[Press release from the UArctic Læra Institute, October 16]

We are delighted to announce the launch of the UArctic Læra Institute for Circumpolar Education (Læra Institute).

Læra Institute lead partners Trent University and the University of Northern British Columbia are privileged to be joined in this initiative by the Arctic State Agrotechnological University in Russia, Nord University in Norway, and Lakehead University and Yukon University in Canada.

The word læra means learn or study in Icelandic, and the Læra Institute is dedicated to promoting best-practice teaching and learning about the Circumpolar North. Over the next two years, we will develop curriculum specifications, exemplar courses and pedagogical resources to support Circumpolar Studies teaching at UArctic member universities, whether in-person or online. We will also hold regular workshops for faculty, as well as educational symposia for students. We are enormously grateful to UiT The Arctic University of Norway, and the Norwegian Ministry for Education and Research, for the initial funding for this work.

As part of our mission, we will pay special attention to the varied perspectives on ‘circumpolarity’ that exist across the Circumpolar North, particularly indigenous perspectives. In this way, we will honour the extraordinary diversity of the circumpolar world, whilst at the same time strengthening UArctic as a borderless academic and educational community.

UArctic was founded to create educational programmes relevant and accessible to students of the North. The UArctic Circumpolar Studies programme has long fulfilled this important purpose, serving thousands of students for 18 years. The Læra Institute will revitalise and refresh this programme, transforming it from a small suite of off-the-shelf courses into a broad and flexible curriculum that can be easily adapted to local educational contexts.

We regret that, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will be unable to introduce our new initiative to UArctic members this autumn as originally planned. Instead, we look forward to doing so at the third UArctic Congress in Reykjavík, Iceland, 17-19 May 2021. Please join us there to learn about our work, and to express your institution’s interest to get involved.

For more information, please contact:

Dr Anthony Speca, Managing Director