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International Politics student Izzy Taylor attends Arctic Futures event in Brussels

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Since 2010, the International Polar Foundation and its partners have organised a multinational, multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder conference on the Arctic. Teaching Fellow Eda Ayaydin and third-year student Izzy Taylor attended the latest conference, playing host to discussions on Arctic issues and bringing together a range of stakeholders.

Last week I was lucky enough to have been able to attend the 14th Arctic Futures event in Brussels with lead Arctic affairs researcher Eda Ayaydin. We arrived early in the morning and made a quick tour of Brussels’ historic centre before signing into the conference.

The event began with a few words from the founders of the event and then from the Secretary of State for Norway, representatives from the European Council and the head of the ICC. They briefly addressed their stances on major issues that the Arctic was facing and expressed their pleasure at the turn out for the conference.

The rest of the day consisted of several panels discussing a range of topics, starting with ‘Managing the Challenges of a Changing Arctic’ and ending on ‘Arctic Renewable Energy Powering European Green Industry’. The panellists came from a range of perspectives, some being diplomats, some scientists and researchers and some entrepreneurs.

Once panellists had responded to the moderator’s inquiries, questions were open to those in the audience, which allowed NGOS, journalists and other researchers to provoke discussion. Importantly, those that attended the conference, whether on the panel or in the audience, were from across the world, Arctic, and non-Arctic countries. This international turnout demonstrates the growing political importance that the Arctic is generating on the geopolitical scene.

Ayaydin, having attended the event several times before, was the perfect guide and helped me to connect with many experts and diplomats, some of which have since agreed to participate in my dissertation research which surround the geopolitical climate of the Arctic. This has really allowed me to engage and inspire my research, and by having such exceptional people to interview I hope will elevate the quality of my dissertation.

I returned to Paris newly inspired and feeling confident in my ability to create an effective and important piece of research.