Model Arctic Council, University of Akureyri (2020)

University of Akureyri

Akureyri, Iceland 

March 22 - 29, 2020


The Model Arctic Council (MAC)

The MAC is an experiential learning exercise, in which graduate and advanced undergraduate students from disciplines and universities across the Arctic region simulate the work of the Arctic Council. The Council is the primary forum for international cooperation and environmental protection in the Arctic; its working groups contribute to knowledge creation on the Arctic and its fragile ecosystem. In the simulation, each student will represent one of the eight Arctic Council Member States, six Permanent Participants, or several Observers.

Theme of the MAC 2020:

The MAC 2020 simulation will focus on environmental issues, including plastics and protected areas, and the work of two Arctic Council Working Groups—Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME)—and the Senior Arctic Officials (SAOs).

Time and place:

The University of Akureyri, in cooperation with the Model Arctic Council Thematic Network, will host a Model Arctic Council (MAC) from March 22 to 27, 2020 in Akureyri, Iceland for students interested in Arctic and circum- polar affairs.


The main objective is to simulate an international negotiation situation on fundamental issues current and relevant for the Arctic region and its inhabitants, so students learn about both the pressing issues the Arctic faces and about the Arctic Council itself. Secondly, participants of the simulation will develop an understanding of the interplay between science, politics, and economics by implementation and practice. Finally, they will be better prepared to assume and adopt decision-making processes, and to exercise and undergo training in leadership and diplomacy skills (for possible leadership roles in the Arctic). All this requires practice in active listening, public speaking and training of oral skills.


Students will prepare for their participation independently by examining the basic documents of the Arctic Council and its working groups (e.g., Declarations of Ministerial meetings; Vision for the Arctic 2013), and through courses and extra-curricular programs at their home universities. Program organizers will assign roles.  Each participant must also carefully examine the policies, strategies, agendas, and statements of her/his actor in the simulation.


The University of Akureyri will cover on-site costs in Akureyri, including shared accommodation, local transportation, and some meals. Students are responsible for obtaining funding for their transportation to/from Akureyri as well as some meals. We encourage applicants to seek funding through their universities´ administrations or countries´ ministries of foreign affairs, or organizations/institutions working on the Arctic/ Arctic affairs.


The Model Arctic Council 2020 will be hosted by the University of Akureyri, and led by Professor Rachael Lorna Johnstone. It will be organized with the cooperation of Icelandic ministries, as one of the activities of the Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (2019-2021). Moreover, the event will be a collaborative effort with the Model Arctic Council Thematic Network, a continuing program organized under the University of the Arctic and led by Professors Mary Ehrlander and Brandon Boylan at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.


Applications are due by November 8, 2019. Students will be notified of their acceptance by December 3, 2019. 

Download application : MAC 2020 Application