Largest Canadian delegation attends annual Arctic Circle Assembly

Iceland forum seen as opportunity for Arctic and non-Arctic countries to build stronger relationships with Inuit

Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada president Lisa Koperqualuk, seen in this 2019 file photo, said the annual Arctic Circle Assembly is an opportunity for Inuit organizations, including her own, to see where they can forge partnerships and play a stronger role. (File photo by Lisa Gregoire)

By Meral Jamal

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon, seen speaking in Ottawa last November, is attending the 2022 Arctic Circle Assembly in Iceland from Oct. 13 to 17. She said the forum is particularly important in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year and its impact on cooperation in the Arctic since. (File photo by Jeff Pelletier)

The largest-ever Canadian delegation is attending this year’s annual Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland from Oct. 13 to 17.

Among Canada’s 115 delegates are Inuit leaders such as Gov. Gen. Mary Simon, Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada president Lisa Koperqualuk and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki Kotierk.

Simon, who gave a speech during Thursday’s opening session, said the gathering of Arctic nations will help address critical issues in the region, including the impacts of climate change, the autonomy of Indigenous peoples — especially Inuit— sustainable development, defence and preservation.

She said this is particularly important in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year and its impact on co-operation in the Arctic since. 

“Unfortunately, Russia’s unethical and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine has impacted global co-operation, halting a number of collaborative projects in the Arctic,” Simon said. “But above all, our priority needs to be the Ukrainian people, whose lives have been shattered.” 

“It’s never too late to hope for peace, to work towards an end to the conflict,” she added. “In the Arctic, there is no doubt that there are challenges. Yet, there are also opportunities ahead.”

ICC Canada president Lisa Koperqualuk, who is leading a panel discussion on building alliances through the International Maritime Organization, said the forum is an important meeting space, especially for non-Arctic nations who are increasingly interested in research and economic opportunities presented by the region. 

The assembly is an opportunity for both Arctic and non-Arctic nations to build stronger relationships with Inuit and those living in the region, she said.

“There are a lot of players that are so interested in the Arctic right now and they need to hear from us as inhabitants of the Arctic,” Koperqualuk said.

Koperqualuk also said the assembly is an opportunity for Inuit organizations such as ICC Canada to see where they can forge partnerships and play a stronger role. 

“It’s really important for the Inuit Circumpolar Council to see what’s going on as well in the economic world where there are strong interests in growing or developing resources, possibly energy or resource development,” she added.

“There are those with similar interests to us that we would like to meet and see how we can develop collaborative partnerships.” 

The Arctic Circle Assembly is the largest annual international gathering on the Arctic, attended by more than 2,000 participants from more than 60 countries each year. It was started in 2013 and is held every October in Iceland.

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Opportunity knocks on

    Largest delegation ever? Or course it is, Iceland is beautiful

  2. Posted by Colin on

    The homeless and unemployed marginalized may weep as the elites squander millions upon millions of dollars travelling business class and staying in five-star hotels to attend conferences to discuss their plight.

    • Posted by Fox in Socks on

      It would be interesting to know what tangible work the ICC, or any of the six ‘permanent participant’ groups accomplishes at these meetings. Clearly this is an opportunity for them to network. Still, I suspect that beneath the rhetoric (ascending in an inverse correlation to actual work done) this is a club of the connected and privileged enjoying an opportunity to hobnob and celebrate their shared status.

    • Posted by Inuk from Nunavik on

      How , do i become one of these jetsetter inuks, I would love to travel on someone elses dime.

  3. Posted by Blushed on


  4. Posted by Northern Guy on

    I see that many orgs have wasted little time in jumping back on the international conference junket. Let’s hope that they are putting taxpayer money to good use but somehow, I doubt it.

  5. Posted by NBK on

    Useless….. Aluki you were useless as Deputy Minister with the GN that is why you dropped out, now you are useless as President. Travel to France now Iceland, next Hawaii to visit the indigenous?


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