Small-group seminars address current problems in international affairs, each focusing on one specific policy question and producing a joint task force report. Restricted to senior majors in International Studies. Prerequisite: SIS 200; SIS 201; SIS 202; SIS 401.
Governing the Arctic: An Emerging Focus in International Relations
For students of international studies, the Arctic provides an opportunity to be on the cutting edge of current foreign policy issues. “This is an area we have to pay real attention to,” said Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton in a recent Newsweek interview. The Arctic Governance Task Force 2011 team (including two students from the Inuit region of Nunavik, Québec) will have the opportunity to present a background paper on critical issues facing the Arctic region today. Why the recent focus on the circumpolar world? In September 2010 an international summit was held in Moscow to address increased interest in the Arctic and, according to BBC, to “try to prevent the Arctic becoming the next battleground over mineral wealth.” The potential conflict is due to the fact that the world’s largest undiscovered oil and gas reserves lie north of the Arctic Circle. Climate change is melting the polar ice cap and causing a “cold rush” for Arctic resources. The Northwest and Northeast passages are opening to shipping, cutting thousands of miles off the traditional routes through the Panama and Suez canals. The practicality of this is illustrated by the shipping of natural gas from Russia to China via the Northeast Passage in Summer 2010 – “the largest vessel ever to navigate the once-impossible route.” Governing the Arctic effectively is becoming increasingly critical to global peace and environmental stewardship. However, international relations in the region are complicated. There are the eight Arctic nations (Russia, Canada, the United State, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland); the Arctic Council established to foster cooperation in the region; eight Aboriginal groups that sit on the Council; and a host of non-Arctic nations with interest in the region. The Arctic Governance 2011 team will draft a set of policy proposals – integrating new international relations theories and Aboriginal governance models – to recommend how the Arctic nations and peoples should work together to effectively govern this region that has captured the world’s attention. The Task Force team will travel to Ottawa for a one-week research trip (January 29-February 5) to participate in meeting with Foreign Affairs and Indian and Northern Affairs, Canada; Arctic nation embassies; Inuit associations; and other stakeholders in the Arctic. The program will cover the majority of costs including airfare to Ottawa, hotel accommodations, ground travel and breakfast. Students are asked to contribute $500 towards the costs of the trip as well as incidentals and some food costs. Task Force team members will be selected through a competitive admissions process including a personal interview in October. Please link to the following URL to apply: https://catalyst.uw.edu/webq/survey/medv/110919 .
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Lectures, interviews, independent and cooperative thinking targeted towards a comprehensive report.
Pre-assigned readings provided at the end of Fall Quarter.
Class assignments and grading
Full participation in the task force report. Grade will be based on participation in preliminary lectures via questions and discussion; 2) active participation in interviews both on campus and in Ottawa; 3) active participation in writing and synthesizing the task force report; 4) cooperation with colleagues in class and in all aspects of producing the final report.