Side-event, Arctic Frontiers 2023

February 1st, 11.00-12.30

Organiser: The High North Center for Business and Governance

There are many reasons to look to the North.

The Norwegian government has declared that Northern Norway is the most important strategic area in country, notably because much of the value creation will in the future take place in the North. Here we find a great paradox: while there are massive opportunities for value creation in the region, people move away. Especially young people move South. At the same time, too few young people from the South decides to move North.

Many other regions in the Arctic are experiencing a similar need people for industrial projects and/or to ensure sustainable societies. The idea for this panel is to discuss the different situations across the arctic frontiers with expert representatives from the different countries. How can we benefit from each other’s experience?

Three main questions:

  1. What are the challenges when it comes to attracting young people?
  2. What has been done to attract more young people?
  3. How’s it going? Lessons to be learned.

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Elena Zhurova Sæther holds a PhD (2015) in Business Economics from Nord University Business School. She is currently a researcher at High North Center at Nord University. Sæther’s research areas include sustainability and Arctic energy, demography & resilience in the High North, Blue Economy, and Blue growth. Sæther performed as coordinator and expert in various international projects with multiple stakeholders aimed at establishing and developing institutional collaboration and knowledge creation in areas of sustainable Arctic development, High North governance, sustainable urban & Smart cities development in the Arctic, Blue Economy, and regional cooperation. She is a co-organizer of UArctic thematic network on Blue Economy and the Arctic and a member of RUSSNET network


Maja Wolland Blomberg is a southerner who moved North a little over a year ago. She is now working as a Research Assistant on the InnNord-project at the High North Center, Nord University. She has a background from Political Science from France and is currently finalising another master in Global Management at Nord University.


Alexandra Middleton (FIN) is an Assistant Professor in Financial Accounting at Oulu Business School, University of Oulu. Alexandra’s areas of expertise include sustainable business development, demographics, human capital, innovations, employment and connectivity solutions in the Arctic. She has been a research and analytical contributor to the Arctic region’s “Business Index North” (BIN) project that focuses on sustainable development and value creation in the Arctic and High North. Alexandra is a member of the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) Task Force on Climate-Related reporting.

Ole Kolstand (NOR) has a BSc in social sciences (specializing in international relations) from NTNU and a MBA (specializing in strategy) from Nord University. Ole Kolstad has experience from Nordland county municipality as a advisor for international affairs, high north policy, security and preparedness. He has also experience from Maritime Forum North and four years at North Norway European Office in Brussels.

Mia Ahlstrand (SWE) is project manager for North Sweden Green Deal. The project aims to ensure that we will approach the societal transformation that northern Sweden is facing. The major investments being made in the region are beyond anything that has been seen before. The industry is transitioning to a fossil-free future. In order to succeed, it will require a much larger workforce than currently exists. This means that we need more housing, better services, more roads, more public transport, a better selection of cultural and other leisure activities, energy supply solutions and much more. The whole of society must develop – and quickly.

Janelle Flett (CAN) is a project coordinator on the development team for Barkley Project Group who work directly with Indigenous communities within British Columbia and the Yukon. She specialize in working on solar power development, community energy planning, and implementation. Janelle Flett holds a BSc. in Environmental Science from Mount Royal University. She is a also member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation located on Treaty 8 Territory and is Gwich’in from her mother’s ancestry.  I am co-chair of the Indigenous Youth Advisory Council in partnership with Suncor. As the first cohort, I recently completed the Indigenous Clean Energy: Generation Power program.

Reinhard Reynisson (ISL) hold a BA degree in Political Science and studied European Studies at MA level. For the last two and a half year he has worked at the Regional Institute Development Institute as specialist in regional development and as Regional Contact Point for the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme. Before the current position he was the general manager of a regional economic development agency in northeast Iceland for twelve years, working on attracting investors, assisting entrepreneurs, and strengthening the general conditions of the communities in the area. Before that he was a major for almost twenty years in three different municipalities in the rural part of Iceland.

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