The main Arctic event of Finland’s centenary will start in Rovaniemi

8.11.2017 12:45

The international Rovaniemi Arctic Spirit Conference takes place in Rovaniemi next week. This is the most important Arctic event of Finland’s centenary year, and it is closely linked to Finland’s chairmanship in the Arctic Council.

The Rovaniemi Arctic Spirit on November 14-16 will discuss how to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the Arctic. The conference addresses this issue through education, the well-being of young people, the identity of citizens and land use, among other things. The participants will also reflect how to make better use of research in Arctic decision-making and to intensify the regional cooperation at the level of cities.

- We focus on the themes that are important to Finland during the Arctic Council Chairmanship. We also want to dig up fresh ideas and topics that are not usually discussed at Arctic meetings in the world, such as the role of the media or the Arctic identity, says the Conference Director Markku Heikkilä of the Arctic Centre.

Approximately 300 participants from more than 20 countries will attend the conference. The official program will open on November 15 with the speech by Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini. The United Nations is represented at the opening ceremony by the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Olga Algayerova. The EU’s new Ambassador to the Arctic, Marie-Anne Coninsx, Ambassador for the Arctic and Antarctic Poles of France, Ségoléne Royal, and a large number of diplomats and Arctic experts from different countries will also participate.

The Rovaniemi Arctic Spirit conference is organized by the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland and the City of Rovaniemi.

- We are delighted to be organizing the most significant Arctic event in the centenary of Finland's independence in Rovaniemi, where the Arctic co-operation took its first steps almost 30 years ago. With this conference that we are organizing for the third time we continue and maintain the tradition of the so-called Rovaniemi process, says the Mayor of Rovaniemi Esko Lotvonen.

Free side events for the locals throughout the week

In addition to the official conference program, Rovaniemi also organizes an open program for the residents of the city. The week will open on Monday, November 13 at 15.00 hours with an Arctic Café, a discussion of Arctic summer tourism at the Arktikum Library. On Monday, the program will continue at 18.00 hours in Hostel Café Koti with a Youth Forum organized by the students of Lapland University of Applied Sciences, where the theme of discussion is how to get the young people to stay in the north.

On Wednesday, November 15, the Arctic Expo, an exposition on Finland’s Arctic expertise will open for the public in Arktikum. A book on writings on the life’s work of artist Nils-Aslak Valkeapää Minä soin – Mun čuojan will be launched at the Rovaniemi City Library on November 15 at 12.00 hours.

The conference also brings other important events to the city. On November 13-14, the 10th Polar Law Symposium will bring legal scholars from around the world to Rovaniemi. During the conference, also university rectors and mayors from the Nordic countries and Finland’s Arctic Advisory Board will have their meetings in Rovaniemi.

You can find the full program of the conference at On Twitter you can follow the discussion with the keyword #ArcticSpirit.


Twitter: @TheArcticSpirit #ArcticSpirit

Conference Director,
Markku Heikkilä, Head of Science Communications, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland
markku.heikkila(at), 040 484 4300

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