A little bit later, I have had the privilege to witness the revival of Oulu and the North. Oulu ICT, northern mining and cellulose industries are all recovering quickly. Tourism in Lapland is flourishing and, in Finland, the North is now more important than ever before.

As the University of Oulu prepares to host the UArctic Congress 2018 in early September, I am particularly happy to work for the development and living conditions of the North. The University of Oulu facilitates a wide range of research concerning Arctic issues, with an emphasis on sustainable use of natural resources. We focus on sustainable mining and production technologies, technologies for extreme conditions, long-distance communications, Arctic logistics, atmospheric chemistry, change in the Arctic environment, health in the North, and Sámi language and culture. The Thule Institute at the University of Oulu coordinates the Thematic Networks and research cooperation of UArctic.

Our slogan, 'Science with Arctic Attitude', refers to our location as the capital of Northern Scandinavia. Our multidisciplinary university is the perfect base-camp from which to take off and explore the northern corners of the world.

It delights me that the hundreds of Congress guests get to see our beautiful home city of Oulu in such a beautiful season, when summer turns into autumn. With just over 200 000 inhabitants, Oulu is now the 5th largest city in Finland and the second largest outside of the Helsinki area. The official and scientific program of the UArctic Congress will be lightened by a row down the Oulu River and a Venetian Night garden party.

Themes of 'shared voices' and ‘good life in the Arctic’ are personally important to me. People have a right to build sustainable living; we cannot force people to move into big cities or from north to south. The Arctic is not only a source for raw materials, a logistic route or a tourist destination - it is considered home for a great number of people. In fact, 4 million people live within the Arctic Circle and up to 10 million people within the Arctic region.

I warmly welcome you to join scholars, students and other Congress delegates in Oulu and Helsinki in September! I also encourage you to follow along on social media under the hashtag #uarcticcongress2018 – always remembering #arcticattitude.

Jouko Niinimäki
Rector, University of Oulu

Read more about our research:
Jeffrey M. Welker: The Inaugural UArctic Chair
Jeffrey M. Welker on video: Arctic research helps us to understand the future of the globe
Arja Rautio: The Earth’s rotation pushes poisons to the North
Thule Institute at the University of Oulu