First Norwegian President of International Arctic Organization

Climate scientists and anthropologist Grete Hovelsrud was Sunday elected president of the International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA). (Photo: Private)
Climate scientist Grete Hovelsrud was Sunday elected president of the international research organization IASSA. Now, the organization comes to Bodø and Norway for the first time ever.

Climate scientists and anthropologist Grete Hovelsrud was Sunday elected president of the International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA). (Photo: Private)

The election was organized at the annual ICASS conference, which this year was delivered digitally by IASSA in Arkhangelsk, Russia.

The newly elected organization president argues that this will be good for Bodø and for Norway.

“Our motto is ‘From visibility to leadership’. We are to take the lead in how social sciences in the Arctic are formed, included, and funded. We are to work extensively on indigenous people’s issues and co-production of knowledge. We will increase participation from humanities and the arts, and we will place Bodø and Norway on the map as a hub for social sciences in the Arctic and the High North. This will be a brilliant collaboration between Nordland Research Institute and Nord University”, Hovelsrud says to High North News.

Head of Research Brigt Dale and researcher Julia Olsen of Nordland Research Institute constitute the local IASSA team along with Senior Advisor on Research and Development at Nord University, Tina Bringslimark.

“This is an excellent team”, Hovelsrud says.

We are to take the lead in how social sciences in the Arctic are formed, included, and funded.

She lists seven focus areas that will be the main areas of initiative for her presidency of IASSA:

  • International cooperation and networking
  • Intercommunication within the organization and its network
  • Recruiting and education Arctic social scientists
  • Increased focus on humanities and the arts
  • Cooperation about funding to improve the framework conditions for social science issues
  • Including indigenous people in research projects
  • De-colonizing knowledge

Ends up in Bodø

“This is a unique opportunity to bring IASSA to Bodø and Norway. IASSA fits well into both Nordland Research Institute and Nord University’s profile towards the High Noth and social sciences, Hovelsrud stressed in a previous interview with High North News.

Nord University and Nordland Research Institute have also applied to host the IASSA secretariat for the 2021-2024 period, in addition to hosting the 11th ICASS conference, which is organized by IASSA in 2024.

Hovelsrud from Norway was the only candidate for the position. She takes over the role of president from Andrey Petrov. Petrov works as Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Northern Iowa in the USA. He is also Director of the Arctic, Remote and Cold Territories Interdisciplinary Center (ARCTICenter) at that university.

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This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.

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