As the preeminent international and interdisciplinary northern research organization, the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), “is committed to ensuring that the opportunities provided through its internal and external processes, activities and events are delivered in ways that support participation regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religion, race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status, disability, physical appearance, age or career status ... IASC is committed to ensuring a safe, productive and welcoming environment for all.” (IASC Handbook)
Nevertheless, Arctic science still suffers from systemic biases that marginalize and exclude people who are Black, Indigenous, or from other under-represented minorities both in the Arctic region and around the world. Racism takes many forms – from the overt to the subtle or unconscious. Systemic racism can and does silence people, devalue their contributions, and exclude them from Arctic science. Changes to remove systemic racism and bias will require work on all levels, from the individual to the institutional.
IASC stands against racism and all its systemic effects. As an organization that has valued and facilitated building connections, IASC is implementing these actions against racism:
- IASC invites all of its member countries to redouble their efforts to nominate people who are Black, Indigenous, or from other under-represented minorities to the IASC Working Groups and IASC Council.
- IASC will work to publicize more broadly its funding opportunities, Fellowships, and IASC Medal and actively recruit more applications and nominations from people who are Black, Indigenous, or from other under-represented minorities.
- IASC leadership will be thoughtfully considering what actions we can and should enact as an organization to address systemic bias and racism. We ask the IASC community to hold leadership accountable, as we aim to do for ourselves.
IASC also invites the international Arctic science community to join us in “doing the work” to combat racism and make the Arctic science community more diverse and inclusive. We have set up a Google Form for you (both individuals and organizations/institutions) to share your pledges of action, resources on allyship, bias, and anti-racism in (Arctic) science, and suggestions for action for IASC and the Arctic science community. The IASC Secretariat has started to compile some references and resources. You are also welcome and encouraged to email IASC at any time. IASC will also summarize the responses and share them back out later this summer.
Black Lives Matter. Indigenous Lives Matter. IASC looks forward to working with the Arctic science community to eradicate racism and systemic biases in our community and to build a more diverse and inclusive Arctic research community.
On behalf of IASC Leadership:
Larry Hinzman, IASC President
Henry Burgess, IASC Vice-President
Hiroyuki Enomoto, IASC Vice-President
Paula Kankaanpää, IASC Vice-President
Allen Pope, IASC Executive Secretary
Federica Scarpa, IASC Communications Manager
Hjalti Ómar Ágústsson, IASC Executive Officer