Field Seminar: Svalbard

Fletcher’s Maritime Studies Program in cooperation with the Institute for Global Maritime Studies, a non-profit research organization, is conducting a seminar on Arctic shipping to be held in Oslo and Spitzbergen August 14-26, 2013. Professor John Curtis Perry will lead seven Fletcher students and graduates taking part. The senior graduate is Ambassador (Ret.) Walter L. Cutler F56. Following the pattern of other overseas seminars that he has directed, Perry’s objective is to mix the ages and experience of the participants thus enriching the intellectual mix. Each one will pursue his/her special interest and make a presentation relevant to the overall Arctic theme.

The principal seminar site is the University Center of Svalbard (UNIS) located in the High Arctic, 700 miles south of the North Pole, the world’s northernmost center of academic activity. UNIS is dedicated to the study of Arctic science; the Fletcher presence this year represents a new extension of the Norwegian program into the social sciences and humanities.

Following three days of briefings in Oslo organized by the Norwegian North Atlantic Council and financed by the Ministry of Defense, the Fletcher group will take a three hour flight north to the Svalbard archipelago and engage with 23 members of the UNIS program representing more than half a dozen nations.

At a time of rapidly accelerating change in “the world’s newest ocean,”
our study would seem to be opportune, giving us non-Arctic specialists an introduction to problems the region faces, some pertaining to the entire globe.

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