Alexander Pelyasov

This volume of the Arctic Yearbook is devoted to the umbrella topic of Arctic human capital and capacity. The success in the elaboration of the new industrial districts in the Arctic both offshore and onshore, the success with the Arctic Universities, and of Arctic entrepreneurs is highly dependent upon the quality and quantity of the Arctic human capital.

Learning by communicating - as nowhere else the growth of the Arctic human capital is dependent upon the art of communication in the Arctic cities, Arctic forums, and Arctic projects. In 2014 we have had a good deal of such Arctic international events with definite influence on Arctic human capital. To name a few let us remember ICASS VIII in Prince George, British Columbia, the 54th European Regional Science Association Congress in St.Petersburg with a strong Arctic focus, and the successful end of almost three years of work under Arctic Human Development Report-2.

The general idea of the numerous presentations and papers in these forums is that under the challenges of rapidly changing Arctic social and natural environment it is critical to provide an adequate and creative reply with Arctic systems of education, Arctic innovative clusters and regional innovation systems. And the engine of all these elements of the Arctic innovative infrastructure is Arctic human capital - these are talents and highly qualified specialists.

Under the contemporary conditions of globalization the whole Arctic looks like one united community of practice when somebody’s ideas are immediately picked up by the neighbors to collectively build one united Arctic house, Arctic Mediterranean for all. Indeed the Arctic is absolutely unique as people here are involved in “trade” with each other not with resources, as they have similar resources throughout the Arctic, but with knowledge, ideas, competences and human capital of inter-polar migrants.

Each of the countries from the five economic models of the Northern economy (Russian, Canadian, American, Nordic and island) can contribute to and enrich the common Arctic human capital pool: Russia – its knowledge of how to colonize the Northern Sea Route under the conditions of climate change; Canada – how to inspire self-development of the isolated small Arctic communities; USA – how to create innovative institutions to share resource rents in the interests of the Arctic people; Scandic countries – how to transfer remoteness into accessibility by the elements of the Arctic infrastructure; Arctic island countries of Greenland and Iceland – how to use the energy of the Arctic sovereignty in new projects for Arctic economic development.

If we compare Arctic and non-Arctic regions we can reveal several distinct differences in the Arctic human capital. First, Arctic human capital is dependent upon the tacit knowledge of the Arctic Natives, the wisdom of elders, the art of living with nature for ages peacefully and sustainably. Second, it is highly connected with resource and land use. Third, it is focused on the art of living on the edge of the land/sea limit, that is combining coastal zone management knowledge and innovations with rapid climate change. Fourth, Arctic human capital is a holistic, comprehensive phenomenon, uniting social and natural knowledge in one common pool. And finally, last but not least, Arctic human capital is embedded into the vibrant and resilient Arctic communities, with collaborative role of its veterans, migrant newcomers, and of course responsible local leaders.

If we look at the papers of this year’s Arctic Yearbook authors we can see all these peculiarities of the Arctic human capital in their agenda, study, and description.

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