Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU and Students on Ice Foundation embark on new partnership

Ottawa , 12/06/2019 - 20:42, UNIQUE ID: 190612_19
Press releases

OTTAWA – The European Union is joining the Students on Ice Foundation (SOI) on the 2019 Arctic Expedition – the EU’s first time participating in the highly-anticipated journey by air, land and sea to the High Arctic.

The 16-day expedition will bring together more than 100 high school and university students from North and South America, Europe and Asia to explore ecosystems and Indigenous cultures in the Canadian Arctic and Greenland between July 23 and August 7.

As part of the partnership, the EU is providing funding for four participants, including three students and one educator, from the northern Sámi communities of Sweden and Finland, to participate in the expedition.

During the journey, students will have the chance to participate in daily workshops given by inspiring scientists, elders, artists, musicians, dignitaries, historians, thought leaders and innovators. Immersed in nature and Indigenous cultures, students will be educated and challenged to imagine and start building a better world for future generations, while forming lifelong friendships.

The EU and Students on Ice organizers share a vision and a commitment to building transatlantic bridges and giving youth the opportunity to expand their knowledge and understanding of the Arctic, so they can become the next generation of leaders on Arctic issues. We must cooperate across borders to find solutions to Arctic – and global – environmental issues, from marine pollution and threats to natural ecosystems, fisheries, and wildlife, due to the effects of climate change.

The EU’s support for the expedition reflects the ever-closer EU-Canada relationship, enhanced by the 2016 EU-Canada Strategic Partnership and Comprehensive Economic and Trade agreements, and an expanding array of dialogues, exchanges, and cooperation projects between Europeans and Canadians.


“To explore the Arctic with youth, elders, artists, scientists and educators from around the world, provides a unique opportunity for cross-cultural and solution-driven conversations and initiatives to flourish,” says Students on Ice President and Expedition Leader Geoff Green. “This is the first year that youth from every circumpolar country will join a Students on Ice expedition, and we are grateful to the Delegation of the European Union to Canada for their support.”

“We are thrilled to join the 2019 Arctic Expedition and give students the opportunity to see and understand firsthand the challenges the Arctic is facing today; you have to look at and understand the Arctic through the eyes of the people who live there,” said Peteris Ustubs, European Union Ambassador to Canada. “The European Union is very much engaged in the Arctic through multilateral fora and international organizations; understanding the science of climate change, helping to develop strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and safeguarding the Arctic environment are part of the EU’s continued efforts in the Arctic.”

“We are excited that two students from Sweden will participate in this unique learning experience!” said Urban Ahlin, Ambassador of Sweden in Canada. “It is important that the next generation understands the challenges facing the Arctic. Through Students on Ice they get the opportunity to really dive into the issues at hand, learn, and get inspired to take on the future. You can never underestimate the importance of learning hands-on, together with other like-minded students from around the world. It is great that the EU is showing its commitment to a sustainable future in the Arctic by funding the students. As an EU Member State we are big supporters of a positive EU-Canada relationship.” 

“I am delighted for this opportunity for a student and an educator from the Finnish Sámi community to participate in the Students on Ice 2019 Arctic Expedition, with the support of the European Union,” said Vesa Lehtonen, Ambassador of Finland to Canada. “As an Arctic country and active EU Member State, Finland advocates for strong EU engagement in working for sustainable development in the Arctic. Finland has just finished its chairmanship in the Arctic Council where our priorities were the environment, connectivity, meteorology and education - all very relevant for the SOI Expedition. I especially appreciate the goal of the SOI to advance people-to-people contacts between indigenous peoples. From many discussions on the topic I know how much this is valued by the Sámi and the Indigenous peoples of Canada and Greenland.”


About the Delegation of the European Union to Canada
Established in 1976, the European Union Delegation to Canada is a fully-fledged diplomatic mission and, as such, the natural contact point in Canada between the EU and the Canadian authorities. It also has a strong public diplomacy mandate designed to enhance the knowledge and understanding of the European Union as well as EU-Canada relations. Follow us @EUinCanada

About the Students on Ice Foundation
The Students on Ice (SOI) Foundation is an award-winning organization whose mission is to contribute to a healthy and sustainable future by providing a platform for learning, and for ideas and cross-cultural collaboration to flourish. Since 2000, SOI has brought together more than 3,000 youth, educators and visionary leaders from 52 countries on expeditions and outreach initiatives in the Arctic, Antarctic and places in-between. The outcome is a global network whose immersion in local environmental, social and political landscapes is shaping their perspectives and action on key issues including climate change, ocean health and community engagement.


For more information, contact Diodora Bucur, Press and Information Officer, EU Delegation to Canada, +1 613 563-6354,

Ashley Brasfield, Manager, Communications & Media Relations, Students on Ice Foundation, +1 819-827-3300 x3023,


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