Murkowski Spotlights Alaska at Arctic Circle Assembly in Iceland

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today delivered remarks during the opening session of the 2018 Arctic Circle Assembly, which is being held in Reykjavik, Iceland. The Assembly annually brings together more than 2,000 of the most influential leaders, policymakers, and experts from more than 60 countries to focus on the Arctic region. This year’s Assembly showcase is the state of Alaska – America’s Arctic.  

Murkowski speaking at Arctic Circle

Murkowski speaking at the Arctic Circle Assembly

“It is an honor to have Alaska spotlighted during this year’s event,” Murkowski said. “From energy innovation to community adaptation and scientific research, Alaskans are leading the way and looking to collaborate with international partners. Our focus drives us to pursue responsible economic development while addressing the challenges of a harsh and fragile environment, and acting as good stewards to preserve our resources and our way of life for future generations.”

Murkowski pointed to the innovative solutions being tested and implemented in isolated communities across the state to provide Alaskans with access to sustainable energy and healthcare.

“From our experience in operating microgrids and distributed sources of power generation, to the testing grounds for unmanned aerial systems, as well as in the areas of telehealth and telemedicine, Alaska is an Arctic leader,” Murkowski said. “If necessity is the mother of invention, you will find plenty of necessity in America’s Arctic. Our need to drive down costs and increase reliability in remote and isolated communities drives our innovation.”

Murkowski also acknowledged an important gathering taking place simultaneously in Alaska – the annual convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN).

“We are fortunate that a number of Alaska Natives are with us in Iceland, even while this is also AFN week,” Murkowski said. “Alaska is well represented here in Iceland as we make the AFN Convention an international affair.”

In addition, Murkowski moderated a plenary discussion focused on energy innovation and community adaptation underway across Alaska, which featured Alaska Center for Energy and Power Director Gwen Holdman; Cordova Mayor Clay Koplin; Juneau Economic Development Council Executive Director Brian Holst; International Arctic Science Committee President and Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Larry Hinzman; and NANA Regional Corporation Vice President of Operations Eric Utraq Billingsley. 

Alaska Plenary Panel at Arctic Circle

Murkowski moderating plenary discussion

During the trip, Murkowski also met with several Icelandic leaders, including President Gudni Johannesson, Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, Speaker of Parliament Steingrimur Sigfusson, Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarsson, and Parliamentarian Ari Trausti Gudmundsson, as well as Greenland Minister Ane Lone Bagger and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, to discuss ways our nations can partner to create a robust and sustainable future for the Arctic region.

 Murkowski and Iceland Prime Minister

Murkowski and Iceland Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir

Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. She is a long standing member on the Standing Committee of Arctic Parliamentarians as well as chair of the Senate Arctic Caucus.


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