The Model Arctic Council: Educating Postsecondary Students on Arctic Issues and Governance through Simulation

The Model Arctic Council: Educating Postsecondary Students on Arctic Issues and Governance... Abstract The Arctic Council is the primary forum for fostering cooperation and addressing concerns in the Arctic, yet few know of its work. The Model Arctic Council (MAC) is a simulation of the Arctic Council designed to address this awareness deficit. It places graduate and undergraduate students in roles as Arctic Council delegates, challenging them to collaborate to tackle the Arctic’s most pressing issues. This article explains the MAC initiative and the MAC 2016 event held at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). It evaluates participants’ qualitative comments and survey responses from the MAC 2016 and finds that the program was effective in developing student knowledge of the Arctic; increasing student understanding of Arctic Council objectives and processes; preparing students for leadership roles in the circumpolar north; and encouraging student-faculty collaboration among University of the Arctic (UArctic) institutions. To improve future MAC programs, the organizing committee should strengthen the pre- and early program training sessions, clarifying Arctic Council processes and norms and stressing effective communication skills and cultural sensitivity. Model Arctic Council, Arctic Council, simulation, pedagogy The year 2016 marked a quarter of a century since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the concept of the circumpolar north as a region. It also marked the twentieth anniversary of the Arctic Council, the high-level intergovernmental forum established to foster cooperation and address common concerns in the Arctic (Young 2005). Despite heightened media attention to the Arctic and increased research on myriad Arctic topics, the general public remains poorly informed on the challenges facing the region in the twenty-first century. The public understands even less about the Arctic Council. The Model Arctic Council (MAC) is a simulation of the Arctic Council’s process and activity designed to address these awareness deficits. The MAC’s objectives are (1) to develop students’ knowledge of the Arctic as a region, circumpolar politics, and northern Indigenous peoples; (2) to increase students’ understanding of Arctic Council objectives and processes; (3) to prepare students to assume leadership roles in the circumpolar north; and (4) to further student and faculty collaboration within the University of the Arctic (UArctic), a network of universities and other institutions engaged in education and research on the Arctic.1 The MAC places students in roles as Arctic Council delegates, challenging them to tackle the Arctic’s most pressing issues. We conceived the MAC as a recurring program, organized within a UArctic Thematic Network. We envision the program rotating among the Arctic 8 states2 and taking place every second year at a UArctic member institution in the country chairing the Arctic Council. Tying the MAC’s rotation to that of the chairship of the Arctic Council allows the MAC host institution to coordinate the timing of the event with Arctic Council meetings. In 2016, the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) hosted, and we anticipate that a university in Finland, as the next Arctic Council chair, will host in 2018. Selected from over one hundred applicants, sixty-five students representing fourteen birth countries and thirty-two universities participated in the MAC 2016. They acted in their assigned roles as Member State, Permanent Participant, or Observer delegates to one of two working groups of the Arctic Council—the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) working group or the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG);3 or as Senior Arctic Officials (SAOs) or Ministers of the Arctic Council Member States. The students simulated working group meetings, followed by SAO meetings and finally a Ministerial meeting. Several internationally recognized scholars and policymakers lectured on a variety of Arctic-related topics during the weeklong program. The MAC differs significantly from simulations of other international institutions. The MAC is a co-curricular, international, multiday simulation, rather than a classroom exercise. The program’s scope and student expectations differ from those of many other simulations. Additionally, the MAC process reflects the Arctic Council’s distinct mandate and norms, avoiding security issues and operating on consensus rather than majoritarianism. Students must use the art of persuasion and build trust to reach unanimity on issues, rather than competing in an adversarial manner, bartering, or forming alliances. Additionally, Indigenous groups exert more influence within the Arctic Council than in other international institutions. The consensus-driven approach, coupled with the unprecedented involvement of Indigenous groups in the Arctic Council, requires cultural sensitivity and respectful communication, especially because many student delegates come from the circumpolar north and thus have personal experience with the topics discussed. After providing an overview of the Arctic and the Arctic Council, reviewing the literature on simulation pedagogy, and discussing preparations for and implementation of the MAC, this article evaluates the MAC’s effectiveness as a pedagogical tool to educate on the Arctic and Arctic Council, in meeting predefined program objectives, and in satisfying students’ expectations. To do so, we analyze both qualitative and quantitative data reflecting student participants’ perceptions. Qualitative comments and survey results indicate a high level of satisfaction with the program, aligning with previous studies of simulations. Of the participants who responded to a post-program survey, 83 percent strongly agreed or agreed that they had learned more about the Arctic Council during the program than they would have in a conventional classroom setting. Fully 98 percent said they would recommend the MAC program to others. The novelty of the program, the work on Arctic Council priorities, and the remarkable cultural diversity of the students heightened the learning experience. The Arctic and the Arctic Council In recent decades, especially since the end of the Cold War, scientists, policymakers, and the media have increasingly focused their attention on the Arctic. In the 1970s, scientists documented contaminants in the Arctic food web. By the late 1980s, research found polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other toxins in seals, walruses, whales, and polar bears (Norstrom et al. 1988). A 1989–1990 study in northern Quebec found dangerous levels of PCBs in Inuit mothers’ breast milk (Dewailly et al. 1992). Research has linked the emission of contaminants from agricultural and industrial activities around the globe to high levels of contaminants in the Arctic (Macdonald et al. 2000). Since the mid-twentieth century, the Soviet Union, in particular, has disposed of large amounts of contaminants into the Arctic as well. Meanwhile, scientists have recognized the Arctic as a bellwether of climate change. Melting glaciers, sea ice, and permafrost have generated calls for concerted action to mitigate the impacts of these warming effects. Greenland’s shrinking icecap and melt-off from other glaciers are raising sea levels, threatening coastal regions worldwide. Melting permafrost in the Arctic and sub-Arctic damages local infrastructure while releasing methane into the atmosphere, hastening global warming. The Arctic’s decreasing albedo represents the most ominous climate change impact; as the proportion of the Arctic that is covered with ice and snow shrinks, the Earth’s surface absorbs more of the sun’s rays, and the rate of warming increases. Some scholars, including McCannon (2013, 305), have used the term “Arcticide” in considering the accumulative effects of these developments on Arctic peoples and the environment. In the midst of these dramatic changes, not all is doom and gloom. Many foresee opportunities. For instance, the eventual opening of Arctic sea lanes will cut shipping routes, saving time and fuel. The melting of the Northeast and Northwest Passages will expand tourism, one of the few potentially sustainable forms of economic development in the Arctic. Ice-free coasts in the summer will ease extraction and transportation of offshore gas and oil reserves, although a scramble for the Arctic’s massive reserves evokes as much anxiety as enthusiasm. The easing of Cold War tensions in the 1980s allowed the world to consider the circumpolar north as a region and approach its challenges and opportunities collaboratively. In a 1987 address in Murmansk, Russia, Mikhail Gorbachev proposed an Arctic zone of peace in which Arctic nations could collaborate on environmental and other common concerns. In the early 1990s, Finland and Canada followed with proposals for the Arctic states to cooperate on transboundary environmental protection, and to form an Arctic regional council, respectively. These suggestions led to the 1991 Rovaniemi Declaration on the Protection of the Arctic Environment and its implementation plan, the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS), which the eight Arctic states signed. Collaboration continued with the development of the six working groups to address specific challenges in the Arctic. In 1996, the Declaration on the Establishment of the Arctic Council (the Ottawa Declaration) founded the Arctic Council. Its mandate was broad, focusing on common concerns, in particular environmental issues and sustainable development (Graczyk and Koivurova 2015). The Ottawa Declaration explicitly excluded peace and security matters from the Arctic Council’s mandate. Arctic Council participants generally refer to the forum as a policy-shaping, rather than a policymaking, body (Kankaanpää and Young 2012). Timo Koivurova, Director of the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, identifies three major accomplishments of the Arctic Council: 1) promoting scientific assessments of Arctic pollution and shaping international environmental policymaking processes; 2) providing a platform to engage diverse participants in discussions of the Arctic’s future; and 3) involving the region’s Indigenous peoples in the Council’s deliberations (Koivurova 2010). The Arctic Council’s formal provisions for Permanent Participants opened unprecedented opportunities for Indigenous influence in the Council’s work (Koivurova and Heinämäki 2006; Young 2009). The Permanent Participants’ ability to present proposals in Council meetings and participate in all levels of deliberations not only ensures that the Council’s decisions and recommendations reflect their input but also facilitates communication among Arctic Indigenous peoples. Moreover, the arrangement enhances communication between Indigenous peoples and Member State governments (Bloom 1999, 717). The Arctic Council’s consensus based decision-making and the formalized role of the Permanent Participants at all levels of the organization comprise the most distinctive characteristics of the intergovernmental forum. The consensus model permeates all levels of the Arctic Council, fostering trust and congenial deliberations. This model contrasts with the United Nations General Assembly and European Parliament, which usually only require a simple majority to pass policy. Being consensus driven and avoiding security and defense issues, the Arctic Council has no analogue to the United Nations Security Council, which addresses military issues and whose permanent members can veto decisions. Typically, the Arctic Council working groups initiate studies and projects. Wide-ranging discussions take place at the working group level among Member State and Permanent Participant delegates, with official Observer and outside expert opinions welcomed. Initiatives that achieve consensus support within the working groups move to the Senior Arctic Officials, who consider the proposals from their respective domestic perspectives. Head of Delegation (HoD) meetings prior to the Senior Arctic Officials’ meetings allow Member State and Permanent Participant delegates, with the guidance of the SAOs, to settle any remaining contentious issues prior to their public airing at the official SAO meetings. SAOs facilitate communication between the working groups and ministers, translating scientific findings and working group objectives into political statements ready for ministerial endorsement (Graczyk and Koivurova 2015). The Council’s inclusiveness and consensus-building norms build trust among Member States, Permanent Participants, and Observers, which has contributed to the Council’s increasing efficiency and effectiveness. This, in turn, has enhanced the Council’s ability to shape policy at the national level. A 2010–2011 study found that participants in the Council’s work deemed the Council most effective in improving international cooperation within the Arctic and in raising public awareness of the Arctic (Kankaanpää and Young 2012). Young observes that the Council has “played a high profile role in amplifying the voice of the Arctic in a variety of global settings,” citing its influence in the 2001 Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (Young 2009, 79). Experts who have studied the Arctic Council generally agree that its greatest contributions have been identifying emerging issues, carrying out scientific assessments of these issues, and using the findings to influence policymaking agendas. The Arctic Council’s generation of scientific assessments has enhanced its role in linking science to policy, although such blending of science and policy can raise credibility concerns (Kankaanpää and Young 2012). The Literature on Simulation Pedagogy Research shows that by bringing theory and practice together, simulation pedagogy promises improved learning outcomes (Van Dyke, DeClair, and Loedel 2000; Asal 2005; Youde 2008). The public performance aspect of simulations demands a higher level of preparedness and engagement than the normal classroom setting. Students in programs such as the Model United Nations (MUN) must internalize the assumptions and positions of their states and organizations. Essentially, they must be able to teach the subject matter. Hazelton and Jacob (1982) studied the experience of participants in eighty-one institutions that took part in the 1982 National Model United Nations (NMUN). They found that “Instead of reading about a subject, students became directly involved as political actors, experiencing first-hand the consequences of their decisions and actions” (Hazelton and Jacob 1982, 89). Of the respondents in their survey, 98.7 percent agreed with the statement “The NMUN provides a practical side to the study of international relations and international organization that cannot be gained from textbooks or classrooms alone” (Hazelton and Jacob 1982, 96). In her study of conducting simulations inside and outside the classroom, Taylor (2013, 137–38) highlights five objectives of simulation pedagogy: 1) critical thinking, 2) moral reasoning, 3) good citizenship, 4) communication, and 5) preparing for work. Other scholars also discuss these desired outputs. Smith and Boyer (1996) claim that simulations develop students’ critical thinking and analytical skills. Based on experience facilitating a simulation of the European Union, Elias (2014, 411) contends that “students are encouraged to reflect critically on, analyze, and evaluate their experiences in order to arrive at a new understanding of the nature of EU politics.” Youde (2008) and Sasley (2010) offer perspectives on practice in moral reasoning through simulation. Youde argues that simulation quells student idealism about international politics, while Sasley highlights the value of simulation to teach students about the difficulties achieving agreement on complex issues. DiCicco (2014) and Crossley-Frolick (2010) find that simulation promotes effective oral communication skills. Zeff (2003, 273) observes the development of active citizenship and engagement skills during a Model European Union, stating that students are “more actively engaged in learning the class material because they have to defend their countries’ positions to the other participants.” Finally, Phillips and Muldoon (1996, 142) identify the benefits of using the MUN exercise in a business classroom to provide students with “the international and multicultural experiences they need to function in a global business environment.” We intended for the students of the MAC 2016 to achieve such optimal learning outcomes by encouraging them to internalize their roles, justify their positions, and reach consensus on culturally and politically sensitive issues. Visioning the Model Arctic Council A pilot Model Arctic Council hosted by the Northern (Arctic) Federal University (NArFU) in Archangel, Russia, provided the inspiration for the MAC 2016. Four University of Alaska Fairbanks graduate students participated in the Archangel program and returned with strongly positive reports. In the fall of 2014, Diddy Hitchens, who helped organize the pilot MAC, approached faculty in the Arctic and Northern Studies program and department of political science at UAF about hosting a fully international MAC during the US chairship of the Arctic Council. With enthusiastic support from the UAF administration, we committed to hosting such a program. As the United States prepared to assume its chairship of the Arctic Council, several conditions favored UAF’s sponsorship of a MAC in 2016. First, UAF would be hosting the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW), the largest gathering of international scholars researching the Arctic, in spring 2016. Thus, the world’s attention would focus on UAF as the leading Arctic research institution. We hoped to engage international scholars and policymakers who would be in Fairbanks. Second, the Council’s Senior Arctic Officials would be meeting at UAF during the same time period. This opened up the possibility of communication between the SAOs and the MAC participants and of the Arctic Council hearing the participants’ concerns. Third, the Board of Governors of the University of the Arctic would be meeting during this time frame, which would allow their participation in parts of the program. Finally, during the past two decades the Arctic Council’s work had resulted in the Arctic 8’s signing two legally binding agreements.4 Several publications in recent years had analyzed the Arctic Council’s accomplishments. Marking the twentieth anniversary of the Arctic Council with the establishment of a recurring MAC that would expand knowledge of the Arctic and the Council seemed altogether fitting. We encouraged Indigenous student engagement to mirror the Permanent Participants’ active participation in the Arctic Council and to maximize intercultural exchange. We believed that having Indigenous students represent their own ethnic groups would lend authenticity to the exercise, although we also recognized the value of their assuming roles of other actors. We allowed all students to indicate their role preferences in the application process and did our best to accommodate their wishes. Ultimately, twelve of the sixty-five participants identified as Indigenous, although not all chose to represent actual Permanent Participant groups. Indigenous students personally represented five of the six Arctic Council Permanent Participants, but we assigned several non-Indigenous students to fill those roles as well. Preparing for the MAC required establishing the Model Arctic Council Thematic Network within the UArctic, securing funding and program and hotel venues, publicizing the event, evaluating applications, choosing the Arctic Council working groups we would simulate and the issues we would address, assigning roles, providing guidance to the participants, and developing the full program. We assigned readings to prepare the students for the program and required them to submit position papers that would guide their role-playing. Faculty partners Martha McConnell and Lucy Vliestra from the US Coast Guard Academy assumed complete responsibility for organizing and overseeing the Protection of Arctic Marine Environment working group. We organized and oversaw the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) simulation. The Protection of Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) working group addressed cruise ship tourism and managing maritime traffic for marine resource development. The Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) addressed “Improving Health through Safe and Affordable Access to Household Running Water and Sewer” (WASH) and “Reducing the Incidence of Suicide in Indigenous Groups—Strengths United through Networks” (RISING-SUN), two endorsed projects of the actual SDWG. Running the Model Arctic Council The program began with welcome addresses by program organizers and University of Alaska Fairbanks administrators. In the final morning lecture, Piotr Graczyk, from the University of Tromsø–the Arctic University of Norway (UiT), provided training for the students in Arctic Council organization and process. Each other morning and during two lunches, scholars of international renown spoke on topics ranging from geopolitics and the Arctic Council’s accomplishments, to Russia’s Arctic objectives, to sea ice uses and hazards, to the framing of the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment. The simulation itself began with simultaneous meetings of SDWG and PAME. Each meeting began with delegates presenting statements based on their position papers. SDWG took up the Arctic Council–endorsed WASH project, which strives to achieve decentralized (or home-based) water and wastewater treatment, recycling, and usage efficiency. The project also promotes collaboration among health experts, water and sanitation regulators, researchers, engineers, manufacturers, and vendors to improve water accessibility and sanitation services in the north. In September 2016, Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation hosted a Water Innovations for Healthy Arctic Homes (WIHAH) conference in Anchorage that engaged these stakeholders in discussions on how to improve access to, and reduce costs of, in-home running water and sewer facilities in remote communities. The workshop also gathered and disseminated information on current accessibility of safe drinking water and sewage disposal. Working with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, we developed an assignment that would prepare the Model Arctic Council participants working on WASH for the simulation and would further the actual WASH project. We tasked students with identifying communities of three hundred or fewer residents in the regions north of 60 degrees in the Arctic 8, and with reporting on existing access to drinking water and sanitation services in these communities. We also asked students to identify the primary water and sanitation challenges facing small, remote communities in their assigned regions. Students found wide variability in access to safe drinking and washing water, with the greatest challenges in Alaska, northern Canada, and northern Russia. During the simulation, the delegates advanced a proposal that Member State and Permanent Participant delegates attend the WIHAH conference to lend their support to the WASH initiative. They also urged the establishment of metrics and best practices for monitoring implementation, led by the Arctic Council Permanent Participants. Meanwhile, the PAME working group addressed cruise ship tourism, focusing on the challenges and opportunities posed by expanding industry in the Arctic. Delegates to the PAME working group had prepared policy proposals to maximize economic benefits to local residents while minimizing environmental harms. After discussing the proposed measures as a committee of the whole, PAME conducted breakout sessions to simulate intersessional meetings of region-centered delegations.5 Following their breakout discussions, delegates resumed the full working group discussion to build consensus on their recommendations. The PAME working group offered several recommendations related to cruise ship tourism, including the adoption by all eight Arctic nations of PAME's Arctic Marine Tourism Project's best practice guidelines, creation of additional Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Arctic, ratification of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO's) recommendations on ballast water and sediments, improved communication between Arctic communities and the tourism industry, harnessing of local knowledge to improve tourism practices, and preferential hiring of Indigenous peoples in the tourism industry. The next afternoon, the working groups addressed their second topics. SDWG now considered the Arctic Council–endorsed project RISING-SUN. Students assigned to this project had researched the suicide rates, availability of mental health resources, and information on the effectiveness of programs in reducing suicide rates in their assigned regions. Their task aligned with the actual RISING-SUN project, which seeks to identify programs throughout the circumpolar north that have shown promise in reducing suicide. We knew this topic was sensitive, but we anticipated that students would find researching and collaborating on such a pressing issue deeply meaningful. Personal narratives about suicides in students’ communities, references to colonial histories, and allegations of government indifference to the crisis created a charged atmosphere in the SDWG simulation. Yet students worked through the tension, with some displaying remarkably effective negotiation and communication skills. They came to consensus, modeling the norms of the Arctic Council. Delegates approved the action plan of the actual RISING-SUN project and urged states to provide funding to ensure broad participation of Indigenous individuals in the program. The students’ internalization of their assigned roles resembled the active engagement of students in simulations reported in the literature (Pettenger, West, and Young 2014). On the other hand, the personal attachment to the subject matter that some, particularly Indigenous students, experienced distinguished this from other programs and warrants further consideration. We discuss below the challenges and opportunities this personal connection with the issues presents to organizers of MAC programs, and we offer recommendations. PAME now addressed the management of resource development–related maritime traffic in an increasingly ice-free Arctic. The students considered how PAME could foster international cooperation leading to sustainable development of marine resources. In their policy papers, students proposed such measures as banning the use and transport of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic, improving ballast waste management to avoid introduction of invasive species, and using technology to promote safety. Working group recommendations included measures to reduce the use of heavy fuel oil, continued dialogue between the Arctic Coast Guard and Permanent Participants on community safety, use of hydrographic mapping to improve navigation safety, and developing a universal messaging system to communicate maritime conditions. In two mock Senior Arctic Official meetings, student SAOs presented their respective states’ positions on the projects under discussion. Project leads whom the students had selected for the respective working group topics—WASH, RISING-SUN, cruise ship tourism, and managing maritime traffic—then presented their recommendations to the student SAOs. The SAOs listened attentively and provided constructive feedback. The strongest student SAO performances illustrated the power of simulation pedagogy. Their deep immersion in the process, pointed questioning, active listening, and rapid responses moved the forum to consensus on each of the four agenda items. These strikingly skillful performances coincided with McIntosh’s (2001) and Zeff’s (2003) findings of enhanced learning outcomes in simulations, owing to the students’ deep engagement in the subject matter. After the second mock SAO meeting, project leads and student SAOs hammered out the wording of their final recommendations, which became the Fairbanks Declaration. The simulation culminated in the Ministerial meeting, during which each country’s Minister and the head of delegation for each Permanent Participant group, in accordance with Arctic Council norms, delivered a statement on the Arctic Council’s accomplishments during the US chairship (in our case, during the MAC) and on future directions for the Arctic Council. The Ministers then endorsed and signed the Fairbanks Declaration. In an especially satisfying symbolic act, the student US Minister passed the gavel to the student Finnish Minister, who enthusiastically accepted the chairship. At the closing ceremony two days later,6 students briefed the audience of Arctic Council and University of the Arctic representatives, UAF administrators, and other dignitaries on the work they had performed during the MAC, and they read the Fairbanks Declaration. Admiral Robert Papp, the US Coast Guard Commandant, US Ambassador David Balton, UArctic President Lars Kullerud, and UArctic Board of Governors Chair Brian Rogers congratulated the students on their accomplishments and on their commitment to a healthy and sustainable Arctic region. Organizers recognized participants who had distinguished themselves with exceptional policy papers and performances during the MAC with special commendations. All students received certificates of participation and personal congratulations from the guest speakers and program organizers as they crossed the stage to accept their certificates. After the ceremony, Ambassador Balton asked program organizers for a copy of the Fairbanks Declaration, saying he planned to use it as a discussion starter at the opening of the actual Arctic Council’s SAO meeting the next morning. At a reception after the closing ceremony, Arctic Council and UArctic dignitaries and university administrators, as well as other special guests, mingled freely with MAC participants, allowing students to engage these practitioners on issues of vital importance in the Arctic. That evening, US State Department officials invited several students to attend “working dinners” with Arctic Council delegates, which led to further networking and mentoring opportunities. On the following day, MAC participants attended the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW), which engaged policymakers, scientists, and diplomats in discussions on the intersection between science and policy in issues ranging from economic development, to national and human security, to environmental stewardship in the Arctic. MAC participants noted striking similarities between the MAC and the ASSW in terms of the concerns raised and the emphasis on interdisciplinarity and collaboration. Many appreciated the opportunity to converse with internationally renowned researchers and political leaders. The synergy among the MAC, the Arctic Council SAO meeting, and the ASSW validated our decision to align the timing of the MAC with the SAO meeting and the ASSW. Our experience corresponds with other studies that have shown that student interaction with policymakers enhances their active learning (Hatipoglu, Müftüler-Baç, and Murphy 2014, 400). Assessing the Model Arctic Council We collected both qualitative and quantitative data from a range of sources to evaluate the merit of simulation pedagogy, investigate the extent to which we met our stated program objectives, and learn participants’ perspectives on the program. The qualitative data include our own direct observations of participant engagement throughout the program, notes taken during a post-simulation debriefing session,7 an open-ended question on the preliminary survey asking students to share additional thoughts on the program until that point,8 and a few unsolicited e-mails from participants describing their experiences in the program. Two surveys of the participants provide the quantitative data, the first taken immediately following the simulation, before the final program events. We refer to this survey below as “the first survey.” From this survey, we derived responses to forty questions, including the open-ended question. The response rate was 91 percent. We generated the second survey in SurveyMonkey and distributed it by e-mail approximately two weeks after the program’s end. We refer to this survey below as “the second survey.” It asked twenty questions, and our response rate was 74 percent. We organize our results from the data analyses into three sections below. The first section evaluates the general merit of this simulation, comparing our experience with other assessments of simulation pedagogy. The second section identifies the extent to which we met each program objective. The third section analyzes additional feedback and observations, with an eye toward improving the experience for participants of future Model Arctic Council programs and other simulations. Evaluating the Merit of Simulation Pedagogy Our review of the literature reveals several benefits of simulation pedagogy. Our data support others’ findings that simulation can be an effective means for teaching content, potentially superior to other methods. Our second survey asked students to rate their level of agreement with the statement “I learned about the working group projects or issues through simulating Arctic Council meetings.” On a scale from one (strongly disagree) to five (strongly agree),9 students’ mean response was 4.63, indicating that most students strongly agreed that they left the program with an enhanced understanding of Arctic Council working groups. On the same survey, we asked students to rate their level of agreement with the statement “I learned more about the Arctic Council from the simulation than I think I would have from merely taking a class on the subject.” The mean response was 4.31, indicating strong appreciation of the simulation method.10 This corresponds with Elias’s (2014, 414) finding that students felt their understanding of concepts increased with their participation in a simulation. We also asked students to rate their level of agreement with the statement “Having to perform in the role of a delegate to the Arctic Council forced me to internalize that state or group’s position more than I would have by merely reading about the topic.” The mean response to this question was 4.44, affirming the value of performing in roles, rather than simply reading about actors’ positions. We conclude that the simulation effectively taught students about the working groups, and that students perceived the mode of teaching to be superior to conventional classroom methods. Because expertise and experience levels of undergraduate and graduate students differ, we wondered whether student evaluations of simulation pedagogy differed by academic level. We ran independent samples t-tests on the questions described above and discovered that the average score on each question was higher for undergraduates than graduates, but the only statistically significant difference (at the 10 percent level) appeared in response to the statement “I learned about the working group projects or issues through simulating Arctic Council meetings.” Table 1 reports these findings. We therefore conclude that there were no major differences between the learning outcomes of undergraduate and graduate students. As one graduate student put it in an e-mail to us after the program, “There is just no substitute for these immersive learning experiences like MAC.” Table 1 Merit of simulation pedagogy by academic level Statements from second survey, with level of agreement ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Mean response  t-statistic  p-value  Undergraduate  Graduate  “I learned about the working group projects or issues through simulating Arctic Council meetings.”  4.85  4.46  1.93  0.06  “I learned more about the Arctic Council from the simulation than I think I would have from merely taking a class on the subject.”  4.55  4.14  1.42  0.16  “Having to perform in the role of a delegate to the Arctic Council forced me to internalize that state or group’s position more than I would have by merely reading about the topic.”  4.60  4.32  1.20  0.24  N = 48 (20 undergraduates and 28 graduates).  Equal variances are assumed for each test.  Each test is two-tailed.  Statements from second survey, with level of agreement ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Mean response  t-statistic  p-value  Undergraduate  Graduate  “I learned about the working group projects or issues through simulating Arctic Council meetings.”  4.85  4.46  1.93  0.06  “I learned more about the Arctic Council from the simulation than I think I would have from merely taking a class on the subject.”  4.55  4.14  1.42  0.16  “Having to perform in the role of a delegate to the Arctic Council forced me to internalize that state or group’s position more than I would have by merely reading about the topic.”  4.60  4.32  1.20  0.24  N = 48 (20 undergraduates and 28 graduates).  Equal variances are assumed for each test.  Each test is two-tailed.  View Large We did receive constructive criticism on the quality of the simulation. First, a few students reported having felt uncertain about how closely they were to adhere to the official positions of their assigned roles. We recognize that we should have provided more guidance on effective role-playing, stressing that students should advocate on behalf of their assigned roles, rather than based on their own personal convictions. The tension between students advocating on behalf of their assigned roles and on their own personal behalf is a common problem of simulation exercises, as identified in the literature (Crossley-Frolick 2010). Second, some students thought that the simulation should have been longer to improve its authenticity. One student said this would have helped students engage in “extended and fruitful discussions without the working groups feeling time pressured.” Time and financial constraints, as well as our desire to balance the simulation with guest lectures and local excursions, kept us from lengthening the simulation. Third, a few participants noted that important roles in the Arctic Council went unfilled. Several vacancies occurred, owing to last-minute cancellations. We filled most of these roles with volunteers who took on second roles, and they performed admirably. In one oversight, we neglected to assign students to the roles of representatives from Greenland and the Faroe Islands, who also participate in Arctic Council meetings. (We did assign the role of the delegate from Denmark.) We filled the role of the Greenland representative at the Senior Arctic Officials’ meeting with an interested student approximately midway through the program. Our findings correspond with the positive evaluations in the literature on simulation pedagogy.11 In particular, our data aligned with Hazelton and Jacob’s large study in which participants overwhelmingly agreed that the Model United Nations learning experience surpassed that “gained from textbooks or classrooms alone” (1982, 96). Students’ preparation to play their assigned roles in the MAC and the public performance requirement likely contributed to their assessments of enhanced learning outcomes, conclusions that align with other studies of simulations (Zeff 2003; Crossley-Frolick 2010). Meeting Objectives of the Model Arctic Council In addition to evaluating the general merit of simulation pedagogy, we examine the extent to which we have met our program objectives. Below, we analyze our ability to achieve each goal, drawing from our quantitative and qualitative data. Objective 1: Develop Students’ Knowledge of the Arctic as a Region, of Circumpolar Politics, and of Northern Indigenous Peoples To assess knowledge acquisition, we analyzed responses to a statement on each survey. The statement in the second survey was “I learned about the various issues and challenges facing the Arctic region through participating in the Model Arctic Council.” The average response was positive, at 4.48, suggesting that students felt they gained substantial knowledge on Arctic-related concerns. The statement in the first survey read “Participation in the MAC has allowed me to learn more about different cultures.” The average response was also strongly positive, at 4.51, indicating substantial learning about various cultures, which we presume includes Indigenous cultures since they were a key component of meeting discussions. Based on these results, we believe that we met this objective. Qualitative comments from the first survey affirm that the MAC developed student knowledge on Arctic issues. One student reported that the MAC “certainly accomplished its goals of being an educational experience.” Another student wrote, “MAC gave me an opportunity to glimpse the complex socio-political landscape that comprises the Arctic.” Another noted that the MAC educated specifically on environmental protection of the Arctic and the rights of Indigenous peoples. None of the respondents stated—on the survey or in the debriefing—that the MAC was ineffective in developing knowledge on the Arctic or its peoples. We included demographic questions in the second survey so we could disaggregate the data by various demographic categories. We assumed that Indigenous participants, many of whom came from the Arctic region, arrived at the MAC with substantial knowledge on the Arctic. We therefore wondered whether they gained as much as other students. We calculated the average score on the second survey statement by Indigeneity and conducted an independent samples t-test to determine whether Indigenous and non-Indigenous students’ responses differed significantly. Table 2 presents these results. The average score was high for both groups; interestingly, it was slightly higher for Indigenous students (4.56) than for non-Indigenous students (4.46). However, the difference was not statistically significant. Table 2 Student knowledge of the Arctic by indigeneity Statement from second survey, with level of agreement ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Mean response  t-statistic  p-value  Indigenous  Non-Indigenous  “I learned about the various issues and challenges facing the Arctic region through participating in the Model Arctic Council.”  4.56  4.46  –0.39  0.70  N = 48 (9 Indigenous students and 39 non-Indigenous students).  Equal variances are assumed for each test.  Each test is two-tailed.  Statement from second survey, with level of agreement ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Mean response  t-statistic  p-value  Indigenous  Non-Indigenous  “I learned about the various issues and challenges facing the Arctic region through participating in the Model Arctic Council.”  4.56  4.46  –0.39  0.70  N = 48 (9 Indigenous students and 39 non-Indigenous students).  Equal variances are assumed for each test.  Each test is two-tailed.  View Large These affirmative findings related to our first objective for the MAC align well with other studies on the simulation method’s value in teaching content. MAC participants’ perceptions of having acquired knowledge of issues and challenges in the Arctic corresponded with Van Dyke, DeClair, and Loedel’s (2000) findings on the Model European Union’s value in teaching students about the complex challenges the EU faces. The MAC students’ perceptions of learning about other cultures through the MAC experience resemble Phillips and Muldoon’s (1996) findings that the Model United Nations exercise provided students with multicultural experiences that help them in interacting in a global business environment. Objective 2: Increase Students’ Understanding of Arctic Council Objectives and Processes Second, we sought to increase participants’ knowledge of the objectives and processes of the Arctic Council. On the second survey, we asked students to indicate their level of agreement with the statement “My general knowledge of the Arctic Council has improved as a result of participating in the Model Arctic Council.” The average score was 4.60, representing a strong perception of knowledge gain. Thus, we believe we met this objective. Because the MAC program consisted of several components, including the simulation, plenary speakers, excursions, and other events, we wondered whether simulating the Arctic Council meetings, in particular, could explain the high perceptions of knowledge acquired about the Arctic Council. That is, did learning about the Arctic Council occur within the simulation? We conducted a bivariate correlation between responses from two questions on the second survey, one on learning about the working group projects and issues through simulating the Arctic Council and the other on learning about the Arctic Council through participation in the MAC. Table 3 summarizes these results. We find a strong, positive, and significant correlation of 0.668: Students who reported that they learned through simulation were more likely to report knowledge improvement on the Arctic Council. Table 3 Simulation learning and knowledge improvement Statements from second survey, with level of agreement ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Pearson correlation  p-value  “I learned about the working group projects or issues through simulating Arctic Council meetings.”  0.668  0.000  and      “My general knowledge of the Arctic Council has improved as a result of participating in the Model Arctic Council.”      N = 48.      Test is two-tailed.      Statements from second survey, with level of agreement ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Pearson correlation  p-value  “I learned about the working group projects or issues through simulating Arctic Council meetings.”  0.668  0.000  and      “My general knowledge of the Arctic Council has improved as a result of participating in the Model Arctic Council.”      N = 48.      Test is two-tailed.      View Large These additional findings of learning gains through the simulation method agree with published studies on simulation pedagogy, including Hazelton and Jacob’s (1982) and Zeff’s (2003) findings on the benefits of personal and active engagement with the subject matter. Objective 3: Prepare Students to Assume Leadership Roles in the Circumpolar North The knowledge participants acquired on Arctic conditions and challenges, along with their deeper understanding of Indigenous cultures and perspectives, will position them well to take on leadership roles. We also aimed to help students develop skills that would increase their effectiveness in such leadership positions. We asked students on the first survey to report their level of interest in strengthening their public speaking, negotiation, leadership, and other skills. On a scale from one (lowest interest) to five (highest interest), the mean response was 3.54, indicating a medium level of interest. To determine the extent to which we accomplished this objective, we asked students to report their level of agreement with two statements on the second survey: “I developed negotiation skills as a result of participating in the Model Arctic Council” and “I developed problem solving skills as a result of participating in the Model Arctic Council.” On average, students’ level of agreement with these statements mirrored their level of interest. The mean response was 3.77 for the first statement and 3.67 for the second statement. During our debriefing session, a student noted satisfaction “that this generation is the future,” suggesting confidence in fellow participants’ abilities to tackle challenges in the Arctic. Furthermore, in an unsolicited e-mail, a student commented that the program expanded her confidence in expressing herself on issues of vital importance in the Arctic. She wrote, “(A)s the indigenous suicide crisis in Ontario has been making the news and people have been talking about it this week, there have been several occasions that I have been able to share what I have learned at MAC with people here in my town to help them better understand.” We believe that participants gained knowledge and experience that strengthened their leadership capacities, even if the levels of their self-reported interest and assessment of leadership skills acquisition were only moderate. From our own observations, we surmise that the MAC fostered the development of leadership-related skills, including the ability to communicate effectively on challenges facing the Arctic, and it helped build students’ self-confidence in doing so. This coincides with Van Dyke, DeClair, and Loedel’s (2000) observation that simulation enhances leadership skills. Moreover, we agree with Taylor’s (2013, 138) assessment that simulations help students overcome oversimplified notions about motivations and capabilities of leaders across the world. Objective 4: Enhance Student and Faculty Collaboration among University of the Arctic Institutions Our fourth goal for the MAC was to enhance student and faculty collaboration among the University of the Arctic institutions. The UArctic Council’s June 2015 approval of the Model Arctic Council Thematic Network institutionalized the MAC within UArctic and ensured a network of faculty to support its continuity. Second, the MAC itself brought together students and faculty from UArctic (as well as non-UArctic) institutions. Forty-two of the sixty-five student participants attend seventeen UArctic institutions. Moreover, eleven professors from six universities, most UArctic members, also participated in the program. Third, at the time of this writing, a US partner institution has initiated a collaborative project on the Arctic that will engage faculty and students at UArctic and other institutions. MAC faculty are also already planning for the next program, to be held in Finland in fall 2018. Given these developments, we feel we have laid the foundation for deepening relationships among students and faculty at UArctic institutions. Strengthening the Model Arctic Council and Other Simulations In this section, we analyze additional points students raised in the open-ended question of the first survey and during the post-simulation debriefing, with the goal of improving future MAC programs and other collegiate simulations. Inadequate Preparation on Arctic Council Processes and Norms We recognize that the students were not as prepared for their participation in the simulation as well as we had hoped, a challenge that other simulators discuss (Crossley-Frolick 2010; Butcher 2012). We assigned several readings on the Arctic Council itself, on current Arctic conditions, and on topics the Arctic Council addresses. We required all participants to submit position papers on their roles prior to the Model Arctic Council and informed them that they would present short statements drawn from those papers at the openings of the sessions. We encouraged participants to seek guidance from faculty members at their respective institutions. The participants from the University of Akureyri, Iceland, benefited from an ideal preparation arrangement in which university experts provided strong mentorship. Students at UAF and the US Coast Guard Academy prepared for the MAC within courses. Ultimately, however, student preparation for the MAC varied considerably. We also recognize shortcomings in our own process to prepare students. We had planned to provide a series of webinars to prepare the students for the MAC process, but we were not able to produce these, owing to organizational and logistical constraints. The training provided on the first morning of the program was not long enough to prepare the students sufficiently for the negotiating components of the simulation. We anticipated receiving feedback to this effect. Our surveys asked participants to evaluate the instruction provided prior to and during the MAC. Regarding prior preparation, we asked students on the first survey to evaluate the clarity of instructions and information given in advance of the MAC. Their average response was 3.84, indicating moderately clear instruction. On the second survey, we asked students to indicate their level of agreement with the following statement: “The Model Arctic Council organizing committee provided enough resources before the start of the program for me to participate successfully in the program.” The average response was 3.77. Although this is moderately strong, we recognize that we should have done more. As one student stated, “While there were some fantastic opportunities for learning, many, myself included, would have benefitted from better guided preparation ahead of their arrival at MAC.” We plan to offer webinars for students to prepare for future MACs. Regarding guidance during the MAC, our first survey asked about the organization of the on-site training session; the average response was 3.88. We recognize that we relied too heavily on this one training session at the opening of the MAC. On the same survey, we asked students to evaluate the clarity of instructions and information given throughout the MAC; the average response was 3.84. Given the moderately strong evaluations on clarity of instruction throughout the MAC, we plan to strengthen the on-site training sessions and instructions throughout future MACs. In retrospect, we recognize that we did not prepare the students sufficiently to participate in a simulation of an institution that operates based on a high level of trust and on consensus, rather than majoritarian, decision-making. Delegates to the Arctic Council note that interpersonal trust has developed among long-term participants, as these individuals have come to know and respect one another over the years. Such familiarity and trust fosters amiable discussions and eases consensus building. Heated discussions are almost unheard of in Arctic Council working group sessions.12 Some MAC participants expressed themselves forcefully during the simulation, as one would expect in the more competitive Model United Nations atmosphere or in a debate. Such intensity may appear disrespectful, especially when addressing highly sensitive issues. In fact, we realized later that students with simulation experience typically adopted more adversarial demeanors, rather than using the more collaborative, consensus-building tone typical of Arctic Council discussions. One student commented during the debriefing that the program needed to stress the importance of word choice and incorporate training in non-confrontational questioning. We now recognize that we should have stressed the Arctic Council’s trust and consensus-building norms in our training session. Students will choose the extent to which they prepare themselves, but we encourage all simulation coordinators to provide ample guidance and materials before the simulation event and clear and focused on-site training at the start of the event to maximize the richness and quality of the experience. Insufficient Guidance in Effective Communication and Cultural Sensitivity Students also expressed the need for more training on effective communication and cultural sensitivity. Several students reported on the first survey and during the debriefing the need for training in cultural understanding. One student wrote on the survey, “There is a pressing need for cultural sensitivity prior to MAC and monitoring during. The sensitivity is imperative when you are not only dealing with Indigenous peoples in the Arctic, but with students who have lived these experiences on a daily basis.” Similarly, another student stated, “I would strongly encourage the incorporation of cultural sensitivity and use of language within the simulations. In addition, I think it is crucial that it be acknowledged that we are going to be discussing topics that might be sensitive to people in the room, and the need to be respectful in our use of language.” US and other students’ use of the words “tribe,” “Native,” “Eskimo,” and “Indian” offended some Canadian students. These terms are part of the accepted and official terminology in Alaska and elsewhere in the United States but are deemed disrespectful in Canada. Meanwhile, others expressed anxiety that they might inadvertently offend. During the debriefing, one student mentioned being fearful of saying “the wrong thing” while representing a Permanent Participant. In an e-mail after the MAC, a student conveyed feeling “ashamed and apologetic to be coming from a situation of such privilege” and unqualified to discuss issues related to Indigenous communities. Given this feedback, we wondered whether Indigenous students’ assessment of the quality of the educational experience in the MAC differed from that of other students. We were relieved to find that students generally felt that the MAC was a high-quality learning experience. Indigenous students reported a slightly lower average score (4.44) than non-Indigenous students (4.62), but the difference was not statistically significant. Table 4 highlights these results. Table 4 Program quality by indigeneity Statement from second survey, ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Mean response  t-statistic  p-value  Indigenous  Non-Indigenous  “The Model Arctic Council provided a high quality educational experience.”  4.44  4.62  0.559  0.579  N = 48 (9 Indigenous students and 39 non-Indigenous students).  Equal variances are assumed for each test.  Each test is two-tailed.  Statement from second survey, ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Mean response  t-statistic  p-value  Indigenous  Non-Indigenous  “The Model Arctic Council provided a high quality educational experience.”  4.44  4.62  0.559  0.579  N = 48 (9 Indigenous students and 39 non-Indigenous students).  Equal variances are assumed for each test.  Each test is two-tailed.  View Large Based on our own observations and on student feedback, we fully recognize the need for guidance in effective communication and cultural sensitivity, including awareness of potential responses to certain terminology. We suggest that future MAC program organizers and coordinators of other simulations incorporate such training prior to the simulation, given the expected diversity of students participating and the culturally sensitive issues addressed. Language Barrier Challenge The final insight from the qualitative comments concerned language barriers. One student wrote on the first survey that the simulation experience was intense and difficult because English was her or his second language. Others reported on the survey and in the debriefing challenges associated with speaking in a non-native language. Some students noted that while they are fluent in English, they found it difficult to participate effectively, because people spoke so quickly and in such rapid succession. They had no time to process others’ comments before the discussion moved on. Slowing the pace of the proceedings would have helped them engage more fully. Given these comments, we were interested in whether non-native and native English speakers differed in their views of the program. Table 5 offers these results. The surveys showed a modest, statistically significant difference between the two groups. Although they had a favorable opinion of the program overall, non-native English speakers reported somewhat less positive views than native English speakers. Non-native speakers reported an average score of 4.35 on the second survey, while native speakers of English reported an average of 4.75, when asked to indicate their level of agreement with the statement “The Model Arctic Council provided a high-quality educational experience.” Likewise, non-native English speakers reported a score of 4.75, while native speakers reported a score of 4.96, when asked their level of agreement with the statement “I would recommend the Model Arctic Council to other students.” In both cases, the difference was significant at the 10 percent level. Thus, while both groups rated the experience very positively and both overwhelmingly said they would recommend the program, non-native speakers of English as a group expressed slightly less enthusiasm. Table 5 Program evaluation by language Statement from second survey, ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Mean response  t-statistic  p-value  Non-native speaker  Native speaker  “The Model Arctic Council provided a high quality educational experience.”  4.35  4.75  –1.697  0.096  “I would recommend the Model Arctic Council to other students.”  4.75  4.96  –1.916  0.062  N = 48 (20 non-native speakers and 28 native speakers).  Equal variances are assumed for each test.  Each test is two-tailed.  Statement from second survey, ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Mean response  t-statistic  p-value  Non-native speaker  Native speaker  “The Model Arctic Council provided a high quality educational experience.”  4.35  4.75  –1.697  0.096  “I would recommend the Model Arctic Council to other students.”  4.75  4.96  –1.916  0.062  N = 48 (20 non-native speakers and 28 native speakers).  Equal variances are assumed for each test.  Each test is two-tailed.  View Large Despite this constructive criticism, students gave the MAC high marks and expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to participate in the program. Of the forty-six qualitative comments from the first survey, forty (87 percent) included at least one positive statement. One student remarked, “This was the greatest in my academic career so far.” Another student reported, “I’ve relished every activity thus far and am eager to continue my Arctic and Arctic Council education beyond MAC.” Several comments expressed appreciation for the intercultural exchange. One respondent stated, “MAC gave me an opportunity to … make many new friends and forge relationships that will enable me to further my academic career, and that have made me a better person.” Another student mentioned the ability to learn more about American culture. During the debriefing, one student indicated that having many different perspectives conveyed during the MAC was “useful” and “inspiring.” Thus, we conclude that students perceived intercultural exchange as a significant benefit of the program. Training on the processes and culture of the Arctic Council in advance of the students’ arrival will prepare students for optimal performance and will ease anxiety and tension during future MACs. We recommend, as well, at least one half day of orientation and training activities on-site. Such activities will foster the familiarity and trust that eases consensus building during Arctic Council sessions. Training sessions should include components on effective communication and cultural sensitivity. We recommend to coordinators of the MAC and other simulations involving native and non-native speakers to take measures to enhance effective communication. Session chairs could encourage participants to speak clearly and slowly, and could pause before calling on the next person to speak, asking whether others want to speak before moving on, and waiting a few seconds before concluding that all who wish to speak have done so. Conclusion Effective pedagogy is essential to expanding public awareness of the critically important issues facing the Arctic and to improving understanding of the Arctic Council’s role in addressing these challenges. Our experience with simulation pedagogy correlates with the positive findings published on Model United Nations and Model European Union programs. Because the MAC is a new initiative, we have been eager to understand how successful the MAC 2016 was as a pedagogical method and in meeting program objectives. We also wanted to know how we could improve the program for future MACs, based on students’ feedback. We have found that students perceived high learning outcomes through the MAC, in accordance with the literature, and we conclude that the MAC met its four objectives. We found that to improve the program, we should strengthen the pre- and early program training sessions and address communication and cultural sensitivity. Not only did the MAC 2016 succeed in meeting its own objectives, it furthered the US government’s goals for its chairship: 1) increasing awareness within the United States of the US role in the Arctic, 2) strengthening the Arctic Council, and 3) launching long-term initiatives that would continue far beyond the US chairship. The MAC 2016 certainly grew awareness within the United States of its role in the Arctic, through the direct participation of twenty-three students from eight American universities. We anticipate multiplier effects at those students’ institutions and in their networks. Since the MAC 2016 concluded, students have communicated on social media and by e-mail to alert one another of various developments in the Arctic and to report on subsequent Arctic-related programs in which they have engaged. The MAC strengthens the Arctic Council by expanding awareness of its work and by building leadership capacities in students who may be future delegates to the Arctic Council. We anticipate the MAC 2016 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks becoming part of the legacy of the US chairship of the Arctic Council, and we look forward to its becoming increasingly institutionalized during subsequent chairships. Footnotes 1 The University of the Arctic is an official Observer of the Arctic Council. 2 The Arctic 8 states include Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States. 3 In total, the Arctic Council has six working groups: Arctic Contaminants Arctic Program (ACAP); Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP); Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF); Emergency Prevention, Preparedness, and Response (EPPR); Protection of Arctic Marine Environment (PAME); and Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG). 4 These include the Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic and the Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic. 5 Organizers divided the students into delegations based on three maritime regions: 1) the Bering Strait, Chukchi Sea, and Beaufort Sea; 2) the Davis Strait, Baffin Bay, and Northwest Passage; and 3) the Norwegian Sea, Barents Sea, and Northern Sea Route. 6 The program included a day of sightseeing and an excursion to Chena Hot Springs Resort, a one-hour drive from Fairbanks. 7 Several scholars note the importance of debriefing after the simulation in order to reflect on the process, learning objectives, and limitations (Steinwachs 1992; Fritzsche et al. 2004; Asal 2005; Crossley-Frolick 2010). 8 Forty-six of the fifty-nine respondents chose to respond to this question. 9 We analyze results from survey questions using this scale unless otherwise noted. 10 Some students took a course related to the Arctic in the semester preceding or during the semester of the MAC. 11 In contrast to our finding, Raymond (2010) questions the prospect of simulation pedagogy to yield positive learning outcomes. 12 This is from a personal communication with Piotr Graczyk, Poland’s Observer delegate to the Arctic Council. Acknowledgments We are grateful for funding and institutional support from Arctic Social Sciences and the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) at the National Science Foundation (NSF); the University of the Arctic (UArctic); and University of Alaska Fairbanks administrators Brian Rogers, Mike Powers, Mike Sfraga, John Eichelberger, and Todd Sherman. We also wish to acknowledge our team of Arctic and Northern Studies graduate students Kelsey Aho, Troy Bouffard, Liz Bowman, and Ryan Hallsten; and UAF staff Donna Anger, Marie-Sylvestre Olesen, and Laura Schneider, whose assistance was integral to the success of the Model Arctic Council 2016. References Asal Victor. 2005. “ Playing Games with International Relations.” International Studies Perspectives  6: 359– 73. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS   Bloom Evan T. 1999. “ Establishment of the Arctic Council.” American Journal of International Law  93: 712– 32. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS   Butcher Charity. 2012. “ Teaching Foreign Policy Decision-Making Processes Using Role-Playing Simulations: The Case of US-Iranian Relations.” International Studies Perspectives  13: 176– 94. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS   Crossley-Frolick Katy A. 2010. “ Beyond Model UN: Simulating Multi-Level, Multi-Actor Diplomacy Using the Millennium Development Goals.” International Studies Perspectives  11: 184– 201. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS   Dewailly Eric, Nantel Albert, Bruneau Suzanne, Laliberte Claire, Ferron Liliane, Gingras Suzanne. 1992. “ Breast Milk Contamination by PCDDs, PCDFs and PCBs in Arctic Quebec: A Preliminary Assessment.” Chemosphere  25: 1245–4 9. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS   DiCicco Jonathan M. 2014. “ National Security Council: Simulating Decision-Making Dilemmas in Real Time.” International Studies Perspectives  15: 438– 58. 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Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Studies Perspectives Oxford University Press

The Model Arctic Council: Educating Postsecondary Students on Arctic Issues and Governance through Simulation

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Abstract

Abstract The Arctic Council is the primary forum for fostering cooperation and addressing concerns in the Arctic, yet few know of its work. The Model Arctic Council (MAC) is a simulation of the Arctic Council designed to address this awareness deficit. It places graduate and undergraduate students in roles as Arctic Council delegates, challenging them to collaborate to tackle the Arctic’s most pressing issues. This article explains the MAC initiative and the MAC 2016 event held at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). It evaluates participants’ qualitative comments and survey responses from the MAC 2016 and finds that the program was effective in developing student knowledge of the Arctic; increasing student understanding of Arctic Council objectives and processes; preparing students for leadership roles in the circumpolar north; and encouraging student-faculty collaboration among University of the Arctic (UArctic) institutions. To improve future MAC programs, the organizing committee should strengthen the pre- and early program training sessions, clarifying Arctic Council processes and norms and stressing effective communication skills and cultural sensitivity. Model Arctic Council, Arctic Council, simulation, pedagogy The year 2016 marked a quarter of a century since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the concept of the circumpolar north as a region. It also marked the twentieth anniversary of the Arctic Council, the high-level intergovernmental forum established to foster cooperation and address common concerns in the Arctic (Young 2005). Despite heightened media attention to the Arctic and increased research on myriad Arctic topics, the general public remains poorly informed on the challenges facing the region in the twenty-first century. The public understands even less about the Arctic Council. The Model Arctic Council (MAC) is a simulation of the Arctic Council’s process and activity designed to address these awareness deficits. The MAC’s objectives are (1) to develop students’ knowledge of the Arctic as a region, circumpolar politics, and northern Indigenous peoples; (2) to increase students’ understanding of Arctic Council objectives and processes; (3) to prepare students to assume leadership roles in the circumpolar north; and (4) to further student and faculty collaboration within the University of the Arctic (UArctic), a network of universities and other institutions engaged in education and research on the Arctic.1 The MAC places students in roles as Arctic Council delegates, challenging them to tackle the Arctic’s most pressing issues. We conceived the MAC as a recurring program, organized within a UArctic Thematic Network. We envision the program rotating among the Arctic 8 states2 and taking place every second year at a UArctic member institution in the country chairing the Arctic Council. Tying the MAC’s rotation to that of the chairship of the Arctic Council allows the MAC host institution to coordinate the timing of the event with Arctic Council meetings. In 2016, the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) hosted, and we anticipate that a university in Finland, as the next Arctic Council chair, will host in 2018. Selected from over one hundred applicants, sixty-five students representing fourteen birth countries and thirty-two universities participated in the MAC 2016. They acted in their assigned roles as Member State, Permanent Participant, or Observer delegates to one of two working groups of the Arctic Council—the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) working group or the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG);3 or as Senior Arctic Officials (SAOs) or Ministers of the Arctic Council Member States. The students simulated working group meetings, followed by SAO meetings and finally a Ministerial meeting. Several internationally recognized scholars and policymakers lectured on a variety of Arctic-related topics during the weeklong program. The MAC differs significantly from simulations of other international institutions. The MAC is a co-curricular, international, multiday simulation, rather than a classroom exercise. The program’s scope and student expectations differ from those of many other simulations. Additionally, the MAC process reflects the Arctic Council’s distinct mandate and norms, avoiding security issues and operating on consensus rather than majoritarianism. Students must use the art of persuasion and build trust to reach unanimity on issues, rather than competing in an adversarial manner, bartering, or forming alliances. Additionally, Indigenous groups exert more influence within the Arctic Council than in other international institutions. The consensus-driven approach, coupled with the unprecedented involvement of Indigenous groups in the Arctic Council, requires cultural sensitivity and respectful communication, especially because many student delegates come from the circumpolar north and thus have personal experience with the topics discussed. After providing an overview of the Arctic and the Arctic Council, reviewing the literature on simulation pedagogy, and discussing preparations for and implementation of the MAC, this article evaluates the MAC’s effectiveness as a pedagogical tool to educate on the Arctic and Arctic Council, in meeting predefined program objectives, and in satisfying students’ expectations. To do so, we analyze both qualitative and quantitative data reflecting student participants’ perceptions. Qualitative comments and survey results indicate a high level of satisfaction with the program, aligning with previous studies of simulations. Of the participants who responded to a post-program survey, 83 percent strongly agreed or agreed that they had learned more about the Arctic Council during the program than they would have in a conventional classroom setting. Fully 98 percent said they would recommend the MAC program to others. The novelty of the program, the work on Arctic Council priorities, and the remarkable cultural diversity of the students heightened the learning experience. The Arctic and the Arctic Council In recent decades, especially since the end of the Cold War, scientists, policymakers, and the media have increasingly focused their attention on the Arctic. In the 1970s, scientists documented contaminants in the Arctic food web. By the late 1980s, research found polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other toxins in seals, walruses, whales, and polar bears (Norstrom et al. 1988). A 1989–1990 study in northern Quebec found dangerous levels of PCBs in Inuit mothers’ breast milk (Dewailly et al. 1992). Research has linked the emission of contaminants from agricultural and industrial activities around the globe to high levels of contaminants in the Arctic (Macdonald et al. 2000). Since the mid-twentieth century, the Soviet Union, in particular, has disposed of large amounts of contaminants into the Arctic as well. Meanwhile, scientists have recognized the Arctic as a bellwether of climate change. Melting glaciers, sea ice, and permafrost have generated calls for concerted action to mitigate the impacts of these warming effects. Greenland’s shrinking icecap and melt-off from other glaciers are raising sea levels, threatening coastal regions worldwide. Melting permafrost in the Arctic and sub-Arctic damages local infrastructure while releasing methane into the atmosphere, hastening global warming. The Arctic’s decreasing albedo represents the most ominous climate change impact; as the proportion of the Arctic that is covered with ice and snow shrinks, the Earth’s surface absorbs more of the sun’s rays, and the rate of warming increases. Some scholars, including McCannon (2013, 305), have used the term “Arcticide” in considering the accumulative effects of these developments on Arctic peoples and the environment. In the midst of these dramatic changes, not all is doom and gloom. Many foresee opportunities. For instance, the eventual opening of Arctic sea lanes will cut shipping routes, saving time and fuel. The melting of the Northeast and Northwest Passages will expand tourism, one of the few potentially sustainable forms of economic development in the Arctic. Ice-free coasts in the summer will ease extraction and transportation of offshore gas and oil reserves, although a scramble for the Arctic’s massive reserves evokes as much anxiety as enthusiasm. The easing of Cold War tensions in the 1980s allowed the world to consider the circumpolar north as a region and approach its challenges and opportunities collaboratively. In a 1987 address in Murmansk, Russia, Mikhail Gorbachev proposed an Arctic zone of peace in which Arctic nations could collaborate on environmental and other common concerns. In the early 1990s, Finland and Canada followed with proposals for the Arctic states to cooperate on transboundary environmental protection, and to form an Arctic regional council, respectively. These suggestions led to the 1991 Rovaniemi Declaration on the Protection of the Arctic Environment and its implementation plan, the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS), which the eight Arctic states signed. Collaboration continued with the development of the six working groups to address specific challenges in the Arctic. In 1996, the Declaration on the Establishment of the Arctic Council (the Ottawa Declaration) founded the Arctic Council. Its mandate was broad, focusing on common concerns, in particular environmental issues and sustainable development (Graczyk and Koivurova 2015). The Ottawa Declaration explicitly excluded peace and security matters from the Arctic Council’s mandate. Arctic Council participants generally refer to the forum as a policy-shaping, rather than a policymaking, body (Kankaanpää and Young 2012). Timo Koivurova, Director of the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, identifies three major accomplishments of the Arctic Council: 1) promoting scientific assessments of Arctic pollution and shaping international environmental policymaking processes; 2) providing a platform to engage diverse participants in discussions of the Arctic’s future; and 3) involving the region’s Indigenous peoples in the Council’s deliberations (Koivurova 2010). The Arctic Council’s formal provisions for Permanent Participants opened unprecedented opportunities for Indigenous influence in the Council’s work (Koivurova and Heinämäki 2006; Young 2009). The Permanent Participants’ ability to present proposals in Council meetings and participate in all levels of deliberations not only ensures that the Council’s decisions and recommendations reflect their input but also facilitates communication among Arctic Indigenous peoples. Moreover, the arrangement enhances communication between Indigenous peoples and Member State governments (Bloom 1999, 717). The Arctic Council’s consensus based decision-making and the formalized role of the Permanent Participants at all levels of the organization comprise the most distinctive characteristics of the intergovernmental forum. The consensus model permeates all levels of the Arctic Council, fostering trust and congenial deliberations. This model contrasts with the United Nations General Assembly and European Parliament, which usually only require a simple majority to pass policy. Being consensus driven and avoiding security and defense issues, the Arctic Council has no analogue to the United Nations Security Council, which addresses military issues and whose permanent members can veto decisions. Typically, the Arctic Council working groups initiate studies and projects. Wide-ranging discussions take place at the working group level among Member State and Permanent Participant delegates, with official Observer and outside expert opinions welcomed. Initiatives that achieve consensus support within the working groups move to the Senior Arctic Officials, who consider the proposals from their respective domestic perspectives. Head of Delegation (HoD) meetings prior to the Senior Arctic Officials’ meetings allow Member State and Permanent Participant delegates, with the guidance of the SAOs, to settle any remaining contentious issues prior to their public airing at the official SAO meetings. SAOs facilitate communication between the working groups and ministers, translating scientific findings and working group objectives into political statements ready for ministerial endorsement (Graczyk and Koivurova 2015). The Council’s inclusiveness and consensus-building norms build trust among Member States, Permanent Participants, and Observers, which has contributed to the Council’s increasing efficiency and effectiveness. This, in turn, has enhanced the Council’s ability to shape policy at the national level. A 2010–2011 study found that participants in the Council’s work deemed the Council most effective in improving international cooperation within the Arctic and in raising public awareness of the Arctic (Kankaanpää and Young 2012). Young observes that the Council has “played a high profile role in amplifying the voice of the Arctic in a variety of global settings,” citing its influence in the 2001 Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (Young 2009, 79). Experts who have studied the Arctic Council generally agree that its greatest contributions have been identifying emerging issues, carrying out scientific assessments of these issues, and using the findings to influence policymaking agendas. The Arctic Council’s generation of scientific assessments has enhanced its role in linking science to policy, although such blending of science and policy can raise credibility concerns (Kankaanpää and Young 2012). The Literature on Simulation Pedagogy Research shows that by bringing theory and practice together, simulation pedagogy promises improved learning outcomes (Van Dyke, DeClair, and Loedel 2000; Asal 2005; Youde 2008). The public performance aspect of simulations demands a higher level of preparedness and engagement than the normal classroom setting. Students in programs such as the Model United Nations (MUN) must internalize the assumptions and positions of their states and organizations. Essentially, they must be able to teach the subject matter. Hazelton and Jacob (1982) studied the experience of participants in eighty-one institutions that took part in the 1982 National Model United Nations (NMUN). They found that “Instead of reading about a subject, students became directly involved as political actors, experiencing first-hand the consequences of their decisions and actions” (Hazelton and Jacob 1982, 89). Of the respondents in their survey, 98.7 percent agreed with the statement “The NMUN provides a practical side to the study of international relations and international organization that cannot be gained from textbooks or classrooms alone” (Hazelton and Jacob 1982, 96). In her study of conducting simulations inside and outside the classroom, Taylor (2013, 137–38) highlights five objectives of simulation pedagogy: 1) critical thinking, 2) moral reasoning, 3) good citizenship, 4) communication, and 5) preparing for work. Other scholars also discuss these desired outputs. Smith and Boyer (1996) claim that simulations develop students’ critical thinking and analytical skills. Based on experience facilitating a simulation of the European Union, Elias (2014, 411) contends that “students are encouraged to reflect critically on, analyze, and evaluate their experiences in order to arrive at a new understanding of the nature of EU politics.” Youde (2008) and Sasley (2010) offer perspectives on practice in moral reasoning through simulation. Youde argues that simulation quells student idealism about international politics, while Sasley highlights the value of simulation to teach students about the difficulties achieving agreement on complex issues. DiCicco (2014) and Crossley-Frolick (2010) find that simulation promotes effective oral communication skills. Zeff (2003, 273) observes the development of active citizenship and engagement skills during a Model European Union, stating that students are “more actively engaged in learning the class material because they have to defend their countries’ positions to the other participants.” Finally, Phillips and Muldoon (1996, 142) identify the benefits of using the MUN exercise in a business classroom to provide students with “the international and multicultural experiences they need to function in a global business environment.” We intended for the students of the MAC 2016 to achieve such optimal learning outcomes by encouraging them to internalize their roles, justify their positions, and reach consensus on culturally and politically sensitive issues. Visioning the Model Arctic Council A pilot Model Arctic Council hosted by the Northern (Arctic) Federal University (NArFU) in Archangel, Russia, provided the inspiration for the MAC 2016. Four University of Alaska Fairbanks graduate students participated in the Archangel program and returned with strongly positive reports. In the fall of 2014, Diddy Hitchens, who helped organize the pilot MAC, approached faculty in the Arctic and Northern Studies program and department of political science at UAF about hosting a fully international MAC during the US chairship of the Arctic Council. With enthusiastic support from the UAF administration, we committed to hosting such a program. As the United States prepared to assume its chairship of the Arctic Council, several conditions favored UAF’s sponsorship of a MAC in 2016. First, UAF would be hosting the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW), the largest gathering of international scholars researching the Arctic, in spring 2016. Thus, the world’s attention would focus on UAF as the leading Arctic research institution. We hoped to engage international scholars and policymakers who would be in Fairbanks. Second, the Council’s Senior Arctic Officials would be meeting at UAF during the same time period. This opened up the possibility of communication between the SAOs and the MAC participants and of the Arctic Council hearing the participants’ concerns. Third, the Board of Governors of the University of the Arctic would be meeting during this time frame, which would allow their participation in parts of the program. Finally, during the past two decades the Arctic Council’s work had resulted in the Arctic 8’s signing two legally binding agreements.4 Several publications in recent years had analyzed the Arctic Council’s accomplishments. Marking the twentieth anniversary of the Arctic Council with the establishment of a recurring MAC that would expand knowledge of the Arctic and the Council seemed altogether fitting. We encouraged Indigenous student engagement to mirror the Permanent Participants’ active participation in the Arctic Council and to maximize intercultural exchange. We believed that having Indigenous students represent their own ethnic groups would lend authenticity to the exercise, although we also recognized the value of their assuming roles of other actors. We allowed all students to indicate their role preferences in the application process and did our best to accommodate their wishes. Ultimately, twelve of the sixty-five participants identified as Indigenous, although not all chose to represent actual Permanent Participant groups. Indigenous students personally represented five of the six Arctic Council Permanent Participants, but we assigned several non-Indigenous students to fill those roles as well. Preparing for the MAC required establishing the Model Arctic Council Thematic Network within the UArctic, securing funding and program and hotel venues, publicizing the event, evaluating applications, choosing the Arctic Council working groups we would simulate and the issues we would address, assigning roles, providing guidance to the participants, and developing the full program. We assigned readings to prepare the students for the program and required them to submit position papers that would guide their role-playing. Faculty partners Martha McConnell and Lucy Vliestra from the US Coast Guard Academy assumed complete responsibility for organizing and overseeing the Protection of Arctic Marine Environment working group. We organized and oversaw the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) simulation. The Protection of Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) working group addressed cruise ship tourism and managing maritime traffic for marine resource development. The Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) addressed “Improving Health through Safe and Affordable Access to Household Running Water and Sewer” (WASH) and “Reducing the Incidence of Suicide in Indigenous Groups—Strengths United through Networks” (RISING-SUN), two endorsed projects of the actual SDWG. Running the Model Arctic Council The program began with welcome addresses by program organizers and University of Alaska Fairbanks administrators. In the final morning lecture, Piotr Graczyk, from the University of Tromsø–the Arctic University of Norway (UiT), provided training for the students in Arctic Council organization and process. Each other morning and during two lunches, scholars of international renown spoke on topics ranging from geopolitics and the Arctic Council’s accomplishments, to Russia’s Arctic objectives, to sea ice uses and hazards, to the framing of the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment. The simulation itself began with simultaneous meetings of SDWG and PAME. Each meeting began with delegates presenting statements based on their position papers. SDWG took up the Arctic Council–endorsed WASH project, which strives to achieve decentralized (or home-based) water and wastewater treatment, recycling, and usage efficiency. The project also promotes collaboration among health experts, water and sanitation regulators, researchers, engineers, manufacturers, and vendors to improve water accessibility and sanitation services in the north. In September 2016, Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation hosted a Water Innovations for Healthy Arctic Homes (WIHAH) conference in Anchorage that engaged these stakeholders in discussions on how to improve access to, and reduce costs of, in-home running water and sewer facilities in remote communities. The workshop also gathered and disseminated information on current accessibility of safe drinking water and sewage disposal. Working with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, we developed an assignment that would prepare the Model Arctic Council participants working on WASH for the simulation and would further the actual WASH project. We tasked students with identifying communities of three hundred or fewer residents in the regions north of 60 degrees in the Arctic 8, and with reporting on existing access to drinking water and sanitation services in these communities. We also asked students to identify the primary water and sanitation challenges facing small, remote communities in their assigned regions. Students found wide variability in access to safe drinking and washing water, with the greatest challenges in Alaska, northern Canada, and northern Russia. During the simulation, the delegates advanced a proposal that Member State and Permanent Participant delegates attend the WIHAH conference to lend their support to the WASH initiative. They also urged the establishment of metrics and best practices for monitoring implementation, led by the Arctic Council Permanent Participants. Meanwhile, the PAME working group addressed cruise ship tourism, focusing on the challenges and opportunities posed by expanding industry in the Arctic. Delegates to the PAME working group had prepared policy proposals to maximize economic benefits to local residents while minimizing environmental harms. After discussing the proposed measures as a committee of the whole, PAME conducted breakout sessions to simulate intersessional meetings of region-centered delegations.5 Following their breakout discussions, delegates resumed the full working group discussion to build consensus on their recommendations. The PAME working group offered several recommendations related to cruise ship tourism, including the adoption by all eight Arctic nations of PAME's Arctic Marine Tourism Project's best practice guidelines, creation of additional Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Arctic, ratification of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO's) recommendations on ballast water and sediments, improved communication between Arctic communities and the tourism industry, harnessing of local knowledge to improve tourism practices, and preferential hiring of Indigenous peoples in the tourism industry. The next afternoon, the working groups addressed their second topics. SDWG now considered the Arctic Council–endorsed project RISING-SUN. Students assigned to this project had researched the suicide rates, availability of mental health resources, and information on the effectiveness of programs in reducing suicide rates in their assigned regions. Their task aligned with the actual RISING-SUN project, which seeks to identify programs throughout the circumpolar north that have shown promise in reducing suicide. We knew this topic was sensitive, but we anticipated that students would find researching and collaborating on such a pressing issue deeply meaningful. Personal narratives about suicides in students’ communities, references to colonial histories, and allegations of government indifference to the crisis created a charged atmosphere in the SDWG simulation. Yet students worked through the tension, with some displaying remarkably effective negotiation and communication skills. They came to consensus, modeling the norms of the Arctic Council. Delegates approved the action plan of the actual RISING-SUN project and urged states to provide funding to ensure broad participation of Indigenous individuals in the program. The students’ internalization of their assigned roles resembled the active engagement of students in simulations reported in the literature (Pettenger, West, and Young 2014). On the other hand, the personal attachment to the subject matter that some, particularly Indigenous students, experienced distinguished this from other programs and warrants further consideration. We discuss below the challenges and opportunities this personal connection with the issues presents to organizers of MAC programs, and we offer recommendations. PAME now addressed the management of resource development–related maritime traffic in an increasingly ice-free Arctic. The students considered how PAME could foster international cooperation leading to sustainable development of marine resources. In their policy papers, students proposed such measures as banning the use and transport of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic, improving ballast waste management to avoid introduction of invasive species, and using technology to promote safety. Working group recommendations included measures to reduce the use of heavy fuel oil, continued dialogue between the Arctic Coast Guard and Permanent Participants on community safety, use of hydrographic mapping to improve navigation safety, and developing a universal messaging system to communicate maritime conditions. In two mock Senior Arctic Official meetings, student SAOs presented their respective states’ positions on the projects under discussion. Project leads whom the students had selected for the respective working group topics—WASH, RISING-SUN, cruise ship tourism, and managing maritime traffic—then presented their recommendations to the student SAOs. The SAOs listened attentively and provided constructive feedback. The strongest student SAO performances illustrated the power of simulation pedagogy. Their deep immersion in the process, pointed questioning, active listening, and rapid responses moved the forum to consensus on each of the four agenda items. These strikingly skillful performances coincided with McIntosh’s (2001) and Zeff’s (2003) findings of enhanced learning outcomes in simulations, owing to the students’ deep engagement in the subject matter. After the second mock SAO meeting, project leads and student SAOs hammered out the wording of their final recommendations, which became the Fairbanks Declaration. The simulation culminated in the Ministerial meeting, during which each country’s Minister and the head of delegation for each Permanent Participant group, in accordance with Arctic Council norms, delivered a statement on the Arctic Council’s accomplishments during the US chairship (in our case, during the MAC) and on future directions for the Arctic Council. The Ministers then endorsed and signed the Fairbanks Declaration. In an especially satisfying symbolic act, the student US Minister passed the gavel to the student Finnish Minister, who enthusiastically accepted the chairship. At the closing ceremony two days later,6 students briefed the audience of Arctic Council and University of the Arctic representatives, UAF administrators, and other dignitaries on the work they had performed during the MAC, and they read the Fairbanks Declaration. Admiral Robert Papp, the US Coast Guard Commandant, US Ambassador David Balton, UArctic President Lars Kullerud, and UArctic Board of Governors Chair Brian Rogers congratulated the students on their accomplishments and on their commitment to a healthy and sustainable Arctic region. Organizers recognized participants who had distinguished themselves with exceptional policy papers and performances during the MAC with special commendations. All students received certificates of participation and personal congratulations from the guest speakers and program organizers as they crossed the stage to accept their certificates. After the ceremony, Ambassador Balton asked program organizers for a copy of the Fairbanks Declaration, saying he planned to use it as a discussion starter at the opening of the actual Arctic Council’s SAO meeting the next morning. At a reception after the closing ceremony, Arctic Council and UArctic dignitaries and university administrators, as well as other special guests, mingled freely with MAC participants, allowing students to engage these practitioners on issues of vital importance in the Arctic. That evening, US State Department officials invited several students to attend “working dinners” with Arctic Council delegates, which led to further networking and mentoring opportunities. On the following day, MAC participants attended the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW), which engaged policymakers, scientists, and diplomats in discussions on the intersection between science and policy in issues ranging from economic development, to national and human security, to environmental stewardship in the Arctic. MAC participants noted striking similarities between the MAC and the ASSW in terms of the concerns raised and the emphasis on interdisciplinarity and collaboration. Many appreciated the opportunity to converse with internationally renowned researchers and political leaders. The synergy among the MAC, the Arctic Council SAO meeting, and the ASSW validated our decision to align the timing of the MAC with the SAO meeting and the ASSW. Our experience corresponds with other studies that have shown that student interaction with policymakers enhances their active learning (Hatipoglu, Müftüler-Baç, and Murphy 2014, 400). Assessing the Model Arctic Council We collected both qualitative and quantitative data from a range of sources to evaluate the merit of simulation pedagogy, investigate the extent to which we met our stated program objectives, and learn participants’ perspectives on the program. The qualitative data include our own direct observations of participant engagement throughout the program, notes taken during a post-simulation debriefing session,7 an open-ended question on the preliminary survey asking students to share additional thoughts on the program until that point,8 and a few unsolicited e-mails from participants describing their experiences in the program. Two surveys of the participants provide the quantitative data, the first taken immediately following the simulation, before the final program events. We refer to this survey below as “the first survey.” From this survey, we derived responses to forty questions, including the open-ended question. The response rate was 91 percent. We generated the second survey in SurveyMonkey and distributed it by e-mail approximately two weeks after the program’s end. We refer to this survey below as “the second survey.” It asked twenty questions, and our response rate was 74 percent. We organize our results from the data analyses into three sections below. The first section evaluates the general merit of this simulation, comparing our experience with other assessments of simulation pedagogy. The second section identifies the extent to which we met each program objective. The third section analyzes additional feedback and observations, with an eye toward improving the experience for participants of future Model Arctic Council programs and other simulations. Evaluating the Merit of Simulation Pedagogy Our review of the literature reveals several benefits of simulation pedagogy. Our data support others’ findings that simulation can be an effective means for teaching content, potentially superior to other methods. Our second survey asked students to rate their level of agreement with the statement “I learned about the working group projects or issues through simulating Arctic Council meetings.” On a scale from one (strongly disagree) to five (strongly agree),9 students’ mean response was 4.63, indicating that most students strongly agreed that they left the program with an enhanced understanding of Arctic Council working groups. On the same survey, we asked students to rate their level of agreement with the statement “I learned more about the Arctic Council from the simulation than I think I would have from merely taking a class on the subject.” The mean response was 4.31, indicating strong appreciation of the simulation method.10 This corresponds with Elias’s (2014, 414) finding that students felt their understanding of concepts increased with their participation in a simulation. We also asked students to rate their level of agreement with the statement “Having to perform in the role of a delegate to the Arctic Council forced me to internalize that state or group’s position more than I would have by merely reading about the topic.” The mean response to this question was 4.44, affirming the value of performing in roles, rather than simply reading about actors’ positions. We conclude that the simulation effectively taught students about the working groups, and that students perceived the mode of teaching to be superior to conventional classroom methods. Because expertise and experience levels of undergraduate and graduate students differ, we wondered whether student evaluations of simulation pedagogy differed by academic level. We ran independent samples t-tests on the questions described above and discovered that the average score on each question was higher for undergraduates than graduates, but the only statistically significant difference (at the 10 percent level) appeared in response to the statement “I learned about the working group projects or issues through simulating Arctic Council meetings.” Table 1 reports these findings. We therefore conclude that there were no major differences between the learning outcomes of undergraduate and graduate students. As one graduate student put it in an e-mail to us after the program, “There is just no substitute for these immersive learning experiences like MAC.” Table 1 Merit of simulation pedagogy by academic level Statements from second survey, with level of agreement ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Mean response  t-statistic  p-value  Undergraduate  Graduate  “I learned about the working group projects or issues through simulating Arctic Council meetings.”  4.85  4.46  1.93  0.06  “I learned more about the Arctic Council from the simulation than I think I would have from merely taking a class on the subject.”  4.55  4.14  1.42  0.16  “Having to perform in the role of a delegate to the Arctic Council forced me to internalize that state or group’s position more than I would have by merely reading about the topic.”  4.60  4.32  1.20  0.24  N = 48 (20 undergraduates and 28 graduates).  Equal variances are assumed for each test.  Each test is two-tailed.  Statements from second survey, with level of agreement ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Mean response  t-statistic  p-value  Undergraduate  Graduate  “I learned about the working group projects or issues through simulating Arctic Council meetings.”  4.85  4.46  1.93  0.06  “I learned more about the Arctic Council from the simulation than I think I would have from merely taking a class on the subject.”  4.55  4.14  1.42  0.16  “Having to perform in the role of a delegate to the Arctic Council forced me to internalize that state or group’s position more than I would have by merely reading about the topic.”  4.60  4.32  1.20  0.24  N = 48 (20 undergraduates and 28 graduates).  Equal variances are assumed for each test.  Each test is two-tailed.  View Large We did receive constructive criticism on the quality of the simulation. First, a few students reported having felt uncertain about how closely they were to adhere to the official positions of their assigned roles. We recognize that we should have provided more guidance on effective role-playing, stressing that students should advocate on behalf of their assigned roles, rather than based on their own personal convictions. The tension between students advocating on behalf of their assigned roles and on their own personal behalf is a common problem of simulation exercises, as identified in the literature (Crossley-Frolick 2010). Second, some students thought that the simulation should have been longer to improve its authenticity. One student said this would have helped students engage in “extended and fruitful discussions without the working groups feeling time pressured.” Time and financial constraints, as well as our desire to balance the simulation with guest lectures and local excursions, kept us from lengthening the simulation. Third, a few participants noted that important roles in the Arctic Council went unfilled. Several vacancies occurred, owing to last-minute cancellations. We filled most of these roles with volunteers who took on second roles, and they performed admirably. In one oversight, we neglected to assign students to the roles of representatives from Greenland and the Faroe Islands, who also participate in Arctic Council meetings. (We did assign the role of the delegate from Denmark.) We filled the role of the Greenland representative at the Senior Arctic Officials’ meeting with an interested student approximately midway through the program. Our findings correspond with the positive evaluations in the literature on simulation pedagogy.11 In particular, our data aligned with Hazelton and Jacob’s large study in which participants overwhelmingly agreed that the Model United Nations learning experience surpassed that “gained from textbooks or classrooms alone” (1982, 96). Students’ preparation to play their assigned roles in the MAC and the public performance requirement likely contributed to their assessments of enhanced learning outcomes, conclusions that align with other studies of simulations (Zeff 2003; Crossley-Frolick 2010). Meeting Objectives of the Model Arctic Council In addition to evaluating the general merit of simulation pedagogy, we examine the extent to which we have met our program objectives. Below, we analyze our ability to achieve each goal, drawing from our quantitative and qualitative data. Objective 1: Develop Students’ Knowledge of the Arctic as a Region, of Circumpolar Politics, and of Northern Indigenous Peoples To assess knowledge acquisition, we analyzed responses to a statement on each survey. The statement in the second survey was “I learned about the various issues and challenges facing the Arctic region through participating in the Model Arctic Council.” The average response was positive, at 4.48, suggesting that students felt they gained substantial knowledge on Arctic-related concerns. The statement in the first survey read “Participation in the MAC has allowed me to learn more about different cultures.” The average response was also strongly positive, at 4.51, indicating substantial learning about various cultures, which we presume includes Indigenous cultures since they were a key component of meeting discussions. Based on these results, we believe that we met this objective. Qualitative comments from the first survey affirm that the MAC developed student knowledge on Arctic issues. One student reported that the MAC “certainly accomplished its goals of being an educational experience.” Another student wrote, “MAC gave me an opportunity to glimpse the complex socio-political landscape that comprises the Arctic.” Another noted that the MAC educated specifically on environmental protection of the Arctic and the rights of Indigenous peoples. None of the respondents stated—on the survey or in the debriefing—that the MAC was ineffective in developing knowledge on the Arctic or its peoples. We included demographic questions in the second survey so we could disaggregate the data by various demographic categories. We assumed that Indigenous participants, many of whom came from the Arctic region, arrived at the MAC with substantial knowledge on the Arctic. We therefore wondered whether they gained as much as other students. We calculated the average score on the second survey statement by Indigeneity and conducted an independent samples t-test to determine whether Indigenous and non-Indigenous students’ responses differed significantly. Table 2 presents these results. The average score was high for both groups; interestingly, it was slightly higher for Indigenous students (4.56) than for non-Indigenous students (4.46). However, the difference was not statistically significant. Table 2 Student knowledge of the Arctic by indigeneity Statement from second survey, with level of agreement ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Mean response  t-statistic  p-value  Indigenous  Non-Indigenous  “I learned about the various issues and challenges facing the Arctic region through participating in the Model Arctic Council.”  4.56  4.46  –0.39  0.70  N = 48 (9 Indigenous students and 39 non-Indigenous students).  Equal variances are assumed for each test.  Each test is two-tailed.  Statement from second survey, with level of agreement ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Mean response  t-statistic  p-value  Indigenous  Non-Indigenous  “I learned about the various issues and challenges facing the Arctic region through participating in the Model Arctic Council.”  4.56  4.46  –0.39  0.70  N = 48 (9 Indigenous students and 39 non-Indigenous students).  Equal variances are assumed for each test.  Each test is two-tailed.  View Large These affirmative findings related to our first objective for the MAC align well with other studies on the simulation method’s value in teaching content. MAC participants’ perceptions of having acquired knowledge of issues and challenges in the Arctic corresponded with Van Dyke, DeClair, and Loedel’s (2000) findings on the Model European Union’s value in teaching students about the complex challenges the EU faces. The MAC students’ perceptions of learning about other cultures through the MAC experience resemble Phillips and Muldoon’s (1996) findings that the Model United Nations exercise provided students with multicultural experiences that help them in interacting in a global business environment. Objective 2: Increase Students’ Understanding of Arctic Council Objectives and Processes Second, we sought to increase participants’ knowledge of the objectives and processes of the Arctic Council. On the second survey, we asked students to indicate their level of agreement with the statement “My general knowledge of the Arctic Council has improved as a result of participating in the Model Arctic Council.” The average score was 4.60, representing a strong perception of knowledge gain. Thus, we believe we met this objective. Because the MAC program consisted of several components, including the simulation, plenary speakers, excursions, and other events, we wondered whether simulating the Arctic Council meetings, in particular, could explain the high perceptions of knowledge acquired about the Arctic Council. That is, did learning about the Arctic Council occur within the simulation? We conducted a bivariate correlation between responses from two questions on the second survey, one on learning about the working group projects and issues through simulating the Arctic Council and the other on learning about the Arctic Council through participation in the MAC. Table 3 summarizes these results. We find a strong, positive, and significant correlation of 0.668: Students who reported that they learned through simulation were more likely to report knowledge improvement on the Arctic Council. Table 3 Simulation learning and knowledge improvement Statements from second survey, with level of agreement ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Pearson correlation  p-value  “I learned about the working group projects or issues through simulating Arctic Council meetings.”  0.668  0.000  and      “My general knowledge of the Arctic Council has improved as a result of participating in the Model Arctic Council.”      N = 48.      Test is two-tailed.      Statements from second survey, with level of agreement ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Pearson correlation  p-value  “I learned about the working group projects or issues through simulating Arctic Council meetings.”  0.668  0.000  and      “My general knowledge of the Arctic Council has improved as a result of participating in the Model Arctic Council.”      N = 48.      Test is two-tailed.      View Large These additional findings of learning gains through the simulation method agree with published studies on simulation pedagogy, including Hazelton and Jacob’s (1982) and Zeff’s (2003) findings on the benefits of personal and active engagement with the subject matter. Objective 3: Prepare Students to Assume Leadership Roles in the Circumpolar North The knowledge participants acquired on Arctic conditions and challenges, along with their deeper understanding of Indigenous cultures and perspectives, will position them well to take on leadership roles. We also aimed to help students develop skills that would increase their effectiveness in such leadership positions. We asked students on the first survey to report their level of interest in strengthening their public speaking, negotiation, leadership, and other skills. On a scale from one (lowest interest) to five (highest interest), the mean response was 3.54, indicating a medium level of interest. To determine the extent to which we accomplished this objective, we asked students to report their level of agreement with two statements on the second survey: “I developed negotiation skills as a result of participating in the Model Arctic Council” and “I developed problem solving skills as a result of participating in the Model Arctic Council.” On average, students’ level of agreement with these statements mirrored their level of interest. The mean response was 3.77 for the first statement and 3.67 for the second statement. During our debriefing session, a student noted satisfaction “that this generation is the future,” suggesting confidence in fellow participants’ abilities to tackle challenges in the Arctic. Furthermore, in an unsolicited e-mail, a student commented that the program expanded her confidence in expressing herself on issues of vital importance in the Arctic. She wrote, “(A)s the indigenous suicide crisis in Ontario has been making the news and people have been talking about it this week, there have been several occasions that I have been able to share what I have learned at MAC with people here in my town to help them better understand.” We believe that participants gained knowledge and experience that strengthened their leadership capacities, even if the levels of their self-reported interest and assessment of leadership skills acquisition were only moderate. From our own observations, we surmise that the MAC fostered the development of leadership-related skills, including the ability to communicate effectively on challenges facing the Arctic, and it helped build students’ self-confidence in doing so. This coincides with Van Dyke, DeClair, and Loedel’s (2000) observation that simulation enhances leadership skills. Moreover, we agree with Taylor’s (2013, 138) assessment that simulations help students overcome oversimplified notions about motivations and capabilities of leaders across the world. Objective 4: Enhance Student and Faculty Collaboration among University of the Arctic Institutions Our fourth goal for the MAC was to enhance student and faculty collaboration among the University of the Arctic institutions. The UArctic Council’s June 2015 approval of the Model Arctic Council Thematic Network institutionalized the MAC within UArctic and ensured a network of faculty to support its continuity. Second, the MAC itself brought together students and faculty from UArctic (as well as non-UArctic) institutions. Forty-two of the sixty-five student participants attend seventeen UArctic institutions. Moreover, eleven professors from six universities, most UArctic members, also participated in the program. Third, at the time of this writing, a US partner institution has initiated a collaborative project on the Arctic that will engage faculty and students at UArctic and other institutions. MAC faculty are also already planning for the next program, to be held in Finland in fall 2018. Given these developments, we feel we have laid the foundation for deepening relationships among students and faculty at UArctic institutions. Strengthening the Model Arctic Council and Other Simulations In this section, we analyze additional points students raised in the open-ended question of the first survey and during the post-simulation debriefing, with the goal of improving future MAC programs and other collegiate simulations. Inadequate Preparation on Arctic Council Processes and Norms We recognize that the students were not as prepared for their participation in the simulation as well as we had hoped, a challenge that other simulators discuss (Crossley-Frolick 2010; Butcher 2012). We assigned several readings on the Arctic Council itself, on current Arctic conditions, and on topics the Arctic Council addresses. We required all participants to submit position papers on their roles prior to the Model Arctic Council and informed them that they would present short statements drawn from those papers at the openings of the sessions. We encouraged participants to seek guidance from faculty members at their respective institutions. The participants from the University of Akureyri, Iceland, benefited from an ideal preparation arrangement in which university experts provided strong mentorship. Students at UAF and the US Coast Guard Academy prepared for the MAC within courses. Ultimately, however, student preparation for the MAC varied considerably. We also recognize shortcomings in our own process to prepare students. We had planned to provide a series of webinars to prepare the students for the MAC process, but we were not able to produce these, owing to organizational and logistical constraints. The training provided on the first morning of the program was not long enough to prepare the students sufficiently for the negotiating components of the simulation. We anticipated receiving feedback to this effect. Our surveys asked participants to evaluate the instruction provided prior to and during the MAC. Regarding prior preparation, we asked students on the first survey to evaluate the clarity of instructions and information given in advance of the MAC. Their average response was 3.84, indicating moderately clear instruction. On the second survey, we asked students to indicate their level of agreement with the following statement: “The Model Arctic Council organizing committee provided enough resources before the start of the program for me to participate successfully in the program.” The average response was 3.77. Although this is moderately strong, we recognize that we should have done more. As one student stated, “While there were some fantastic opportunities for learning, many, myself included, would have benefitted from better guided preparation ahead of their arrival at MAC.” We plan to offer webinars for students to prepare for future MACs. Regarding guidance during the MAC, our first survey asked about the organization of the on-site training session; the average response was 3.88. We recognize that we relied too heavily on this one training session at the opening of the MAC. On the same survey, we asked students to evaluate the clarity of instructions and information given throughout the MAC; the average response was 3.84. Given the moderately strong evaluations on clarity of instruction throughout the MAC, we plan to strengthen the on-site training sessions and instructions throughout future MACs. In retrospect, we recognize that we did not prepare the students sufficiently to participate in a simulation of an institution that operates based on a high level of trust and on consensus, rather than majoritarian, decision-making. Delegates to the Arctic Council note that interpersonal trust has developed among long-term participants, as these individuals have come to know and respect one another over the years. Such familiarity and trust fosters amiable discussions and eases consensus building. Heated discussions are almost unheard of in Arctic Council working group sessions.12 Some MAC participants expressed themselves forcefully during the simulation, as one would expect in the more competitive Model United Nations atmosphere or in a debate. Such intensity may appear disrespectful, especially when addressing highly sensitive issues. In fact, we realized later that students with simulation experience typically adopted more adversarial demeanors, rather than using the more collaborative, consensus-building tone typical of Arctic Council discussions. One student commented during the debriefing that the program needed to stress the importance of word choice and incorporate training in non-confrontational questioning. We now recognize that we should have stressed the Arctic Council’s trust and consensus-building norms in our training session. Students will choose the extent to which they prepare themselves, but we encourage all simulation coordinators to provide ample guidance and materials before the simulation event and clear and focused on-site training at the start of the event to maximize the richness and quality of the experience. Insufficient Guidance in Effective Communication and Cultural Sensitivity Students also expressed the need for more training on effective communication and cultural sensitivity. Several students reported on the first survey and during the debriefing the need for training in cultural understanding. One student wrote on the survey, “There is a pressing need for cultural sensitivity prior to MAC and monitoring during. The sensitivity is imperative when you are not only dealing with Indigenous peoples in the Arctic, but with students who have lived these experiences on a daily basis.” Similarly, another student stated, “I would strongly encourage the incorporation of cultural sensitivity and use of language within the simulations. In addition, I think it is crucial that it be acknowledged that we are going to be discussing topics that might be sensitive to people in the room, and the need to be respectful in our use of language.” US and other students’ use of the words “tribe,” “Native,” “Eskimo,” and “Indian” offended some Canadian students. These terms are part of the accepted and official terminology in Alaska and elsewhere in the United States but are deemed disrespectful in Canada. Meanwhile, others expressed anxiety that they might inadvertently offend. During the debriefing, one student mentioned being fearful of saying “the wrong thing” while representing a Permanent Participant. In an e-mail after the MAC, a student conveyed feeling “ashamed and apologetic to be coming from a situation of such privilege” and unqualified to discuss issues related to Indigenous communities. Given this feedback, we wondered whether Indigenous students’ assessment of the quality of the educational experience in the MAC differed from that of other students. We were relieved to find that students generally felt that the MAC was a high-quality learning experience. Indigenous students reported a slightly lower average score (4.44) than non-Indigenous students (4.62), but the difference was not statistically significant. Table 4 highlights these results. Table 4 Program quality by indigeneity Statement from second survey, ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Mean response  t-statistic  p-value  Indigenous  Non-Indigenous  “The Model Arctic Council provided a high quality educational experience.”  4.44  4.62  0.559  0.579  N = 48 (9 Indigenous students and 39 non-Indigenous students).  Equal variances are assumed for each test.  Each test is two-tailed.  Statement from second survey, ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Mean response  t-statistic  p-value  Indigenous  Non-Indigenous  “The Model Arctic Council provided a high quality educational experience.”  4.44  4.62  0.559  0.579  N = 48 (9 Indigenous students and 39 non-Indigenous students).  Equal variances are assumed for each test.  Each test is two-tailed.  View Large Based on our own observations and on student feedback, we fully recognize the need for guidance in effective communication and cultural sensitivity, including awareness of potential responses to certain terminology. We suggest that future MAC program organizers and coordinators of other simulations incorporate such training prior to the simulation, given the expected diversity of students participating and the culturally sensitive issues addressed. Language Barrier Challenge The final insight from the qualitative comments concerned language barriers. One student wrote on the first survey that the simulation experience was intense and difficult because English was her or his second language. Others reported on the survey and in the debriefing challenges associated with speaking in a non-native language. Some students noted that while they are fluent in English, they found it difficult to participate effectively, because people spoke so quickly and in such rapid succession. They had no time to process others’ comments before the discussion moved on. Slowing the pace of the proceedings would have helped them engage more fully. Given these comments, we were interested in whether non-native and native English speakers differed in their views of the program. Table 5 offers these results. The surveys showed a modest, statistically significant difference between the two groups. Although they had a favorable opinion of the program overall, non-native English speakers reported somewhat less positive views than native English speakers. Non-native speakers reported an average score of 4.35 on the second survey, while native speakers of English reported an average of 4.75, when asked to indicate their level of agreement with the statement “The Model Arctic Council provided a high-quality educational experience.” Likewise, non-native English speakers reported a score of 4.75, while native speakers reported a score of 4.96, when asked their level of agreement with the statement “I would recommend the Model Arctic Council to other students.” In both cases, the difference was significant at the 10 percent level. Thus, while both groups rated the experience very positively and both overwhelmingly said they would recommend the program, non-native speakers of English as a group expressed slightly less enthusiasm. Table 5 Program evaluation by language Statement from second survey, ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Mean response  t-statistic  p-value  Non-native speaker  Native speaker  “The Model Arctic Council provided a high quality educational experience.”  4.35  4.75  –1.697  0.096  “I would recommend the Model Arctic Council to other students.”  4.75  4.96  –1.916  0.062  N = 48 (20 non-native speakers and 28 native speakers).  Equal variances are assumed for each test.  Each test is two-tailed.  Statement from second survey, ranked on scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)  Mean response  t-statistic  p-value  Non-native speaker  Native speaker  “The Model Arctic Council provided a high quality educational experience.”  4.35  4.75  –1.697  0.096  “I would recommend the Model Arctic Council to other students.”  4.75  4.96  –1.916  0.062  N = 48 (20 non-native speakers and 28 native speakers).  Equal variances are assumed for each test.  Each test is two-tailed.  View Large Despite this constructive criticism, students gave the MAC high marks and expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to participate in the program. Of the forty-six qualitative comments from the first survey, forty (87 percent) included at least one positive statement. One student remarked, “This was the greatest in my academic career so far.” Another student reported, “I’ve relished every activity thus far and am eager to continue my Arctic and Arctic Council education beyond MAC.” Several comments expressed appreciation for the intercultural exchange. One respondent stated, “MAC gave me an opportunity to … make many new friends and forge relationships that will enable me to further my academic career, and that have made me a better person.” Another student mentioned the ability to learn more about American culture. During the debriefing, one student indicated that having many different perspectives conveyed during the MAC was “useful” and “inspiring.” Thus, we conclude that students perceived intercultural exchange as a significant benefit of the program. Training on the processes and culture of the Arctic Council in advance of the students’ arrival will prepare students for optimal performance and will ease anxiety and tension during future MACs. We recommend, as well, at least one half day of orientation and training activities on-site. Such activities will foster the familiarity and trust that eases consensus building during Arctic Council sessions. Training sessions should include components on effective communication and cultural sensitivity. We recommend to coordinators of the MAC and other simulations involving native and non-native speakers to take measures to enhance effective communication. Session chairs could encourage participants to speak clearly and slowly, and could pause before calling on the next person to speak, asking whether others want to speak before moving on, and waiting a few seconds before concluding that all who wish to speak have done so. Conclusion Effective pedagogy is essential to expanding public awareness of the critically important issues facing the Arctic and to improving understanding of the Arctic Council’s role in addressing these challenges. Our experience with simulation pedagogy correlates with the positive findings published on Model United Nations and Model European Union programs. Because the MAC is a new initiative, we have been eager to understand how successful the MAC 2016 was as a pedagogical method and in meeting program objectives. We also wanted to know how we could improve the program for future MACs, based on students’ feedback. We have found that students perceived high learning outcomes through the MAC, in accordance with the literature, and we conclude that the MAC met its four objectives. We found that to improve the program, we should strengthen the pre- and early program training sessions and address communication and cultural sensitivity. Not only did the MAC 2016 succeed in meeting its own objectives, it furthered the US government’s goals for its chairship: 1) increasing awareness within the United States of the US role in the Arctic, 2) strengthening the Arctic Council, and 3) launching long-term initiatives that would continue far beyond the US chairship. The MAC 2016 certainly grew awareness within the United States of its role in the Arctic, through the direct participation of twenty-three students from eight American universities. We anticipate multiplier effects at those students’ institutions and in their networks. Since the MAC 2016 concluded, students have communicated on social media and by e-mail to alert one another of various developments in the Arctic and to report on subsequent Arctic-related programs in which they have engaged. The MAC strengthens the Arctic Council by expanding awareness of its work and by building leadership capacities in students who may be future delegates to the Arctic Council. We anticipate the MAC 2016 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks becoming part of the legacy of the US chairship of the Arctic Council, and we look forward to its becoming increasingly institutionalized during subsequent chairships. Footnotes 1 The University of the Arctic is an official Observer of the Arctic Council. 2 The Arctic 8 states include Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States. 3 In total, the Arctic Council has six working groups: Arctic Contaminants Arctic Program (ACAP); Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP); Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF); Emergency Prevention, Preparedness, and Response (EPPR); Protection of Arctic Marine Environment (PAME); and Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG). 4 These include the Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic and the Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic. 5 Organizers divided the students into delegations based on three maritime regions: 1) the Bering Strait, Chukchi Sea, and Beaufort Sea; 2) the Davis Strait, Baffin Bay, and Northwest Passage; and 3) the Norwegian Sea, Barents Sea, and Northern Sea Route. 6 The program included a day of sightseeing and an excursion to Chena Hot Springs Resort, a one-hour drive from Fairbanks. 7 Several scholars note the importance of debriefing after the simulation in order to reflect on the process, learning objectives, and limitations (Steinwachs 1992; Fritzsche et al. 2004; Asal 2005; Crossley-Frolick 2010). 8 Forty-six of the fifty-nine respondents chose to respond to this question. 9 We analyze results from survey questions using this scale unless otherwise noted. 10 Some students took a course related to the Arctic in the semester preceding or during the semester of the MAC. 11 In contrast to our finding, Raymond (2010) questions the prospect of simulation pedagogy to yield positive learning outcomes. 12 This is from a personal communication with Piotr Graczyk, Poland’s Observer delegate to the Arctic Council. 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