Penn State hosted the country's leading Arctic experts for a discussion on the role and interests of the United States in shaping global strategies for the Arctic region on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015.

"The Penn State Symposium on the Arctic: U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council and Strategy for the Arctic Region" featured keynote speeches by retired Coast Guard Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., special representative for the Arctic, who leads the effort to advance U.S. interests in the Arctic region as the United States holds the chairmanship of the Arctic Council from 2015-2017; Fran Ulmer, chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission and special adviser to the secretary of state on Arctic science and policy; and Rachel Bernstein, research and development scientist, basic and applied research, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

The symposium was a timely response to the pressing security, economic, environmental, and energy production issues in the Arctic region. The rate of ice retreat in the summer of 2015 remained faster than the typical rate for the same months in previous years. The melting ice in the Arctic is opening access to shipping routes, as well as mineral and oil resources that were previously unreachable. At the same time, interested nations have been expanding their presence in the Arctic. In this past August alone, the United States granted final permission for Royal Dutch Shell to drill for oil in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea; Russian company Gazprom Neft put a second well in service in the Pechora Sea; and Chinese shipping company COSCO is on a path to increase its use of the Northern Sea Route.

This discussion was co-sponsored by the Penn State Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, the Center for Climate Risk Management, Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment, Penn State Law, the Penn State School of International Affairs, the Rock Ethics Institute, The Network for Sustainable Climate Risk Management, and The Polar Center.


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Tuesday, October 20th
1:15 PM

Keynote - Arctic Council Update: Perspective from the Chairmanship

Robert J. Papp Jr, Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired)

1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

2:00 PM

Keynote - Why the Rapidly Changing Arctic Matters to Science

Hon. Fran Ulmer, Special Advisor to the U.S. Secretary on State and Arctic Science

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

2:45 PM

NGA Brings Geospatial Intelligence to the Arctic

Rachel Bernstein, Research and Development Scientist, NGA

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM

3:15 PM

Law, Regulation, and Policy in the Arctic

Michael D. Farber, Senior Advisor to the Director, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
Klaus Keller, Professor of Geosciences, Penn State

3:15 PM - 4:00 PM

4:00 PM

Short Presentations Followed by Facilitated Discussions

James Houck, Interim Dean, Penn State Law, and Vice Admiral, JACG, U.S. Navy (Retired)
David Titley, Professor of Practice, Department of Meteorology, Penn State, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology, Penn State

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM