Professor emeritus at the University of California Santa Barbara, Oran Young, is the Mohn Prize laureate 2024 for his leading research and geopolitical work on the Arctic.

During his extensive career, Oran Young has been a strong promoter of geopolitical attention to the Arctic. He is a leader in studies of international governance and environmental institutions, and the world's foremost expert on these themes in the Arctic.

As a political scientist and environmental researcher, he is recognized for his interdisciplinary research on international institution building, resource management and the human dimension of climate change in the Arctic.


– Being selected to receive the 2024 Mohn Prize is an exceptional honour. For me, it’s the capstone of 50 years of active engagement in Arctic affairs, Oran Young says.

A central role

The Rector of UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Dag Rune Olsen, is the chair of the steering committee for the Mohn Prize. He considers Young as an exceptionally worthy laureate:

– What Oran Young has done for interdisciplinary, geopolitical cooperation and research is unsurpassed. His work has left, and will continue to leave, a decisive imprint on how we talk about and understand the Arctic, he says.

Over several decades, Young has had a central role in founding and development of a number of research institutions and collaborative forums for the Arctic. This had played important political and scientific roles to ensure peaceful international cooperation and sustainable management in the Arctic.

Young has also contributed to establishing a knowledge-based public discourse about management in the Arctic and an informed dialogue with political decision-makers.

Oran Young holds a PhD and a master's degree from Yale University and a bachelor's degree from Harvard University. He has been an Adjunct Professor at UiT and has spent most of his career at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, which is part of the University of California Santa Barbara.

Calls for new ideas and collaboration

The Scientific Committee of The Mohn Prize writes in its justification that Young's research and leadership over several decades have been decisive for the development of integrated and collaboratively focused research in the Arctic.

- We stand at a critical juncture regarding international cooperation in the Arctic, and we need to reinvent our institutions, so they are well suited for the next decades. We are in need of creative engagement between the policy and scientific communities to come up with solutions to the new challenges in the Arctic, Young says.

An elderly man is talking next to a podium.
Oran Young was appointed an Honorary Doctorate at UiT in 2015, and gave a guest lecture on the topic: The Arctic Council at Twenty: How to Maintain Effectiveness in a Rapidly Changing Environment.PHOTO: MAJA SOJTARIC / UIT

Young is one of the most cited researchers in his field, including authorship of 20 books, and 150 professional articles and book chapters. He was appointed honorary doctorate at UiT The Arctic University of Norway in 2015.

– I have developed a strong bond with Tromsø as a major arctic capital. I am thrilled at the prospect of returning to Tromsø next January to receive the award of the Mohn Prize, Young says.

Oran Young will receive the Mohn Prize during the Arctic Frontiers conference in 2024. He will give a speech at the award ceremony and contribute with several lectures during the conference. 

You can watch a recording of the announcement live the video on the  UiT website

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