Hailing from Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Greenland, and Alaska, the youth leaders came to Cambridge as part of the International Workshop on Indigenous Youth Leadership for the Changing Arctic, designed by the Belfer Center’s Arctic Initiative in collaboration with the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICRH), UArctic EALAT Institute, World Reindeer Herders (WRH), and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

The Indigenous youth leaders joined Harvard Kennedy School students for the second half of the course: “Policy and Social Innovation for the Changing Arctic.” The intensive course, taught by Halla Hrund Logadóttir, Arctic Initiative Co-Founder and Director-General of Iceland’s National Energy Authority, is designed to encourage students to engage with facets of the climate crisis in a solutions-oriented capacity, inviting students to develop their own policy and social innovations to address issues in a region warming four times faster than the rest of the world. Many Indigenous youth leaders shared their direct experiences with the changing Arctic climate and its impacts on their daily lives, providing personal perspectives and firsthand knowledge.

“Even though we might think that Alaska is really far from northern Finland, we have the same kind of problems and same understanding about how to use our land and how to deal with climate change,” said participant Xia Torrika (Áŋŋel, Finland). “It was really heartwarming to get to know these people and talk about the issues and find the solutions together.”

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