Antarctica Day 2023

1 December 2023

There is historic relevance of Antarctica Day – on December 1st as a day of “peace for all mankind”originating on the fiftieeth anniversary of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty that was signed with the United States and Soviet Union among ten other nations at the height of the Cold War as the first nuclear arms agreement. 

What enabled these superpower adversaries to cooperate in Antarctica and Outer Space throughout the Cold War, despite their conflicts elsewhere?  This is a core question with science diplomacy that Prof. Paul Arthur Berkman began to ask himself in 1981, while on a winter-over SCUBA research expedition in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, with Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the age of 22. 

The following year, passion and a sense of global responsibility with perspectives from Antarctica enabled him to teach “Antarctic Marine Ecology and Ocean Policy” as a Visiting Professor at the University of California Los Angeles.  

In a contemporary context, we are now engaged in new period of restrained conflict when dialogues are excluded among nations.  With heightened relevance once again, Antarctica Day is an of exemplar for humanity, revealing foreverlessons of great powers balancing national interests and common interests for the benefit of all on Earth across generations. 

International science clearly is part of the answer, considering the 1959 Antarctic Treaty emerged directly from the International Geophysical Year (IGY) in 1957-58.  The IGY, which had been renamed from the 3rd International Polar Year (IPY), also was a key step in the longest continuous climate research program that humankind has created. 

The IPY process started in 1882-83 to address “weather” during a solar maximum of sunspot activity, following the Little Ice Age that had diminished economies, health and productivity across Europe for centuries prior to 1850.  Nations recognized nearly 150 years ago that the Sun is the primary external force behind the climate dynamics of Earth (as with all planets that have atmospheres in our solar system). 

The 5th IPY is now being planned for 2032-33, far enough into the future to be away from the emotion of current geopolitics but close enough to stimulate informed decisionmaking with sustainability and hope,  possibly producing transformational global synergies as happened with the IGY. 

Antarctica Day also is timely, considering nations are meeting in Dubai this week for the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP) to continue implementing the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with “common concern of humankind”This journey of humanity to operate together on a planetary scale has been evolving from the 1945 Charter of the United Nations after the Second World War, notably into “matters of common interest” that enabled Cold War dialogues among allies and adversaries alike with the 1959 Antarctic Treaty onward across generations.

Antarctica Day celebrates next-generation leaders (Figure)!!

CELEBRATING ANTARCTICA! is a book written by 4th graders, illustrated by children from 30 nations and translated into 23 languages (CLICK ON THE FIGURE to access the interactive collage for free download with your language choice). This book was created under the auspices of the Foundation for the Good Governance of International Spaces, which initiated Antarctica Day in 2010, following the Antarctic Treaty Summit 2009 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty.

History of Antarctica Day on December 1ST

International Spaces Promote Peace (Paul Arthur Berkman)

Reflecting on the lasting legacy and lessons of the Antarctic Treaty during its first fifty years, 1 December deserves to be celebrated as a day of “peace for all mankind”.

Antarctic Treaty Summit 2009 (30 November – 2 December 2009)

Recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the Antarctic Treaty (United States Congressional Resolution Adopted with Unanimous Consent)

Foundation for the Good Governance of International Spaces (2010)

References to Antarctica Day on December 1st (incomplete)

Anyday Guide

Ara Library

Arctic Research Consortium of the United States

Art Station

Artsy Crafty Mom

Association of Polar Early Career Scientists

Australian Antarctic Program

Bing Wallpaper (December 1st 2023)

British Antarctic Survey

Bulgarian News Agency

Colins Dictionary Language Blog

Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources

Day Finders

EGU Blogs


Fram Museum

Global Dimension


International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators

International Days

International Polar Foundation

International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration

John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding

Malaysia – National Activities

Merco Press

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine

National Center for Polar and Ocean Research

National Day Calendar

National Science Foundation

New Hampshire Public Broadcasting System

North Carolina State University

Observer Voice

Picture Books

Polar Latitudes

Polar Tours

Polar Trek

Princess Elisabeth Station

Sailors for the Sea

Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research

Scott Polar Research Institute

South African National Antarctic Program

True South Flag

UK Polar Network

University of Michigan

University of Minnesota

University of Tasmania