Calling all renewable energy enthusiasts, the Arctic Remote Energy Networks Academy (ARENA) is seeking its next set of project participants. The ARENA project is a circumpolar knowledge sharing and capacity-building program focused on isolated power systems integration. The project, which is endorsed by the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group, is held in partnership with Canada, Gwich’in Council International, the U.S. and Iceland. Now in its second iteration, ARENA 2020 is accepting applications from eligible candidates. The application deadline has been extended to 1 March 2020.

ARENA 2020 will combine visits to communities and participant knowledge exchanges with presentations and laboratory demonstrations. The program connects current and emerging energy professionals with hands-on learning experiences, mentors and project development leaders from throughout the circumpolar north. The selected participants will be provided with the necessary knowledge-base, skills and collaboration networks to develop clean energy projects in their own communities or regions with a view of effectively achieving balance between economic viability, energy security, environmental and public health concerns in the circumpolar Arctic region.

ARENA 2020 Program Schedule

Canada – 24 May to 1 June 2020:
The Canada on-site session will be based at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, with visits to community scale projects within the territory of Nunavut (Rankin & Iqaluit). The focus will be on community and Indigenous energy development, ownership and management, capacity building and the roles of governments and utilities in building success.

Alaska - July 2020:
The Alaska on-site session will be held in Fairbanks and Kodiak, with a focus on energy system integration, northern energy project management, high penetration variable renewable resources, wind energy, hydroelectric energy, energy storage, utility governance and supportive energy policy.

Iceland - November 2020:
The Iceland on-site session, based at the UNU Geothermal Training Programme, will focus on value-added and cascading uses of available energy resources. A combination of lectures and visits to various energy and business sites in Iceland will be employed.

Participant Eligibility and Application

The ARENA program is designed for those involved in community-scale renewable energy projects or initiatives. The curriculum is designed for a non-technical audience with a focus on project management, networking and knowledge sharing to catalyze power systems integration across small communities in the north. Criteria for consideration as a member of the ARENA 2020 cohort include:

  • Citizen of one of the eight Arctic States or observer nations of the Arctic Council, and/or affiliated with an Arctic Council Permanent Participant group
  • Prior knowledge of energy projects relevant in an Arctic context
  • Good English language communication skills
  • Commitment to participate in all aspects of the program and to comply with program expectations for preparation and conduct
  • Support from their employer to make available the time required to participate in all program activities
  • · Articulation of an energy project relevant to their community and region that they will commit to plan and refine over the course of the program

For more information and to apply for the program before the 1 March deadline, visit

Disney’s animated film Frozen was inspired by Saami culture, and for its sequel, Frozen 2, Walt Disney Animation Studios received consultation from a Saami working group (“Verddet”) on elements within the film that are inspired by the Indigenous people’s homelands. As a result, the film has also been dubbed into North Saami. We spoke to Christina Henriksen from the Saami Council about Saami elements in Frozen 2, how Saami culture was represented in an appropriate way, and what is means to a Saami audience to have a version of the movie in their mother tongue.
What is Saami about Frozen 2?

Without spoiling too much of the content, obviously there are a lot of elements in Frozen 2, or Jikŋon 2 as it is called in Saami, that are recognizable for a Saami audience. For me, the Saami way of thinking comes forward in parts of the movie. Some of the dresses are inspired by our traditional clothing, and the Northuldra people have similarities to Saami reindeer herders. There are many other elements that you might recognize if you are familiar with the Saami culture. Hopefully, watching Frozen 2 will make viewers curious about Saami and Indigenous peoples’ culture, and further seek knowledge.

How were you able to ensure that these elements were culturally appropriate?

One of the reasons why the Saami Council and the Saami Parliaments contacted Disney after Frozen 1, was to make sure that our culture and our history would be presented in an appropriate way. After receiving a positive response from the Walt Disney Animations Studios, we therefore established a cooperation group, which included representatives of the Saami Council and Saami Parliaments, Saami film institutions, and legal advisors. Through the cooperation between our group with Walt Disney Animation Studios, we could ensure that things were carried out on a proper way.

Was this consultation process not in place of the first part of Frozen?

Frozen 1 was inspired by Saami culture, I think we can say that. Disney representatives had travelled to Sápmi and been inspired, they had also talked to Saami people. But this time, for Frozen 2, it was the first time that there were actual negotiations, resulting in an agreement, and an organized cooperation with representatives from different parts of the Saami community and the Disney filmmakers.

What does this cooperation mean to Saami people?

The fact that the movie is dubbed into North Saami means a lot to the Saami audience especially to kids, who are now able to watch a popular movie like this in their own language. Another part of the agreement included a trainee program. We have just received 21 applications from Saami youth to become trainees in the Disney Animation Studios – this is a wonderful opportunity for our creative talents. Also the Saami film environment, including Saami synchronization, experienced growth after the cooperation. Thus, we have learned that it is possible to establish a respectful and constructive dialogue with large commercial corporations.

Do you think the movie can raise awareness about Indigenous peoples?

Yes, I think after making the movie Moana, in which Indigenous cultures of the Pacific were displayed in a contest manner, Disney may have realized that involving Indigenous peoples from the beginning might be a beneficial working method. These movies are a way of telling our stories – although they obviously are fictional. Frozen 2 is not necessarily a story from Sápmi, but through our cooperation we could ensure we were not culturally appropriated.

The Arctic Frontiers is an annual conference held in Tromsø, Norway, at the end of January. This year’s conference will focus on the theme “Power of knowledge” and takes place from 26-30 January 2020. The conference started out in 2006 assembling a global scientific summit on economic, societal and environmentally sustainable growth in the Arctic region. Arctic Frontiers has a pan-arctic perspective and builds new partnerships across nations, generations and ethnic groups. Participants from more than 35 countries joined the gathering in Tromsø in January 2019.
Located in the hometown of the Arctic Council Secretariat, the Arctic Council has an active presence at the conference, including a side event on blue bioeconomy, a movie screening of THE GRIZZLIES, and a media tour. Here is a list of Arctic Council related events during Arctic Frontiers.

A source for Arctic optimism: The Blue Bioeconomy

Date and Time: Tuesday, 28 January 2020, 16:15-17:45
The blue bioeconomy has the potential to be a major contributor to achieving sustainable development in the Arctic and beyond. The term “blue bioeconomy” refers to sustainably maximising the value and use of aquatic bioresources using innovative processing methods. It is a source for great optimism for the circumpolar region.
Today, estimates reveal that up to 43% of captured fish and shellfish resources end up either as wastage or discarded material. This means that companies are throwing away 43% of the biomass that could potentially generate substantial profits by developing methods for turning “waste” into high value products for food, feed, bio-products and bioenergy sectors. The blue bioeconomy is a kind of back to basics thinking in the sense that it revolves around making the most of available resources, and maximizing the value of and revenue from marine catches while minimizing waste and negative environmental impacts of marine operations.

The Arctic Council, its Sustainable Development Working Group and Global Affairs Canada are pleased to invite you to a screening of the movie THE GRIZZLIES, which was shown as part of this year’s Tromsø International Film Festival. The drama is based on a true story and depicts a youth lacrosse team that was set up to engage and motivate young people in the community of Kugluktuk, Nunavut – a community suffering under an epidemic of youth suicides.

The movie tackles a sensitive topic that is important for Northern communities across the Arctic – and has been an important focus area of the Arctic Council for several years under the leadership of its Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG). In cooperation with SWDG and Global Affairs Canada, the Arctic Council thus has decided to raise awareness about elevated suicide rates in the Arctic – especially amongst young people –during Arctic Frontiers.

Journalists attending the Arctic Frontiers Conference 2020 in Tromsø, Norway, are invited to an exclusive tour of the FRAM - High North Research Centre for Climate and the Environment, and a selection of the institutions located within the Fram Centre building – including the Arctic Council Secretariat, the Arctic Contaminants Action Program, and the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme. The FRAM Centre is Tromsø’s hub for polar matters and offers an interdisciplinary environment for researchers and practitioners to address some of the main challenges affecting Arctic ecosystems and communities.