A panel dialogue with next-generation science diplomats was convened in Reykjavik, Iceland, on 20 October 2023 at the Arctic Circle Assembly 2023 and can be view on the Science Diplomacy Center™ YouTube Channel. The goal of the ‘Arctic Science Diplomacy – The Next Generation’ session was to inspire next-generation science diplomats, helping to build common interests among allies and adversaries alike in the Arctic with global leadership across the 21st century. This transdisciplinary session involved (left to right): The goal of the ‘Arctic Science Diplomacy – The Next Generation’ session was to inspire next-generation science diplomats, helping to build common interests among allies and adversaries alike in the Arctic with global leadership across the 21st century. Four young leaders and two elders considered three questions:
- How can Arctic science diplomats facilitate dialogues between different stakeholders inclusively under current circumstances to build common interests?
- How can Arctic science diplomats implement the binding Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation with continuity and inclusion?
- How can Arctic science diplomats develop the 5th International Polar Year (IPY) in 2032- 2033 to facilitate inclusive international dialogues involving superpower adversaries in the same manner as the 3rd IPY in 1957-58 (renamed the International Geophysical Year)?
The panelists observed that both formal and informal dialogues are challenged in the Arctic, noting science diplomacy now is integrated into geopolitical thinking, limiting pathways with circumpolar dialogue to balance national interests and common interests. While cooperation with Russia on institutional level is currently impossible, personal contacts with Russian scientists (scientist-to-scientist) are important to keep dialogue channels open. The next-generation leaders further observed that science diplomacy will have long-term consequences across the Arctic and globally, noting science (natural sciences, social sciences and Indigenous knowledge) enables circumpolar stewardship beyond the capacities of nations, especially in view of Earth’s climate. Integrating research into action with hope, this panel dialogue observed the International Geophysical Year in 1957-58 (i.e., 3rd IPY) offers a profound precedent for the 5th IPY in 2032-33 to revive as well as enhance international Arctic scientific cooperation across the coming decade with implications for the future of humanity.