Experts & Advisory Council

Advisory Council

Steffen Weber, Secretary General
Mr. Weber is the co-founder and Secretary General of the Arctic Forum Foundation. He worked in the European Parliament as Chief Adviser on the Arctic Report and Adviser on foreign affairs, resources, energy and development. Prior to these commitments he worked as Director EU of the Project on an “EU Baltic Sea Region Strategy” for the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation, a German Think Tank, and gained experience as a Political and before also Legal Counsel and Lawyer in International and Corporate Law.

Mr. Weber has an Academic background in law and political science and is affiliated with several think tanks and institutes in Europe, including Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation, CES, The European Geopolitical Forum and the Geopolitics North Network including CSIS, MGIMO, IUH and SWP.

Dr. Professor Anatoly Zolotukhin is the Deputy Chancellor of International Affairs for Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas. He is also the Scientific Director at the Institute for Arctic Oil and Gas Technologies at GU, Vice President of the World Petroleum Council, Visiting Professor at the University of Stavanger, Norway, Doctor Honoris Causa at Murmansk State Technical University, and Doctor Honoris Causa at Northern Arctic Federal University, Arkhangelsk.

John Richardson is is currently a Senior Resident Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. He is the fmr. Deputy Head of the European Commission’s Delegation to the United States in Washington D.C., and Ambassador/Head of Delegation to the UN in New York. Mr. Richardson also headed the Task Force that developed the Integrated Maritime Policy for the EU that which was adopted by the European Council in December 2007.

Michael Gahler is a Member of the European Parliament and the Rapporteur of the Parliament Arctic Report. He also works as a Coordinator for the EPP Security and Defense Committee, and is the Chair of the Delegation to Pan-African Parliament, and of the Foreign Affairs/Transport Committee.

Pr. Willy Østreng is an elected Member of the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters, and of the International Academy of Regional Development and Cooperation in Russia. Mr. Østreng also works as a Senior Researcher and Chairman at the Research Institute Ocean Futures in Oslo as a affiliated faculty at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and is Vice-President of the Norwegian Academy of Polar Research.

Dr. Baozhi Cheng is the research fellow with Shanghai Institutes for International studies (SIIS), one of the top official think-tanks in China. Dr. Cheng’s major study fields cover the Arctic governance, international law, and European Union law. At present, he is the co-chair on Arctic governance in SIIS sponsored by China’s Arctic & Antarctic Administration and the Polar Research Institute of China. He was also a visiting scholar on EU Arctic policy during his stay in SWP Berlin (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik) in 2012. Dr. Cheng has published widely on the status and trend of Arctic governance in some leading Chinese academic journals, newspapers and magazines.


Pr. Alyson Bailes is currently a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe where she teaches New Security Challenges and Security Governance, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Iceland. She is the fmr. British Ambassador and Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). She was also Vice-President of the European Security Programme at the Institute for EastWest Studies (now EastWest Institute) in New York (1996-1997), and worked as a Political Director of the Western European Union in Brussels from September 1997 to July 2000.

Mr. Morten Høglund is Chair of the Standing Committee of the Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, and has been a Member of the Parliament of Norway since 2001. He is a Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Reserve Member of the Electoral Committee, and Member of the Extended Foreign Affairs committee. Mr. Høglund was also the Deputy Mayor of Ski, Norway between 1989-1991, and held the same position in Asker from 1995 to 2003.

Oddgeir Danielsen is the Director of the Secretariat of the Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logistics. Mr. Danielsen also worked as an adviser to the Norwegian Barents Secretariat and CEO of the Port of Kirkenes.

Pr. Clive Archer is currently an Emeritus Professor and Head of the Manchester Metropolitan University’s European Institute. He has conducted research on the Nordic area and Europe as well as in the Arctic region and carries out research on the UK’s Arctic interests with a Norwegian Research group. Pr. Archer has been honored by the King of Norway and the President of Finland.

Pr. Helga Haftendorn is the fmr. Director of the Center for Transnational Relations, Foreign and Security Policy, and is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Relations at the Free University of Berlin.

Indrek Tarand is an Estonian Politician and a Member of the European Parliament. Tarand served as an advisor to the Prime Minister of Estonia and as the Secretary General of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Jo Leinen has been a member of the European Parliament since 1999
representing Germany. He was Minister of the Environment in the of Saarland (1985–1994) and a Member of the Landtag of Saarland until 1999. Since 1997, Mr. Leinen has been President of the Union of European Federalists, as well as a member of the Advisory Council of the Committee for a Democratic UN since 2004.

Liisa Anneli Jaakonsaari is a Finnish politician and a Member of the European Parliament. She was a City Councillor in Oulu from 1972 until 1995. She was also a Member of the Finnish Parliament from 1979 until 2009, when she was elected into the European Parliament. Ms. Jaakonsaari was also the Minister of Labour in Paavo Lipponen’s first cabinet (1995–1999).

Dr. Petra Dolata is a Lecturer of International Politics at the Department of Political Economy at King’s College, London. She is also the Research Director of King’s College European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS) in the Department of War Studies. Before joining King’s College she was Assistant Professor of North American History at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

Konrad Szymański – Member of the European Parliament, European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR). Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, Vice-coordinator for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, Rapporteur in the field of Energy, Vice-chair of EP Roundtable on shale gas. Delegation EU-Armenia, EU-Azerbaijan and EU-Georgia Parliamentary Cooperation Committees, Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, Substitute Foreign Affairs Committee and Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee.

Lars-Anders Baer is the Chairman of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council Working grouping Indigenous Peoples (WGIP), and the Chairman of the Resource Centre for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Previously, he was the President of the Saami Parliament in Sweden, and a former member of the United Nations’ Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).

Mr. Voloshin is the Director of the Centre for the Industrial Policy Research at the Institute for International Economic and Political Research of Russian Academy of Sciences. He is also works as a Professor in the World Politics Department at the State University of Management. Dr. Voloshin took part in the elaboration of the economic strategy for Russia and is a member of the National Investment Council.

Pr. John Erik Fossum is a Professor of Political Science at ARENA’s Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo and at the University of Bergen. He was President (1999-2002) and is now Vice President (2005-) of the Nordic Association for Canadian Studies (NACS). His main fields of interest includes political theory, democracy and constitutionalism in the EU and Canada.

Dr. Michael Bravo is a Senior Lecturer and Fellow at Downing College. He is also a convenor of Circumpolar History and the Public Policy Research Group at the Scott Polar Research Institute. Dr. Bravo is currently a member of the Department of Geography’s Natures, Cultures, Knowledges Thematic Research Group, and works as a research associate in the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science

Fmr. Indian Navy Officer, Vijay Sakhuja, PhD, is the Director of Research at the Indian Council of World Affairs in New Delhi. Dr. Sakhuja is also a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. He served on the research faculty at the Centre for Airpower Studies, Observer Research Foundation, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, and the United Service Institution of India. Dr. Sakhuja research areas includes Indian Ocean security, naval and maritime developments, and maritime risk assessment.

Russian Arctic expert, Lev Voronkov is a Senior Researcher and Head of the Nordic Department at the Center for Nordic and Baltic Studies at MGIMO University. He is also a member of the international research project Geopolitics in the High North.


Dr. Cécile Pelaudeix, Advisor and Senior Research Fellow is a lecturer at Sciences Po Lyon, and a Research Associate at PACTE-Sciences Po Grenoble. Dr. Pelaudeix is a member of the Group of Research ‘International & Europe’ in PACTE, Sciences Po Grenoble, and the Scientific Committee of the “Chantier Arctique,” CNRS, Paris. She has done extensive fieldworks in several Arctic communities and remote camps in Baffin Island. In 2010, she organised in Lyon the Arctic Conference: Geopolitical Issues and Equations in the 21st Century. She is also an editor of the book “What Holds the Arctic Together?,” with A. Faure and R. Griffiths. Her research interests focuses on the EU Arctic Policy, the Canadian Arctic Policy, Arctic states bilateral relations with the EU, Indigenous governance, and the impact of globalization on the governance of the Arctic region.

Björne Hegefeldt, Media and Outreach Fellow advises the AFF on Media and Outreach issues. He currently works with transnational cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region and has a background in Political Communication. Previous positions includes Information and Communication Officer for Mid Sweden Region in Brussels and Programme Manager at European Commission DG REGIO.

Stephen Perry, Research Fellow is a doctoral researcher in Political Science at the University of Namur in Belgium, specializing in securitization and the role of outside states in the Arctic. Possessing an academic background in International Relations and European politics, Stephen also has diverse experience in both the development field and the private sector.

Nikolas Sellheim, Research Fellow is part of the Legal Cultures in Transnational World (LeCTra) doctoral programme at the University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland. His legal and anthropological doctoral research deals with the impacts of the EU’s anti-sealing policy of commercial sealers in the Atlantic Canada ,and the EU’s legitimacy as an Arctic actor. Nikolas currently works as a Book Review Editor for Polar Record at the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, UK. He holds a Master’s degree in Polar Law from the University of Akureyri, Iceland. Prior to joining, he worked for the University of the Arctic’s International Secretariat and the Arctic Council’s working group on Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF). Nikolas was also involved in the EU Arctic Footprint and Policy Assessment (AFPA) project and with the EU Competencies affecting the Arctic project for the European Parliament.

Heather Exner-Pirot, Research Fellow is the Managing Editor for Arctic Yearbook and geopolitics blogger for Eye on the Arctic. She currently works as a Strategist for Outreach and Indigenous Engagement at the University of Saskatchewan. Previous positions include program assistant at the University of the Arctic Office of Undergraduate Studies and Research Officer at the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development. She earned her PhD at the University of Calgary in 2011, focusing on circumpolar relations, Arctic security and regionalization.

Claudia Cinelli, Research Fellow is a graduate cum laude from the University of Pisa’s Law Faculty (2004). She has an LLM in International Law from the Italian Society for International Organization (SIOI-Rome, 2005), and received a PhD at the Faculty of Law, University of Seville (2010). Currently, she works as an adjunct professor for the International Law Institute at the University of Pisa. Her relevant experience in the sphere of International Law includes her stint as a Visiting Researcher at the European Court of Human Rights (Strasbourg, summer 2005), the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland (Galway, autumn 2006), the Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law (University of Cambridge, winter 2007), the Hague Academy Centre for Studies and Research (The Hague, August-September 2008), and the University of Tromsø, Norway in (2009, 2010 and 2013). Among her main research contributions on the law of the sea are papers and/or participation by speaking at academic events concerning Arctic Ocean, namely navigation, fisheries, ice islands, maritime delimitation issues and maritime environmental protection, including the specific regime of Svalbard Archipelago.

Iulian Romanyshyn, Junior Research Fellow is a graduate student of EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. He holds BA Political Science from National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”, Ukraine and MA Analysing Europe from Maastricht University, The Netherlands. Iulian completed an internship at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), where he contributed to the Geopolitics in the High North project. His focus is on the European Union’s strategy and role in the Arctic region. Iulian’s broader research interests include European Neighbourhhood Policy, European security and defence policy and EU’s promotion of effective multilateralism.

Mia Bennett, Junior Research Fellow is pursuing an MPhil in Polar Studies at the University of Cambridge as a Gates Scholar. Her dissertation will investigate the extent of an Asian-Arctic region. She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Los Angeles with degrees in Political Science and European Studies and minored in Geospatial Information Systems & Technology, Scandinavian, and French. Her focused was on how climate change has reshaped geopolitics in the Arctic, looking at transportation and trade networks, natural resources and governance. She also studied Swedish language and culture at Lund University in Sweden and spent a semester abroad at Sciences Po in Paris, France. Mia also interned for the U.S. Embassy in Oslo, Norway. She speaks French, Swedish, and is learning Russian. Her work has appeared in ReNew Canada, Water Canada, FACTA, and Baltic Rim Economies, among other publications.

Egill Thor Nielsson, Junior Research Fellow is a visiting scholar at the Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC), where he conducts research within the Strategic Studies Division. He has a M.Sc. degree in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics and Politics and a M.Sc. in International Business and Marketing from the University of Iceland. Before joining PRIC in 2011, he taught at the Junior College of Akureyri and was a Research Assistant at the University of Iceland.

Christy Hehir, Junior Research Fellow was awarded the 2008-9 ATHE (The Association for Tourism in Higher Education) Post Graduate Student Prize for the best MA/MSc Student on Tourism Programmes, as well received the ITB top graduate Sustainability Science Award for, ‘Best International Thesis’ for her work into Ambassadorship and Polar tourism. Christy is an award-winning committed researcher, with an insatiable passion towards adventure yet responsible travel. In 2012 her first book‘Arctic Reflections: Moments of inspiration, a life time of action’ was published based on her experience in Svalbard. Christy currently works in the Research and Insights team at VisitBritain in London.


Partners, Participants and Friends

Our Arctic Twitter News

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Your Name

Email (required)