Youth Exchange

As part of its Youth engagement CAFF has worked to establish where resources and opportunities allow time-limited (1-8 weeks) collaborative partnerships within CAFF member states, Permanent Participants and observers as well as with appropriate strategic partners, such as existing youth engagement programs, to more effectively engage diverse youth insharing their perspectives, learning about leadership roles related to Arctic issuesand ways to advance conservation of natural and cultural heritage in their communities, country, across the circumpolar Arctic and around the world.

The intention is to foster more diverse participation in Arctic issues by:

  • Recruiting and bringing together youth who represent the diversity of their communities in rural and urban areas across the Arctic and around the world
  • Cultivate a network of partners to help establish several short-term (1-3 weeks) youth-exchange program that would bring together youth from around the world interested in Arctic issues to share their experiences, gain new perspectives and educate audiences about how the changing Arctic is affecting them
  • Foster greater youth involvement and leadership in public outreach and education about the conservation of Arctic flora and fauna and how a rapidly changing Arctic may impact their lives.
  • Learn about the many youth leadership and education programs that include rural-urban connections, safe and meaningful field opportunities, and science and Indigenous Knowledge-based education programs, and foster a greater understanding and stewardship of cultural and natural resources across the Arctic.

Youth perspectives are vital to the global conversation about how to sustain Arctic communities, cultures and the environment—it is clear those leaders who meet with youth such as those who have engaged in these kinds of programs have recognized the value of learning from youth who are living these changes in some of the most impacted communities, and youth within their own countries who may not live in the Arctic but are interested in it and appreciate how important it is to the rest of the world.

Several youth exchanges have taken place so far;

  • In 2017 a group of youth from Norway, Russia, US, Singapore and Korea came to Iceland where in the week leading up to the Arctic Circle we arrange meetings with Icelandic institutions and had an immersion course in Akureyri to teach them about the Arctic Council etc. The group then ended at the Arctic Circle where they organised a session and had with Ministers, Senators etc
  • In 2019 CAFF organized an exchange were 3 Icelandic youth and two Finish youth went to Alaska and met with the Arctic Youth Ambassadors and had the opportunity to explore the Anchorage and it's suroundings. The Finish youth then had the oppertunity to travel to Unalaska where they stayed for 14 days learning about the sustainability challenges on the island and working in the Museum of the Aleutians. They learned about the history and culture of the Qawalangin tribe of Unalaska and about environmental, social and economic sustainability issues concerning for example the fishing industry, the life on the island and the nature. They worked together with the Qawalangin tribe and organized a sustainability event where they discussed about the sustainability challenges on the island with representatives from the city, the fishing industry, the tribe, local youth and other residents. One U.S youth came to visit Finland were he stayed for 3 weeks learning about Finish Arctic issues and engaging with other youth.

Youth in cooperation with CAFF and WWF have held sessions at the Arctic Circle for the last four years introducing what the youth have been doing