Arctic Frontiers Student Forum 2023 gathered students from Nordic countries

Arctic Frontiers Student Forum (AFSF) 2023 was held during the Arctic Frontiers conference week from January 29 to February 4 in Tromsø, Norway. This was the first time AFSF was organized in collaboration with Arctic Frontiers and Oulu Business School, University of Oulu. The initiative was supported by Erasmus+ Youth and the Norwegian Barents Secretariat.
A group photo of 18 young university students smiling in snowy Tromso, Norway. Behind the group is pink colored sky and snowy mountain.
Like-minded students gathered in Tromsø, Norway to learn about Arctic issues. Photo: Vegard Stien/Arctic Frontiers

Finnish coordinator of the project, doctoral researcher Jemina Kotila from Oulu Business School, visited Tromsø with five master’s students from three different faculties.

“The call was open for all bachelor’s and master’s students interested in Arctic issues in the universities of Oulu and Lapland. I was thrilled that we received so many great applications. As two of the Northernmost universities in Finland, it is important that our students see Arctic regions appealing”, Kotila rejoices.

The main activity of the Student Forum was participating in the Arctic Frontiers conference, which aims to offer a platform for discussion for various actors in the Arctic. The Student Forum also included other activities, such as group project, career mentoring and social events. Group project was based on one of the five overarching themes of the conference: Demographics, Ocean, Energy, Geopolitics, and Science-to-policy. Each group decided themselves one challenge or possibility they see in the Arctic and tackled it from various perspectives, based on their previous knowledge, and insights gained from the conference sessions.

“This program is a great opportunity for the participants, as they get to meet other like-minded students from different Arctic universities, create networks and gain knowledge from the conference speakers. Especially career mentoring was valued among the students: informal discussion with a professional working in the Arctic sheds light on work possibilities in the Arctic in a new way”, Kotila says.

Associate professor Jaakko Simonen from Oulu Business School sees students' participation in the conference as an excellent opportunity to familiarize themselves with how megatrends, such as climate change, digitalization and urbanization, affect the development of the Arctic region. "They cause challenges and threats, but also opportunities for those living in these areas. However, this requires that we are able to increase our resilience and response ability at different levels and in different fields".

Simonen and Kotila both work in the multidisciplinary GenZ project. The Economic Resilience research team focuses on studying resilience at different levels – individual, organizational and regional. GenZ is one of the strategic profiling themes of the University of Oulu, funded by the Academy of Finland.

Last updated: 17.2.2023