"To make real global impact requires a genuine dialogue between researchers and other stakeholders, and the UArctic Congress 2018 has been a fantastic forum for this,” says University of Helsinki Rector Jari Niemelä.

Hosted by the University of Oulu and the University of Helsinki, the UArctic Congress 2018 is the largest event ever organized by the University of the Arctic (UArctic), with over 600 participants from more than 30 countries, a range of high-level keynote plenaries and nearly 50 science sessions with over 250 presenters. Organized every other year in the chair country of the Arctic Council, the UArctic Congress brings together key UArctic meetings and a full science conference into a single event, alongside a variety of side-events, and an engaging social and cultural program.

The Congress was organized by the two hosts institutions, together with the University of Lapland, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Sami Education Institute, Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE), Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, City of Oulu, and Business Oulu.

UArctic Congress 2018 is an integral part of Finland’s Arctic Council chairmanship program, highlighting the themes of Environmental Protection, Connectivity, Meteorological Cooperation, and Education, as well as the goals of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, supporting gender equality, and the Paris Agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Chair of the Council of UArctic Liisa Holmberg remarks, "The Congress is an important forum for leaders of the Arctic states to exchange ideas with the region’s academic leadership and research community. We are very grateful to the Prime Minister for attending, and to the government of Finland for supporting our meetings."

Beginning in Oulu at the start of the week, the event began with meetings of UArctic’s key bodies (Council, rectors, Thematic Networks and Institutes). The Congress opening on Tuesday drew the world’s attention with speeches by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä of Finland, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, and Aleksi Härkönen, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials of the Arctic Council.

The business of the Council of UArctic included welcoming twenty new members from both Arctic and non-Arctic countries, bringing the total membership of the network above 200 for the first time in its history. In addition, the Council approved five new UArctic Thematic Networks, bringing the total number of networks to 47.

UArctic Congress Declaration was endorsed by all bodies of UArctic, highlighting our common vision of moving "Towards an Empowered North – with Shared Voices."

In keeping with the decision to align UArctic Congress events with the chair country of the Arctic Council, UArctic Congress 2020 will take place in Iceland from Aug 31-September 4, 2020. The next UArctic meetings will take place in 2019 with the Rectors’ Forum at Trent University in Canada, and the Council meeting at Stockholm University, Sweden.

For a full set of news highlights from the UArctic Congress, see the UArctic website and #UArcticCongress2018 on social media.

University of Oulu Rector Jouko Niinimäki concluded, "It is great to see the Arctic network growing. Global challenges can only be solved together." The organizers thank all of the participants for making this largest-ever UArctic event a major success!

The University of the Arctic (UArctic) is a cooperative network of universities, colleges, research institutes and other organizations concerned with education and research in and about the North. UArctic builds and strengthens collective resources and collaborative infrastructure that enables member institutions to better serve their constituents and their regions. Through cooperation in education, research and outreach we enhance human capacity in the North, promote viable communities and sustainable economies, and forge global partnerships.