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UW Launches Minor In Arctic Studies

Nadine Fabbi
UW and Inuit students in the 2011 Jackson School Task Force on Arctic Sovereignty in Ottawa. Student interest in classes like this prompted the UW to launch an Arctic Studies minor

Curiosity about what’s happening in some of the coldest places on Earth has prompted the University of Washington to launch its first Arctic Studies minor.

The program is the first of its kind offered by a university in the lower 48. 

Nadine Fabbi, associate director of the Canadian Studies Center at the Jackson School of International Studies, says the impact of climate change on the region is just one of the reasons why the university has started this program.

"Our interest arrives from what’s occurring in the Arctic geopolitically; what indigenous peoples, in particular the Inuit, have been able to do in terms of international governance is just something we have not seen before," she said.

Launched last month, four students from both the humanities and the sciences have already signed on for the minor. Fabbi says long-term goals are for the university to offer the subject as a major and send students out on a polar research vessel. She also says studying the Arctic opens students up to a variety of jobs in science, policy development and public health.

The program is a collaboration between the Jackson School and the School of Oceanography.