Symposium: The Arctic and International Security


When one thinks about the Arctic, what comes to mind is a cold and faraway world. But in fact, the Arctic has gotten hotter—not just temperature-wise (blame climate change) but also politically, environmentally, economically, and in matters of national security.

The Center for Security Policy Studies (CSPS) at the Schar School of Policy and Government will examine each of these topics during the Fifth Annual Symposium on International Security, held at George Mason University’s Mason Square in Arlington, Virginia, on Thursday, October 27, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The event is open to all; lunch will be provided. Registration is required at this site.

CSPS director Ellen Laipson, who also leads the Schar School’s international security program, explains how the changes in the Arctic will affect the economy, the demographic, and security at large.

“The rules of the Arctic will have to be reset,” she said. “It will have economic ramifications and national security implications” as the region’s previously unnavigable polar seas become viable.

The symposium will present three panel discussions and a lunch-break conversation. Panelists include experts in the fields of climate change, national security, economics, and other relevant topics. Perhaps most important, they will bring into focus why the world should be concerned.  

The three panel discussions are:

How the Arctic Is Changing: Environment, Geography, and Governance


  • Erin Sikorsky, Schar School faculty member and director of the Center for Climate and Security
  • Marisol Maddox, Polar Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars
  • Eugenie Punitcherska, Embassy of Canada


International Economic Dimensions of the Arctic


  • Lawson Brigham, University of Alaska Fairbanks and Polar Institute of the Wilson Center
  • Richard Kauzlarich, Schar School Distinguished Visiting Professor
  • Lucy Duncan, Safe Ports


The International Security Picture


  • Dave Auerswald, National War College
  • Doyle Hodges, Texas National Security Review
  • Rebecca Pincus, Polar Institute of the Wilson Center


Schar School Professor Mark N. Katz and Russia expert Andrey Toporov will discuss the Arctic and the U.S.-Russian relations during a lunchtime conversation.