Arctic Futures Institute

A National Center of Excellence in Arctic Studies & Research in Maine

The Arctic Futures Institute (AFI) is a joint initiative of the Center for Oceans & Coastal Law of the University of Maine School of Law, the Climate Change Institute of the University of Maine, and the World Ocean Observatory. The three founding AFI institutions are a unique combination of science, law, policy and outreach based in Maine. The Climate Change Institute has forty years of Arctic science experience, the Center for Oceans & Coastal Law is engaged in advanced Arctic law and policy research and the World Ocean Observatory reaches a global community of Citizens of the Ocean through web-based content and communication.

In January 2015, a White House executive order established the Arctic Steering Committee to sharpen coordination of the 22 federal agencies working on U.S. priorities in the region. U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Angus King (I- ME) launched the Senate Arctic Caucus to promote congressional awareness of the gravity of the challenges in the northern latitudes. Under the chair of the United States the Arctic Council met in Maine in October 2017. The AFI will build on the energy and interest stimulated by that meeting and will invite participation State-wide of academic/research institutions, government and non-government entities, and businesses - many of which served on the Arctic Council Maine Host Committee. Now is the time to establish a national Arctic center of excellence in Maine that can:

  • Nurture and leverage an international network in the northern latitudes to advance State objectives including research, education and commerce.
     
  • Contribute to the global effort to balance science and commerce, helping to assure the long-term preservation of the Arctic.
     
  • Promote understanding of Arctic issues through web-based and other communications to build broad public awareness of Arctic issues and the Institute in Maine, the United States, and throughout the global Arctic community.

The AFI has produced an inaugural research paper entitled, “The Arctic: Law, Science and Policy,” co-authored by Professors Charles Norchi and Paul Mayewski which appears in the May 2017 issue of The Ocean & Coastal Law Journal.