She was the only student representative from Canada. The Arctic Academy was sponsored by The Korean Maritime Institute and it was designed to allow student representatives from the world’s circumpolar nations to gather and discuss Arctic issues.
Twelve international students from the Russian Federation, The United States, Finland, Sweden, Greenland, and Canada presented to an international panel of marine and Arctic experts on issues that were important in their home communities.
The message was clear- the Arctic may be “the last frontier”, but it is not empty. Individuals, families, communities and entire peoples live and thrive in the North. Valerie’s presentation focused on the cost of living and pursuing higher education in Iqaluit, Nunavut. For her speech, she won the “Most Impressive Presentation” award along with a cash prize.
South Korea, as an observer nation in the Arctic Council, has a vested interest in circumpolar environmental and economic issues.
The South Korean shipping industry and the Arctic’s reliance on shipping vessels for everything from building supplies to fuel make it so that we share some common interests. As the advances in technology and the environmental changes in the sea ice allow for new shipping routes to be explored, it is imperative that Arctic people are part of the bigger discussion.
Valerie is honoured to have been invited to participate in the first Arctic Academy and hopes to inspire others to have their voices heard on Arctic issues that impact us all.