Open Panel discussion for conference participants and the public
(Tuesday 13:15 - 14:45)
Umweltforum - Pufendorfstr- 11 - 10249 Berlin

On the importance of Science Diplomacy in the Arctic realm


From left to right: Prof Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen, Embla Eir Oddsdóttir, Dr Volker Rachold, Prof Maria Rentetzi, Prof Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen

By hosting this public event, our goal is to open the conference to a broader audience, and to highlight how science can serve as a bridge-builder for political processes when other channels fail. The Arctic was selected as the panel’s focus region. We will discuss how academic exchanges can foster constructive dialogues between countries and cultures, because they are based on the values and methodological standards of science – and science and research know no borders.
Science diplomacy draws on the reputation, networking and neutrality of science in order to improve international relations, and can be a powerful tool for developing joint strategies to face global challenges. Given the ongoing changes in the Arctic, all countries – Arctic and non-Arctic alike – now urgently need to make major decisions, because the changes affect us all. The following guest speakers from Norway, Finland, Iceland and Germany will speak at the conference.

Registration for members of the public:
To register, please send a brief email to Attendance is free of charge; however, given the limited slots available, registration is required.

(Photo source: Michael Morreau, private, K. Rolfes (AWI), Dimitra Giantsiou, Academy of Finland project 'From Failand to Winland')

Prof Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen
(UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Norway)
Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen is Professor of Northern Studies and the inaugural Barents Chair in Politics at UiT-The Arctic University of Norway (Norway). His research interest is transnational flows of knowledge, talent and resources between USA, Europe, Middle East, East Asia and the Arctic. He studies the importance of elite socialization, epistemic communities and science diplomacy for adapting Arctic governance within changing global governance. He studies brain circulation for human capital formation and transition from natural resources-based to knowledge-based economies in the Arctic and Gulf Cooperation Council states. He is Danish and grew up in Reykjavik so he has a deep personal and professional commitment to the Arctic. Rasmus studied in Copenhagen, Reykjavik, Geneva, Lausanne and Amsterdam. His Cambridge PhD (including a year at Sciences Po) analysed British and French elite perceptions of the international system between 1880s and 1930s. Rasmus was postdoc at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government on the soft power of American and French universities in the Middle East with field research in Lebanon, Egypt, UAE and Kuwait. At Harvard, Rasmus started parallel Arctic research. He continued as JSPS postdoc at United Nations University (Yokohama) and Tokyo Institute of Technology on Middle East, East Asia and Arctic research. Rasmus returned to Denmark to Aalborg University as postdoc and assistant professor researching Sino-Danish knowledge relations, especially in biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, and the Arctic before UiT. Rasmus directs a workpackage developing European science diplomacy theory and strategy in H2020 InsSciDE.

Embla Eir Oddsdóttir
(Director, Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network, Iceland)
Embla Eir Oddsdottir is the Director of the Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network, a multi-stakeholder forum for cooperation on policy relevant issues in the Arctic. Embla has participated in domestic and international projects covering a diversity of topics, including climate change impacts, fresh water, risk and resilience, gender, and business mentorship and has experience working in both the private and public sectors. Embla has lectured on Arctic and northern issues at various Universities, conferences and meetings. Educational background is interdisciplinary, including socio-economic devel-opement, anthropology, cultural geography, international relations, international law, indigenous and gender studies, rural development and political science. Embla holds a Msc in Law, Anthropology and Society from the London School of Economics and has completed diploma level courses in Polar Law.

Dr Volker Rachold
(German Arctic Office, Germany)
Volker Rachold is the Head of the German Arctic Office, which serves as an information and cooperation platform between German stakeholders from science, politics and industry. His functions include managing the dialogue between German Arctic players, supporting the federal ministries interested in Arctic matters, coordinating Germany´s scientific input to the Arctic Council and planning and implementing national and international Arctic-related events and projects. Before moving to the German Arctic Office in 2017, he served as the Executive Secretary of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) since 2006. Volker Rachold graduated as a geochemist from Göttingen University, where he also obtained his Ph.D. in 1994. Since then he worked with the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. His research focused on land-ocean interactions in the Siberian Arctic and he led several land- and ship-based Russian-German expeditions.

Prof Maria Rentetzi
(Technical University Berlin, Germany)
Maria Rentetzi, Professor at the Technical University Berlin, Institute for Literature, Philosophy and History of Science and Technology, is an internationally acknowledged historian of science and tech-nology who runs a 2 million ERC consolidator grant (2019-2024) on the history of radiation protection and nuclear diplomacy. Her research cuts across traditional disciplinary divides, bringing humanities close r to the physical sciences.

Prof Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen
(University of Helsinki, Finland)
Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen is an Associate Professor in Russian Environmental Studies at the Aleksan-teri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland, and a Docent at the National Defence University in the field of Russia’s energy and natural-resource policy. In 2011-2017, he was a professor in Russian Energy Policy at the Aleksanteri Institute. He leads several academic research projects and a team of dozen researchers ( that focus on energy and environmental policies, energy security, societal power and culture in Russia. He outlines his multidisciplinary take on Rus-sia in his forthcoming book “The Energy of Russia. Hydrocarbon Culture and Climate Change” (E. Elgar, 2019).

Moderation: Grace Dobush
Grace Dobush is a Berlin-based freelance journalist. Her work focuses on the intersection of tech, business and politics, appearing in publications including Fortune, Handelsblatt, Wired and Quartz. In addition to her editorial work, she has moderated panels and conferences in Europe and the United States. Born in the Rust Belt of the United States, Grace has been living in Berlin since 2017, bringing her total time in Germany up to five years.