The virtual roundtable session was held on Tuesday, April 23, 2024. The session gathered 13 representatives of Arctic communities for an open discussion on education and training. This was the first session in a three-part roundtable series on Northern Communities and Youth Engagement. The project is funded by Global Affairs Canada with UArctic and the Arctic Mayors’ Forum as lead partners.

Participants were sent thematic discussion topics and questions in advance to prepare for the session. The topics included current education and training opportunities in participant communities, how communities and educational institutions collaborate, and opportunities for cross-community collaboration on education and training.

To strengthen discussion and engagement, live Zoom polling was used to gather answers to some of the initial questions, and then after discussion among participants, to vote on priority areas for further work.

Participants identified that the most important issues requiring collaboration between communities and education institutions are training and recruitment to meet necessary skills needed in communities and flexible and decentralized studies. The priority issues for collaboration across Arctic communities included decentralized studies and incentive programs for adult education.

These topics will be used as a basis for preparing the second session in the series which is scheduled on May 31, 2024, during the High North Dialogue in Bodø, Norway. This in-person session will focus on the role that higher education and training play in the sustainable economic development, including traditional livelihoods, of Arctic communities. The session will be a moderated panel discussion with leaders in education, mayoral representation, and student voices joining the panel.