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2012 Speakers

Dr. Alexander Shestakov

Director, WWF Global Arctic Programme

Alexander Shestakov has worked as the Director of WWF's Global Arctic Programme based in Ottawa, Canada since July 2010, leading all of WWF’s work in the Arctic. Combining environmental and legal backgrounds, Dr. Shestakov received his MSc and PhD in physical geography, landscape sciences, and environmental management, and his MA in Land and Environmental Law from Moscow State University. He also completed the international program Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD). Dr. Shestakov has worked in a variety of sectors and roles including research on global environmental problems, environmental mapping, and environmental management at the Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences; environmental consultancy on ESIA and environmental audits for a variety of industries; serving as an expert to the Committee on Ecology at Russian Parliament and drafting new federal environmental laws; representing the Russian Federation in the Convention on Biological Diversity including a COP Bureau; working at WWF Russia as an Environmental Law Officer and as Conservation Director; and working for BP Russia as HSE Manager and Environmental Director, participating in the work of IPIECA and OGP. Dr. Shestakov is the author of over 70 publications.


Anders Backman

Manager Polar Operations / Ice Council Chairman, Viking Supply Ships

Anders Backman, Master Mariner, B.Sc., graduated from the Royal Swedish Navy Academy in 1963. He transferred to the RN reserve as Lieutenant Commander in 1977. Captain Backman was the Commanding Officer of several different navy ships and Senior Officer and Captain of Icebreakers from 1963 to 1997. He served as fleet manager during multiple ship ice management operations from 2004 to 2010. As a project and contract manager, Mr. Backman was responsible for design, construction, evaluation of tenders and construction site management for the ODEN and Viking class icebreakers.  Mr. Backman was Head of the Swedish Icebreaking Service (Icebreaking Director) from 1999 to 2004.  He now serves as Manager of Polar Operations at Viking Supply Ships and Chairman of the Viking Ice Council.


Dr. Barry D. Gold

Program Director, Marine Conservation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Dr. Barry D. Gold is program director for marine conservation at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation where he leads efforts to ensure healthy oceans through approaches that integrate human use with conservation. This includes work to shift fisheries management to an incentive-based system and advancing comprehensive approaches to managing the ocean that address the impacts of the entire suite of activities occurring in a specific place. Dr. Gold has dedicated his career to working at the interface between environmental science and policy. He has held senior positions with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Department of the Interior, U.S. House of Representatives, National Academy of Sciences, and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Gold is currently President of the Board of the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity and Vice-Chair of the Board of the California Ocean Science Trust. In addition, he serves on external advisory committees for organizations such as the National Socio-environmental Synthesis Center, the Collaborative Institute on Oceans, Climate and Security, and the Conservation International – Science Advisory Council. In the 1980s, Dr. Gold was a scientist at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, contributing to studies on the sustainable development of the biosphere and the creation of scenarios for exploring possible ecological futures. Separately, he worked to develop the large-marine ecosystem (LME) concept and co-edited seminal books on this topic. Dr. Gold has degrees in biology, ecology, and political science, including a D.Sc. from Washington University, an M.A. from George Washington University, an M.S. from the University of Connecticut, and a B.S. from the University of Miami.


Betsy B. Baker

Associate Professor, Vermont Law School; Senior Fellow for Oceans and Energy, Vermont Law School Institute for Energy and the Environment

Betsy B. Baker is an Associate Professor at Vermont Law School and a Senior Fellow for Oceans and Energy at the school’s Institute for Energy and the Environment. She has published widely on law and regulation in the Arctic, recently preparing papers for the Inuit Circumpolar Council and the Arctic Council on resource development laws in Greenland and Russia; on marine scientific research; and other topics. Her current projects include co-leading the PAME Arctic Ocean Review Phase II Report (with Bernard Funston, Chair of the Canadian Polar Commission) and heading up the report’s Offshore Oil and Gas chapter. A member of the science crew, USCGC Healy Arctic Ocean extended continental shelf mapping 2008 and 2009 deployments, and a Dickey Research Fellow, Institute of Arctic Studies, Dartmouth College (2009-2010), Ms. Baker clerked for the Honorable John T. Noonan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, holds a J.D. from Michigan, and LL.M. and Dr. iur. degrees from Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel, Germany, where she was an Alexander von Humboldt Chancellors Scholar.


Erik Gant

Executive Secretary, Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples Secretariat

Erik Gant was born and raised in Greenland, then went to Denmark to attend secondary school and there upon the university. Mr. Gant acquired a Ph.D. degree, writing his thesis on the representation of natives, in particular Eskimos, in films, an eclectic study that draws on disciplines such as film and cultural studies, anthropology and aesthetics. Since February 2009, Mr. Gant has headed the Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples Secretariat (IPS), a small office that assists the Permanent Participants in contributing to the work of the Arctic Council.


Erik J. Molenaar

Senior Research Associate, Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea, Utrecht University; Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law of the University of Tromsø, Norway

Erik J. Molenaar is senior research associate at the Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea (NILOS), Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and adjunct professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Tromsø, Norway. After having completed his Ph.D. on ‘Coastal State Jurisdiction over Vessel-Source Pollution’  and his tasks as assistant rapporteur to the International Law Association’s Committee on Coastal State Jurisdiction Relating to Marine Pollution, he broadened his research field with international fisheries law and the international law relating to the Antarctic and Arctic. In addition to fundamental research, Mr. Molenaar has also provided juridical advice and reports commissioned by, inter alia, various Netherlands and Norwegian Ministries, fishing and shipping companies, FAO, UNEP, the European Parliament and the European Commission. His research has led to his participation in various diplomatic conferences and other intergovernmental meetings, including the annual meetings of several regional fisheries management organizations. Since 2010, Mr. Molenaar's research has had a specific focus on adapting governance and regulation in the marine Arctic to climate change.


Heather A. Conley

Senior Fellow and Director of the Europe Program, Center for Strategic & International Studies

Heather A. Conley is senior fellow and director of the Europe Program at CSIS. Prior to joining CSIS, Ms. Conley was a senior adviser to the Center for European Policy Analysis. From 2005 to 2008, she was the executive director of the Office of the Chairman of the Board at the American National Red Cross. From 2001 to 2005, she served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs with responsibilities for U.S. bilateral relations with the 15 countries of northern and central Europe. From 1994 to 2001, she was a senior associate with an international consulting firm led by former U.S. deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage. Ms. Conley began her career in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the U.S. Department of State where she served as the State Department liaison for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Global Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP). Following this assignment, she was selected to serve as special assistant to the coordinator of U.S. assistance to the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union. Ms. Conley received her B.A. in international studies from West Virginia Wesleyan College and her M.A. in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).


Dr. Jean-Claude Gascard

Emeritus Research Director, National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), University Pierre et Marie Curie

Dr. Jean-Claude Gascard is Emeritus Research Director at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) at the University Pierre et Marie Curie in the LOCEAN laboratory, Paris, France. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1977 for studying deep ocean convection in the Mediterranean sea and later on in the Labrador Sea and  the Greenland Sea. Sea ice studies started in 1983 in Fram Strait (between Spitsberg and Greenland) during the international MIZEX project and continued during the 1990s and 2000s with a succession of EU projects under the Framework Programs (ESOP, ASOF, MAIA, DAMOCLES, ACCESS). Dr. Gascard coordinated the DAMOCLES (Developing Arctic Modeling and Observing Capabilities for Long-term Environmental Studies) project during the International Polar Year (IPY) for evaluating our capability for better predicting extreme climate events in the Arctic. The ongoing ACCESS (Arctic Climate Changes and impacts on Economic Sectors and Society) project coordinated by Dr. Gascard at UPMC/LOCEAN is devoted to studying the impacts of climate changes in the Arctic on economic sectors such as marine transport, fisheries, oil and gas exploitation.


Dr. Jeffrey Mazo

Research Fellow for Environmental Security and Science Policy and Managing Editor, Survival, International Institute for Strategic Studies

Dr Jeffrey Mazo is a Research Fellow for Environmental Security and Science Policy and Managing Editor, Survival at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, and co-convenor of the IISS Forum for Arctic Climate Change and Security. His book Climate Conflict: How global warming threatens security and what to do about it was published by Routledge in the IISS Adelphi Series in March 2010. Dr. Mazo holds an AB from Harvard and MA and PhD  from UCLA in a broad, interdisciplinary field combining anthropology, history, paleoclimatology, archaeology, and medieval studies.


John Crump

Senior Climate Change Advisor, UNEP/GRID-Arendal Polar Centre

John Crump’s work looks at the rapid changes taking place at the poles and the implications for the rest of the planet. He is Senior Climate Change Advisor for the Norway-based UNEP/GRID-Arendal Polar Centre. Mr. Crump's academic background is in journalism, communications, history, and political economy and he holds a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master's Degree in Canadian Studies from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Mr. Crump has worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, been Cabinet Communications Advisor in the Yukon Premier’s office, done policy and research for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, and was Government Relations Manager for the Nunavut Planning Commission. He was also Executive Director of the Canadian Arctic Resources Committee (CARC) and Executive Secretary of the Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat in Copenhagen, Denmark. Mr. Crump has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on Arctic issues at Carleton University and the University of Trier in Germany.


Dr. Lawson W. Brigham

Distinguished Professor of Geography & Arctic Policy, University of Alaska Fairbanks; Senior Fellow,  Institute of the North

Dr. Lawson W. Brigham is Distinguished Professor of Geography & Arctic Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of the North in Anchorage. During 2005-2009 he was chair of the Arctic Council’s Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment and Vice Chair of the Council’s working group on Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment.  Dr. Brigham was a career U.S. Coast Guard officer serving from 1970-95 and retiring with the rank of Captain.  He commanded four Coast Guard cutters including a Great Lakes icebreaker and the polar icebreaker Polar Sea; he also served as Chief of Strategic Planning at Coast Guard Headquarters.  He has participated in more than 15 Arctic and Antarctic expeditions, and during summer 1994 in the Polar Sea crossed the Arctic Ocean for science with the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent. Dr. Brigham has been a research fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a faculty member of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School, and Alaska Office Director of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission.  He is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (BS), a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval War College, and holds graduate degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (MS) and the University of Cambridge (MPhil & PhD).  His research interests have focused on the Russian maritime Arctic, Arctic climate change, marine transportation, Arctic futures, remote sensing of sea ice, and polar geopolitics. Captain Brigham was a 2008 signer of the American Geographical Society’s Flier’s and Explorer’s Globe, the Society’s historic globe that has been signed by more than 75 explorers of the 20th century. This signing was in recognition of Polar Sea’s 1994 voyage's becoming the first ship in history to reach the extreme ends of the global ocean. He was named the 2010 Distinguished Alumnus of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and currently serves as a member of NOAA’s federal Hydrographic Services Review Panel.


Nikolaj Bock

Special Adviser on International Affairs, Executive Directors Office, European Environment Agency

Nikolaj Bock has since 2009 been a Special Adviser on International Affairs at the Executive Directors Office in the European Environment Agency with the task of strengthen EEA’s international relations and in particular with regard to the Arctic environment and cooperation with the Arctic Council. Prior to this position, Mr. Bock was Senior Adviser at the Nordic Council of Ministers with responsibility for coordinating the work of the Nordic Ministers for the Environment and the Arctic cooperation by the Ministers of Nordic Cooperation, including organizing the conference: Common Concern for the Arctic held in Greenland in 2008. Mr. Bock has also held positions as Head of Section in the Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, working with development aid, bilateral relations, and Nordic corporation and as First Secretary at the European Commission Delegation in the Solomon Islands with responsibility for EC development aid and reporting on foreign and security matters during the civil war in the Solomon Islands. Mr. Bock held a position as Assistant Policy Adviser in the UK Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions  which involved implementing EU environmental legislation and as Executive Officer in the UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, working with sustainable agriculture. Prior to this, he was a trainee in the European Commission’s DG Environment. Mr. Bock has a Masters degree from the University of Copenhagen majoring in EU Environmental Policy.


Dr. Olav Orheim

Former Director, Norwegian Polar Institute; Chairman of the Board, UNEP/GRID-Arendal

Dr. Olav Orheim has had a life-long career in polar science, management, and diplomacy, and their interplay. He has spent more than 30 field seasons in the Arctic - covering Svalbard, Jan Mayen, Greenland, and the Antarctic.  Dr. Orheim has authored nearly 80 research publications on glacier mass balance and climate, ice dynamics, ice bergs, remote sensing, and politics of the polar regions. He has written a book on glaciers and climate and book chapters on polar politics and history. Born in Norway, Dr. Orheim was educated in Norway, England, and the United States. He received his Ph.D. in 1972 from Ohio State University on glaciers and global change.  Dr. Orheim has served as an Adjunct Professor in glaciology at University of Bergen, Managing Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute, Polar Science Manager at the Research Council of Norway, and Chairman of Board of several entities, including UNEP’s GRID-Arendal and the Polar Ship Fram Museum. His past functions also include Chair of the Norwegian Government’s 2003 review of Northern Policy, Vice President of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Chair of the International Arctic Science Committee’s Regional Board, Chair Forum of Arctic Research Operators, Vice Chair and acting Chair European Polar Board, First Chair of Committee on Environmental Protection under the Antarctic Treaty, and Chair of Legal and Institutional WG at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings from 2005-2009. In 2007, Dr. Orheim was knighted under the Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav.


Robert B. Carson

Fellow, Circumpolar Affairs, Queen's University School of Policy Studies

In September, 2011, Robert Carson was appointed a Fellow, Circumpolar Affairs, in the School of Policy Studies’ Institute of Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen’s University. Mr. Carson had been the Assistant Deputy Minister, Intergovernmental Affairs, with the Government of Nunavut, based in Ottawa, since June, 2004. He also served as Principal Secretary in the Office of the Premier of Nunavut, during 2001-2002, reporting to then Premier Paul Okalik, and, in 2009, reporting to Premier Eva Aariak. He began work in Nunavut in October 2000, as the Director, Policy and Planning, in the Department of Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs. Mr. Carson was a Visiting Scholar at the Centre of Canadian Studies at the University of Edinburgh in 2009-2010, and prior to joining the Government of Nunavut, Mr. Carson was a faculty member and administrator at Seneca College in Toronto, Ontario for twenty-one years. Mr. Carson holds a B.A.(Honours) degree from the University of Toronto and a Law Degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1976, and remains a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada.


Robert J. Blaauw

Senior Advisor Global Arctic Theme, Shell International Exploration and Production B.V.

Robert J. Blaauw joined Shell in The Netherlands in 1980. He started in technical and operational functions and thereafter moved to commercial and general management roles in Shell operating companies in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Mr. Blaauw then moved to Australia to become Shell’s General Manager Exploration and Production and Joint Venture Operations. In 2002, he relocated to Shell’s corporate headquarters in The Netherlands, where he was Business Development Manager for the Caspian, Middle East and Russia. Since 2010, he has managed Shell’s Global Arctic Theme (technical, social, environmental and communications). This includes working with strategic partners in support of Shell’s business in the Arctic and the International Oil & Gas Producers Association, where Robert chairs the Arctic Task Force, to improve global industry standards in the Arctic. Mr. Blaauw grew up in The Hague and studied at the Technical University Delft where he received an Msc. in Civil Engineering.


Sara French

Program Manager, Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Program, Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation

Sara French joined the Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation as a Research Assistant and is now the Foundation's Arctic Security Program Manager. She completed both a Masters and Bachelor of Arts at Queen’s University and spent her first year of studies at the International Study Centre at Hertsmonceux Castle in the United Kingdom. Ms. French has worked as a Research Intern at the Department of Business,Enterprise, and Regulatory Reform in the United Kingdom, while participating in the Hansard Research Scholar’s Programme at the London School of Economics. She has also interned at the Mission of Canada to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium and has worked in the British Virgin Islands.


Scott Highleyman

Director, International Arctic Program, The Pew Environment Group

Scott Highleyman joined the Pew Environment Group in 2009 to direct the International Arctic Program. He oversees non–U.S. Arctic marine campaigns that promote science and community-based conservation of the Arctic Ocean and the welfare of indigenous residents who rely on this ecosystem. Mr. Highleyman has led conservation initiatives in Alaska and Canada for 25 years. He was the first executive director of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, working with coastal communities, Alaska Natives and small-boat commercial fishermen toward sustainable management of U.S. North Pacific fisheries. He also served as staff attorney for Trustees for Alaska, executive director of the Alaska Environmental Lobby and congressional lobbyist for the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. As founder of Wildhavens Consulting, Mr. Highleyman specialized in community-based and cross-border conservation projects, providing advice to the Canadian Boreal Initiative, Ducks Unlimited Canada, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, The Pew Charitable Trusts and many other foundations. Mr. Highleyman holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Williams College and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School at Madison.


Udloriak Hanson

Executive Director, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Udloriak Hanson served as Special Advisor to Mary Simon, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, before taking on her current role as Executive Director of ITK, the national organization representing Inuit from Nunavut, Nunavik (Northern Quebec), Nunatsiavut (Northern Labrador) and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region of the Northwest Territories. From 2007 to 2010 she was Senior Policy Liaison for Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI), the land claims organization representing Nunavut Inuit, and she remains NTI’s Chief Negotiator on devolution. From 2005 to 2007, she led the development of Nunavut’s Qaujisaqtiit Society, the territory’s first consortium of Inuit non-profit organizations. She has also served as executive assistant to the Government of Nunavut’s Minister of Sustainable Development and as NTI’s Director of Business and Economic Development, where she negotiated multi-lateral agreements between NTI, the Government of Canada and the Government of Nunavut and assisted in the development of Nunavut’s first Economic Development Strategy. Ms. Hanson has facilitated workshops for the Arctic Council’s Permanent Participants. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Tungasuvvingat Inuit, an Ottawa-based community centre, and Actua, a science and mathematics program for youth 6-16. She is also the Arctic Peoples and Security co-chair for the Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Program and previously served as a member of the steering committee of the Arctic Governance Project. Ms. Hanson was born and raised in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and has undergraduate degrees in business administration and education. She is a frequent guest speaker, nationally and internationally, on issues affecting Inuit across Canada.