At the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska in May of 2017, the National Geographic Society was one of seven new Observers admitted by Ministers. Get to know the Society and its Arctic connections below.

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Give us a brief introduction to the National Geographic Society, and tell us a bit about its connection to the Arctic.

The National Geographic Society is the largest exploration, research, education and conservation non-profit organization in the world. It was founded in 1888 with the goal of increasing and diffusing geographic knowledge. The National Geographic Society of the 21st century continues its tradition of exploration but also focuses on inspiring people to care and act for a healthy planet.

The Society has been a part of Arctic exploration and science since before people reached the North Pole. Nansen and Peary, among other explorers, came to our headquarters to report on their findings. Since then, we have supported dozens of projects in the region. Today, our Pristine Seas project is working in Russia, Greenland, and Canada, to help protect some of the places with more ecological importance.

Why is Observer status an important component of the Arctic “profile” of the National Geographic Society?

The Arctic Council is the world's most important venue to discuss and tackle the great challenges that face the high north. Given our long-standing tradition of working in the Arctic and our goal of protecting its most vital areas, we believe it is critical to engage in the dialogue. Being an observer at the Arctic Council is essential for the National Geographic Society to be more effective in our Arctic mission.

As you look ahead, what specific ways do you hope to contribute to the work of the Arctic Council?

We look forward to contributing in the way that we have in the past: through exploration and research. We also plan to use our storytelling capacity to showcase the importance of the Arctic and its native peoples, to highlight the changes that are occurring in its environment and in the livelihoods of local populations, and to draw attention to the critical work of the Arctic Council.

(Thanks to Dan Myers, International Policy Manager, Pristine Seas, for providing the responses above.)

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Resources and references (Click any link below)

National Geographic website
Arctic Council backgrounder

Finnish Chairmanship information
Images for media use
The Arctic Council on Facebook
The Arctic Council on Twitter
The Arctic Council Working Groups: ACAP, AMAP, CAFF, EPPR, PAME and SDWG.