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 The Arctic Innovation Lab, a pioneering initiative hosted at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, is gearing up for its upcoming session in January 2024. As the new cohort of the Arctic Innovation Lab approaches, the agenda promises an immersive and dynamic experience for participating Indigenous and reindeer herding youth from around the Circumpolar North. The program is designed to equip students with a holistic understanding of the challenges facing the Arctic region while fostering innovative solutions.

Spearheaded by the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR) and UArctic EÁLAT Institute, in cooperation with the Arctic Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, the Lab is a pivotal part of the global 10545 GEF-UNEP Reindeer Herding and Resilience project. The upcoming session marks the third time Indigenous youth will actively participate in the Arctic Innovation Lab in Cambridge, MA.

The Lab cohort for January 2024 comprises Indigenous and reindeer herding youth from Canada, Finland, Mongolia, Norway, Sweden, and the United States. The diverse group of participants reflects the global nature of the challenges faced by the Arctic region and underscores the importance of international collaboration. Students were awarded places in the program on a competitive basis after submitting their applications and outlining the innovation solutions they were passionate about. The 2024 cohort has already laid the groundwork for their upcoming session with three pre-session meetings held in November and December 2023. These preparatory meetings served as forums for participants to exchange ideas, establish connections, and set the stage for a fruitful and collaborative learning experience.

In January 2024, The students will kick off their journey with a visit to the Woodwell Climate Research Center, a renowned institution at the forefront of climate science and permafrost studies. Here, they will delve into the intricacies of GIS mapping, gaining valuable insights into the spatial dimensions of Arctic challenges. The students will have the opportunity to explore the latest advancements in mapping technologies and understand how these tools can be leveraged for effective research and policy-making.

Following their visit to the Woodwell Climate Research Center, the cohort will engage in a comprehensive program at the Harvard Kennedy School. The agenda is strategically crafted to address key themes such as resilience in the Arctic, land degradation, and climate change, providing students with a multifaceted perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing the region.

The program at the Kennedy School will feature a series of practical classes, seminars, and interactive sessions led by experts in the fields of climate science, policy, and environmental studies. These sessions aim to deepen the participants' understanding of the complex interplay between human activities and the Arctic environment, fostering a holistic approach to problem-solving.

The Innovation Lab provides Indigenous and reindeer herding with the opportunity to test and refine their innovative ideas, network and mingle with peers. Mentors and staff will guide them through the process, providing valuable feedback and insights. The emphasis on hands-on activities ensures that students can apply theoretical knowledge to real-world challenges, enhancing their ability to develop practical, sustainable solutions. The program will culminate in a pitch session, where students will present their innovation ideas. 

Throughout the entire program, the Arctic Innovation Lab encourages collaboration, interdisciplinary thinking, and the integration of Indigenous knowledge into the solutions proposed. By combining academic rigor with practical application, the Lab aims to empower participants to become effective leaders and change-makers in their communities, equipped to address the pressing challenges of the Arctic region.

For more information about the events organized by the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR) please contact Marina Tonkopeeva +4745658752.  

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