Queen's University

Turning knowledge into world-wide action


Queen's University School of Policy Studies Director Peter Harrison has been selected to chair the pivotal wrap-up conference of International Polar Year, to be held in Montreal in 2012.

Called "From Knowledge to Action" it will focus on ways to implement the findings from International Polar Year studies into policy that addresses key issues raised by this research. More than 3,000 science, policy and political delegates from around the world are expected to attend.

"The Conference will be an exciting culmination of all the diverse and important projects associated with International Polar Year, and an opportunity to continue building on this important work," says Dr. Harrison, a professional geographer who came to Queen's from a position as Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada; he was previously Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Canada and the Department of fisheries and Oceans. Currently he is Stauffer-Dunning Chair in the university's School of Policy Studies.

As well as its leading role in funding polar research from all disciplines, Canada has been at the forefront in ensuring a focus on the human dimension and on traditional knowledge developed by Arctic indigenous people over millennia. "It's crucial that we as Canadians continue to advance these priorities to the rest of the world," says Dr. Harrison.

"From Canada's perspective, this international conference will focus on how knowledge gained through IPY will pave the way for our nation to continue to take a strong position in shaping the stewardship, sustainable development and environmental protection of this strategic and prized region," said Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, in announcing the conference.

"The research carried out during International Polar Year will benefit northerners and all Canadians in advancing our scientific knowledge of what is happening in the North," added Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health and Regional Minister responsible for the North.

Dr. Karl Erb, Director of the U.S. Office of Polar Programs, will act as conference co-chair.

International Polar Year is the largest-ever program of multi-disciplinary research focused on the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Thousands of researchers from more than 60 nations have been contributing to provide a greater understanding of issues such as the impacts of climate change and the process of adaptation, and to focus attention on the many other important policy questions relating to polar regions.

The IPY Conference is scheduled for April 22-27, 2012, in Montreal, Quebec.

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