The Arctic: Risks and Opportunities for Europe and North America

Developing Strategies to Address Contemporary Security Challenges on Europe's Northern Flank

4 - 8 Feburary 2019 / Course language: English

The one-week seminar on the Arctic is embedded into the series of European Security Seminars (ESS) consisting of ESS-South, ESS-East, and ESS-North. The ESS-North primarily looks at the Arctic. This is the second workshop in a series of five events. The aim of the ESS-N is to provide an opportunity for mid to high-level practitioners to discuss emerging challenges in the Arctic region and assess their impact on European and North American security. The exchange of insights among experts and a sound analysis of the current situation, opportunities, and risks will enhance participants’ ability to think strategically about the Arctic region.




The Arctic has long held significant geostrategic importance – from the earliest explorers and whalers through the Cold War. Global warming and its impact on the Arctic is unquestionably driving change across the region, affecting the future security environment of the Arctic and even beyond. In order to adequately assess regional challenges and opportunities, it is important to understand the economic, environmental, and security trends. Warming trends are now combining with improved technology to allow increased exploration and development of the region’s natural resources. Demands of a rising global population, particularly food and energy needs, could further drive Arctic economic development at sea and ashore. Rising activity in the region brings increased concerns for the fragile Arctic ecosystem and protection of indigenous communities.

Further, the increasingly accessible region has attracted numerous global stakeholders. Thus far, Arctic stakeholders have largely adhered to international laws and norms. The Arctic Council acts as a useful coordinating mechanism, though its mandate explicitly excludes security. The Arctic has long been held to be a peaceful and stable region, yet the evolving economic and geopolitical interests may impact the future security of the region. While regional militaries have historically operated in the Arctic, particularly in the undersea and air domains, it is clear that military activity is on the rise. This Seminar will provide participants an opportunity to further examine the complex Arctic environment and provide strategic recommendations for regional stakeholders to address contemporary security challenges.

ess n 19 05


The Marshall Center is hosting the European Security Seminar – North (ESS-N 19-05) from 4 – 8 February 2019. (Marshall Center graphic by Dr. Stan Jones)



The Seminar Covers Four Parts


Part 1: Understand the current Arctic landscape, with a focus on geostrategic importance and key geopolitical, geo-economic, and environmental issues.

Part 2: Evaluation of the competing demands for the Arctic, to include economic development, environmental protection, rights of indigenous communities, and national security interests.

Part 3: Analysis of Arctic perspectives: Global commons versus regional interests.

Part 4: Develop a wider framework of cooperation and strategic recommendations.




Expected Accomplishments


This seminar will be conducted by subject matter experts from the George C. Marshall Center along with adjunct professors and guest lecturers offering diverse perspectives and expertise. Participants are representatives of Arctic stakeholders, to include leading Arctic research institutions, security professionals, policymakers from Arctic Council member and observer states, industry, indigenous communities, and intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations with Arctic interests.

The ESS-N is designed to promote discussion amongst participants. It further offers a unique forum to effectively capture the insights of participating professionals. This seminar will thus enable stakeholders to contribute to the Arctic policy debate and further discuss the role of the Arctic in context of global security matters.


Indicators of Achievement


The primary indicator of achievement will be the ideas and outputs from this seminar that then help to inform the strategic thinking of stakeholders on Arctic security matters. A secondary objective is to better understand differing perspectives of Arctic stakeholders, allowing for the development of recommendations for potential or deepened cooperation in the region.


Main activities


ESS-N provides four platforms for the exchange of ideas, discussions, networking, and strategy development: conference-style format of lectures, panels and plenary discussions; outcome-oriented, product driven and complementary workshop format (workshops led by SMEs, supported by rapporteurs with input from seminar-group leaders and guest presenters); night owl session held in the format of “fire side chat”; and participants’ panels. The seminar is five days all inclusive (in on Monday, out on Friday), with four academic days, approximately forty participants from mid-to-senior level positions, three working groups, and approximately ten guest speakers. The projected dates are 04 - 08 February 2019.


Impressions From the First Workshop


ess n participants



Interview with Dr. Guifang Xue


Interview with Ms. Lida Skifte Lennert


Interview with Amb. Marie-Anne Coninsx


Interview with Ms. Anna Fredrickson


Interview with Vadm Lutz Feldt


For application and deadline information, contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., your ministry point of contact, or the U.S. or German Embassy in your capital city.