The Youth Arctic Council has been in development since April of this year. Meetings take place weekly via Skype, during which we discuss Arctic issues, internal policies of the YAC, logistics for our early 2014 conference, and more. In July we launched our Facebook and Twitter accounts and website. Later that same month a YAC delegation attended a summer camp in Lofoten, Norway, organized by Natur og Ungdom, or Nature and Youth Norway.
The discussions our delegation participated in at the Norway camp quickly became crucial to shaping YAC’s identity as we move forward. Our interactions with other Canadian and international youth delegations to the camp, as well as our Partnerships Director Jenna Gall’s community feedback from Pangnirtung, NU, lead us to change our name from the Youth Arctic Council to the Youth Arctic Coalition. We feel that the word ‘coalition’ embodies collaboration between groups and individuals, and ensures that we are not confused for an official youth arm of the intergovernmental forum the Arctic Council.
Despite our name change, our original goals remain the same: It is essential to the future of the global economy and to the vitality of the Arctic and its people to take spirited action with the aim of improving quality of life and the health of the Arctic environment. Moreover, youth must play a leading role in the pursuit of positive change for the benefit of the Arctic and its people. As such, we have been reaching out to Northern youth extensively through social media and networking.
The YAC is planning an international, virtual conference for late January, 2014. It will include youth participants from all Arctic states and youth representatives of indigenous groups. Weekly YAC meetings currently serve as active, online platforms that enable young people to learn about the Arctic, in part to prepare for the 2014 conference.
Satellite meeting locations will be established across the Arctic, from which delegates will participate virtually. Holding the conference virtually across multiple time zones will minimize the environmental impact of our collective action and increase accessibility for remote and international participants. At the conference we hope to partner with other youth organizations finalize a constitution, mission statement, and declarations on Arctic issues, which we will present to the Arctic Council and the governments of Arctic states.
Youth (roughly ages 14 to 28) can choose to participate in a number of ways, from simply engaging with us on social media to participating in the weekly meetings and conference. You do not have to have visited the Arctic to join that YAC! All that is required is an interest in Arctic issues.
Visit our website or social media accounts or email Brenna at email@example.com. We hope to hear from you soon!
Brenna Owen is the current Communications Director for a new initiative called the Youth Arctic Coalition (YAC). Many of our Directors are fortunate to be united by the rare privilege of having visited the Arctic. She participated in the Students On Ice Arctic 2008 expedition, during which she developed an enduring fascination and respect for the Arctic region.