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Fulbright International Arctic Seminar: Report

The Fulbright Program in Russia convened the International Arctic Seminar (IAS) on March 19th and 20th, 2021. The IAS was conceptualized as a project by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, designed and organized by the Fulbright Program in Russia, and hosted by the Institute of International Education in Moscow. The two-day seminar, which used Zoom as its communication technology, focused on ecological, social, economic, and political development in the Arctic. The main goal of the Fulbright IAS was to share research among scholars, provide information to audiences interested in the Arctic, and provide a forum for discussion to enhance international scientific and educational projects. 

The IAS also showcased the 75th Anniversary celebration of the Fulbright Program global campaign. The working language of the Seminar was English. Roundtables were hosted by Dr. Joel Ericson, Director of the Fulbright Program in Russia, and Ksenia Shomnikova, Fulbright Alumni Coordinator. As members of the Organizing Committee, Fulbright alumni Elena Grigorieva (Visiting Scholar, 2011-12), Mikhail Bochkarev (Visiting Scholar, 2012-13) and Anton Komarov (Visiting Researcher, 2019-20) played key roles by sharing their ideas and perspectives at the IAS’s conceptualization and implementation stages. 

The Fulbright IAS consolidated Arctic research across a great span of scholars, nations, and geographic scope: 21 reports were presented at the panels by speakers from Russia, the United States, Canada, India, and the United Kingdom while spanning over 8 time zones. Clearly this accomplishment would not have been possible without internet technology to build a strong network of interested contributors and bring them together through the digital medium to provide an intense, interactive, and intellectually robust event with lasting value.

The main items discussed during the Seminar at the panels were:

  • Economics and Politics of Arctic Resource Distribution

  • Climate Change, Ecology, and the Arctic Environment

  • Social Development and Human Health in the Arctic Environment 

Panel 1: Economics & Politics of Arctic Resource Distribution featured these reports and speakers:

-       “Sustainable Development in Yakutia: Economic, Environmental and Innovative Aspects” by Anisiia Lazareva, North-Eastern Federal University, Yakutsk.

-       “Role of the Spatial-Temporal Heterogeneity in the Economic Development of Russian Northern and Siberian Resource Regions” by Anastasia Myadzelets, the Sochava Institute of Geography, Siberian Branch the Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk.

-       “Fuel and Energy Complex: Economic Benefits vs. Conservation of the Arctic Environment” by Tatiana Burmenko, Siberian Federal University, Krasnoyarsk.

-       “Russia and Economic Development of the Arctic Frontier” by Alexander Petrov, Institute of World History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow and Vladimir Kostornichenko, Moscow State Linguistic University.

-       “Svalbard: An Archipelago of Cooperation or Competition?” by Alena Zyuzina, Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow.


Panel 2: Climate Change, Ecology & the Arctic Environment featured the following reports and speakers:

-       “Rising Temperatures, Rising Risks: Ecological Dynamics Across the Arctic” by Yulia Dzis, Siberian Federal University, Krasnoyarsk.

-       “Soil Emission During the Summer Season in Siberian Boreal Forests” by Anastasia Makhnykina, Siberian Federal University, Krasnoyarsk.

-       “Multi-scale Arctic Ocean Dynamics from High-resolution Satellite Observations” by Igor Kozlov, Russian State Hydrometeorological University, St. Petersburg.

-       “A Review of the Recent Changes in the Arctic and Their Impact on Midlatitudes” by Kabir Rasouli, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. 


Panel 3: Social Development & Human Health in the Arctic Environment included the following reports and speakers:

-       “Bioclimate and Human Health in the Russian Arctic Zone” by Elena Grigorieva, Institute for Complex Analysis of Regional Problems, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Birobidzhan.         

-       “Thawing Heritage: How Permafrost Degradation Affects the Bering Strait Coastal Communities” by Alexey Maslakov, Lomonosov Moscow State University.

-       “Seasonal Changes in Melatonin and Cortisol Levels and Sleep Parameters of Primary Schoolchildren in the European part of the Arctic Territory of the Russian Federation” by Sergey Kolomeychuk, Institute of Biology, Karelian Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Petrozavodsk.

-       “In Search of the Best Work Schedule During the COVID-19 Pandemic: How to Improve Health and Mood in the Arctic” by Mikhail Bochkarev, Almazov National Medical Research Center, St. Petersburg.

Panel 4: Climate Change, Ecology & the Arctic Environment (Cryospheric Science) featured the following reports and speakers:

-       “Micromorphological Analysis of Cryolithogenetic Sediment in Arctic and Subarctic Regions” by Anna Kut, Melnikov Permafrost Institute, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yakutsk.

-       “Global Warming and Ice Melting in the Arctic: From the Phenomena to Legal Implications” by Sakshi Mankotia, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi.

-       “Snow Cover Studies at Lomonosov Moscow State University” (prepared by Denis Frolov, Lomonosov Moscow State University) & “Variability of the Snow Cover Due to Local Factors” by Anton Komarov, Lomonosov Moscow State University.

-       “Basics of the Standardized Methodology for Monitoring of Cryogenic Processes in the Arctic Regions of Russia” by Vasily Tolmanov, Lomonosov Moscow State University.

-       “Snow Avalanches and Their Impact on the Infrastructure in the Arctic Zone of Russia” by Alla Turchaninova, Lomonosov Moscow State University.

-       “The Permafrost Carbon Feedback: Implications for the Paris Accord and Carbon Budget of the 21st Century” by Nicholas Hasson, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

-       “Global Permafrost Data Gaps: Impacts to International Collaboration and National Security” by Klaus Dodds, Royal Holloway, University of London (joint report in collaboration with Ekaterina Uryupova, The Arctic Institute, Washington DC; Alec Bennet, University of Alaska Fairbanks; Troy Bouffard, University of Alaska Fairbanks; Dmitriy Streletskiy, George Washington University; Vladimir Romanovsky, University of Alaska Fairbanks).

Recordings of the Seminar panels in Zoom are available on IIE Official Youtube channel.

The organizers hope that the IAS established new scientific contacts between participating scholars and specialists, strengthened existing cooperation in the field of Arctic development, and contributed to international collaborative research on improving quality of life, advancing international cooperation, and supporting environmental sustainability in the Arctic region.

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The 75th Anniversary Year celebration of the Fulbright Program began January 1, 2021 and will highlight the impressive accomplishments and legacy of the program and its alumni over its first 75 years, both in the United States and around the world. The campaign will spotlight the relevant and impactful work of Fulbrighters and recent alumni, with the goal of inspiring the next generation of Fulbright participants and promoting a positive vision for the program’s future. Accordingly, the 75th anniversary campaign is heavily focused on engaging with and showcasing Fulbright alumni. 

A dedicated 75th anniversary website (www.fulbright75.org) was launched to showcase anniversary events and facilitate ongoing engagement. This site will house alumni stories, a calendar of anniversary events and activities, and many other digital elements.