IASC 25 years - Page 81

3.4 ASSW in China. At that time, the scientific, econom- IASC in Transition Kristján Kristjánsson (President 2006-2010) ic and political realities of the North had changed dramatically and several distinctive research frameworks had already outlined a wide array of topics requiring research attention—ICARP II, ACIA, AHDR, and IPY, for example. Furthermore, and in the more I joined the IASC family in 1999 as the official repre- political arena, the Arctic Council, established in sentative for Iceland on IASC Council. However, the 1996, was promoting cooperation, coordination and first IASC meeting I attended, was ICARP I held at interaction in issues of sustainable development Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA in 1995. and environmental protection, which required grow- The main reason for my participation in ICARP I and ing attention from IASC. In this period of changes, my somewhat premature encounter with IASC was IASC was faced with many challenges but fortu- simply that Magnús Magnússon, the IASC President nately it managed to develop and maintain its role at that time and my fellow countryman, decided to as the leading Arctic science organization which, introduce me to IASC and coach me in replacing him to some extent, was due to good chairmanship by as the Icelandic representative on IASC Council. As highly competent persons like David Drewry and I am a rather slow learner; it took Magnús nearly Patrick Webber. four years to coach me and prepare me for formally joining the IASC family. Magnús Magnússon was a The new problems and challenges arising through fantastic mentor; he did a marvelous job and I am the deca de 1995-2005 called for new or improved forever grateful for his patience and dedication to scientific knowledge, and an increased need for safeguarding my participation and awakening my knowledge about the Arctic region made interna- interest in IASC. ICARP I was in many ways an inter- tional cooperation more essential. It was there- esting event for me to attend, as it was an import- fore evident and necessary for IASC to meet these ant milestone in IASC´s history. For the first time in grand challenges, and in order to do this it needed the history of Arctic research planning, IASC man- to change its strategy. The most vital transition aged to bring together, not only Arctic researchers IASC has undergone since it was established was from all over the World, but also representatives of from 2006 to 2010. During this period, IASC went the community of funders, managers and users. through the most extensive changes in its struc- The conference was a huge success and unques- ture, and consequently managed to strengthen its tionably elucidated in many ways the future and position as the leading international organization complex role of IASC in Arctic research. of scientific expertise in the Arctic. I had the privilege of leading IASC through this transitional pe- As mentioned above, I became the official Council riod. Many controversial decisions were taken, and representative for Iceland in 1999 and a few years approved by Council, and I am convinced they were later, in 2002, I was elected Vice-President. From necessary in order for IASC to survive and advance. 1999 to 2006, I participated quite actively in many significant IASC contributions to arctic research, such as the establishment of PAG, the creation of group of experts, the Review and Strategy Group, ASSW, ACIA, the planning and coordination of ICARP to evaluate IASC activities from 1996 to 2005, and II, the creation of ISAC, and the planning of IPY. I am to recommend strategies for the future. Members particularly proud of taking part in engaging more of this Review and Strategy Group were Tom Pyle young scientists in IASC and supporting the estab- (Chair), Hajime Ito, Anders Karlqvist, Igor Krupnik, lishment of APECS. It was, however, in 2006, that Hanne Petersen, Jörn Thiede and Sara Bowden (Sec- my participation in IASC went up a notch, when I retary). The group´s main recommendations were was quite unexpectedly elected as President at the 80 In early 2006, IASC appointed an international that IASC needed to adopt a new organizational 03 Contributions of Former IASC Presidents