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May 21, 2018

University of New England launches 'The Institute for North Atlantic Studies'

Courtesy / University of New England
Courtesy / University of New England
University of New England President James Herbert announced today that UNE is launching a new program to train the next generation of leaders to develop research, industry and community partnerships to meet shared challenges and opportunities throughout the North Atlantic region. UNE NORTH: The Institute for North Atlantic Studies, which will be located at 1075 Forest Ave. near the university's Portland campus.

About the University of New England

The University of New England is Maine's largest private university, featuring campuses in Portland and Biddeford, a vibrant campus in Tangier, Morocco, and an array of innovative offerings online. It is home to Maine's only medical and dental colleges, a variety of other aligned health care programs and nationally recognized degree paths in the marine sciences, the natural and social sciences, business, the humanities and the arts.

About Sen. Angus King and the North

U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, has been an advocate for Maine's interests in the North Atlantic and Arctic region and has worked in Washington to advance Maine's leadership in the High North. He is a co-founder of the bipartisan Senate Arctic Caucus with U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, which works to underscore the importance of the Arctic for the United States' national security, economic viability, and environmental leadership. In 2015 King traveled to Iceland, where he participated in the Arctic Circle Assembly Plenary Session, speaking to the national security, climate change, economic issues that make the region a significant policy priority for the U.S.

In October 2016, King joined Maine people and leaders from around the globe to attend the Arctic Council conference at the University of Southern Maine's Portland Campus. He also visited Greenland on a fact-finding mission that focused on examining the environmental and security implications of the warming Arctic climate and traveled to Iqaluit, Canada, to help usher in the United States' chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015.

The University of New England announced today it is launching a new program to train the next generation of leaders to develop research, industry and community partnerships to meet shared challenges and opportunities throughout the North Atlantic region.

UNE President James Herbert was joined by U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and other stakeholders in announcing the launch of UNE NORTH: The Institute for North Atlantic Studies, which will be located at 1075 Forest Ave. near the university's Portland campus.

"With a changing climate and myriad international interests in the region, the Arctic presents both great challenges and great potential for our collective future," King said in news release. "That's why it's so important we teach the next generation of leaders about the High North, so we can foster cooperation among nations, protect the environment, defend our national security interests, and ensure economic development is responsible and sustainable. With the launch of UNE NORTH, we are harnessing the innovative potential of students and researchers in Maine and further establishing our state as leader in the Arctic region."

Herbert pointed to the demographic, geographic, climatic and cultural similarities between Maine and North Atlantic Nordic countries such as Iceland as the driver behind Maine's increasing leadership in the region.

"Recognizing shared environmental and public health challenges and common business and education opportunities, Maine is poised to take a leading role in developing innovative partnerships that support thriving environments, economies, and communities," he said. "Through UNE NORTH, the University of New England will convene stakeholders from across the North Atlantic region to bring their combined curiosity and creativity to bear on health, social, environmental, and economic challenges."

Partnering with university in Iceland

One of UNE NORTH's inaugural academic programs, a professional science master's degree in ocean food systems, will partner with the University of Akureyi and with Holar University College, both in Iceland, to train leaders for Maine's seafood economy.

Other undergraduate, graduate, and professional educational programs will be designed to address specific shared challenges and opportunities in the region. UNE NORTH will also develop collaborative research and policy initiatives with other universities, governments, non-governmental organizations, and businesses.

"The potential for collaboration in the North Atlantic region is endless," UNE NORTH Executive Director Barry Costa-Pierce said. " UNE's broad research and education strengths, combined with our entrepreneurial spirit and ability to execute, make us uniquely suited to shepherd partnerships needed to develop sustainable solutions to the region's problems."

An advisory council comprised of leaders from across Maine will help guide UNE NORTH's development.

"The UNE NORTH initiative is an important one for Maine and the region," said advisory council member Dana Eidsness, director of the Maine North Atlantic Development Office. "UNE's innovative culture and history of building strong relationships with businesses and communities will serve UNE NORTH well as it develops the partnerships and programs needed to help Maine and the region grow and thrive."

UNE NORTH's headquarters and classrooms on Forest Avenue are within walking distance to convention spaces at UNE's Innovation Hall. The initiative also will have access to UNE's state-of-the-art marine and health sciences research facilities, and will utilize global classroom technology to network with students, researchers, industry, indigenous peoples and policy and government leaders across the region.

"UNE NORTH — its students, researchers, business, and community partners — is an invitation to collaborate and create the sustainable solutions to help Maine and its neighbors thrive," Herbert said.

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