the Arctic: from ideas to action. Report to the Senior Arctic Officials of the Arctic Council. Rovaniemi June 13, 2001.

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University of the Arctic
The emergence of the University of the Arctic – a collaborative effort of universities and colleges and other organisations in the Circumpolar World concerned with higher education and research and strongly supported by the governments of the Arctic Council member states – reflects the increasing internationalization of higher education on the one hand and the recognition of the integrity of the circumpolar region on the other. There are many examples of successful internationalization efforts that build on the existing strengths of academic institutions to meet specific needs. However, the University of the Arctic is unique in extending international collaboration to new levels: it integrates political and environmental interests in an institutionalized higher education framework that makes post-secondary education more accessible and relevant to this highly dispersed and diverse region. This report to the Senior Arctic Officials of the Arctic Council is being written at the time when the University of the Arctic – with its governance, administrative and programmatic structures now in place – is busily planning for the Launch of the University of the Arctic which takes place in Rovaniemi, Finland, on June 12, 2001. The fact that the Launch is being organised in Rovaniemi in conjunction with the first Senior Arctic Officials meeting under Finland’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council and the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Rovaniemi Process and its Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy is not accidental. Both the Arctic Council and the Rovaniemi Process have laid the groundwork for much of the Arctic cooperation that is flourishing today. Importantly, the idea of a decentralized, circumpolar institution was first conceived in the context of the Arctic Council and one of its key working groups, AMAP—itself an important part of the Rovaniemi Process. The University of the Arctic, with its Launch, also wants to celebrate its roots and major champions.