Memorial Lectures

The annual Stefansson Memorial Lectures are delivered in commemoration of the explorer and anthropologist Vilhjálmur Stefansson - of his life, work and vision for the Arctic. These lectures are generally held in autumn, around the time of Stefansson's birthday, November 3rd.

  • The first Memorial Lecture was delivered at the University of Akureyri, Iceland, on December 8th, 1998, by Dr. Oran Young, Professor and Director of Institute of Arctic Studies at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA, and was titled  Creating an Arctic Sustainable Development Strategy.
  • Professor Mark Nuttall, Department of Sociology, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, delivered the 2nd Stefansson Memorial Lecture in Akureyri on November 3rd, 2000, at the advent of the 1st NRF Open Meeting, North Meets North, November 4-6. Title: Global Processes and community viability in the circumpolar North.
  • The president of Iceland, Dr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson delivered a lecture in commemoration of Vilhjálmur Stefansson at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA on November 1, 2002. Title: The Stefansson-Dartmouth Legacy and the Role of America, Russia and the Nordic Countries in the Future of the North.
  • The fourth Memorial Lecture was given by the Governor General of Canada, Mrs Adrienne Clarkson on Monday, October 13th 2003, in the University of Akureyri Auditorium in the Oddfellow House at Sjafnarstigur. The lecture's  title was  A Threshold of the Mind: The Modern North.
  • The fifth Memorial Lecture was on Thursday, September 9th 2004 in Oddfellow House in Akureyri. This time there were two Swedish lecturers: Laila Freivalds, the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs: Swedish Arctic Policy and professor Sverker Sörlin: The Human Arctic: Stefansson, Ahlmann, and the Quest for an Arctic within History.
  • The sixth Stefansson Memorial Lecturewas organized by the Stefansson Arctic Institute in association with the Scott Polar Research Institute on 1st November 2005, at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Lensfield Road, in Cambridge, England. Dr Gísli Pálsson, Professor of Anthropology at University of Iceland gave a lecture called Travelling Passions: The Life and Legacy of Vilhjalmur Stefansson, the Arctic Explorer.
  • The seventh Stefansson Memorial Lecture was given at Dartmouth College on 1st November 2006  by  Andrew C. Revkin from the New York Times who called his lecture The North Pole Was Here: On The Front Lines Of Climate Change, From The Arctic To The Beltway. Andrew Revkin is one of America's most honored science writers and has spent nearly a quarter century covering subjects ranging from Hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami to the assault on the Amazon, from the troubled relationship of science and politics to climate change in the North Pole. He has been reporting on the environment for The New York Times since 1995, a job that has taken him to the Arctic three times in three years. In 2003, he became the first Times reporter to file stories and photos from the sea ice around the pole. He spearheaded a three-part Times series and one-hour documentary in 2005 on the transforming Arctic. In 2003, his climate coverage won the first National Academies Communication Award for print journalism, presented by the nation's eminent scientific body.
  • The 2007 Stefansson Memorial Lecture was delivered at the University of Akureyri on November 7th 2007 by climate historian Astrid Ogilvie. Dr Ogilvie is Research Fellow, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) University of Colorado (further information here). The title of the lecture was “Interdisciplinary Explorations in the Climate, History and Human Ecology of Northern Iceland.” Co-sponsors with the Stefansson Arctic Institute of this year’s lecture were the University of Akureyri and Rannís – The Icelandic Centre for Research. The event is a joint contribution to the International Polar Year.  Lecture abstract here.
  • The Stefansson Memorial Lecture 2008 was sponsored by the Stefansson Arctic Institute in collaboration with the University of Akureyri and the Centre of Gender Equality. This event which was held in the University of Akureyri was on the 29th of October 2008 in celebration of the Stefansson Arctic Institute’s tenth anniversary. Dr Gunhild Hoogensen, associate professor of political science at the University of Tromsø, Norway, gave a lecture which she called Drill baby, Drill: from Energy to Human Security in the Circumpolar North. See abstract.
  • The Stefansson Memorial Lecture 2010 was given in Norræna húsið (Nordic House) in Reykjavík on the 10th of November 2010 by Þóra Ellen Þórhallsdóttir, professor at the Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland. The title of her lecture was Vísindamaðurinn í náttúrunni og náttúra vísindarannsókna: Um hlutverk og samfélagslegar skyldur vísindamanna (The scientist in nature and the nature of research: The role and social obligations of scientists).
  • The Stefansson Memorial Lecture 2012 was delivered by Finn Lynge at the University of Greenland (Ilisimatusarfik) Friday, 21 September 2012. The title/subject of the lecture was: Compass needle: where does it point? Are there limits to growth?Are these limits known and respected?How fares the division of powers in present-day Greenland?
  • The Stefansson Memorial Lecture 2013 was given by anthropologist Thomas McGovern, Hunter College, City University of New York, at Dartmouth College on 29 October 2013. The title of the lecture was Sustainability and Collapse in the Norse North Atlantic: Implications for Climate Adaptation Today. See details here.
  • The Stefansson Memorial Lecture 2014 was given by Dr James White, a noted climate scientist working on abrupt climate change, sea ice and sea-level changes, and carbon cycles. The title of the lecture was Abrupt Change: Past, Present and Future:The hard reality and silver lining in a sustainable future. The lecture was given at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado, USA on 11 December 2014. See more here.
  • 2016 Stefansson Memorial Lecture was given at Dartmouth College, USA on November 3, 2016 by Hugh Beach, Professor Emeritus of Ethnology, Uppsala University in Sweden. The lecture was called Managing the Wilderness: Arctic Perspectives.
  • The 2017 Stefansson Memorial Lecture was delivered by Professor Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir, Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Economics, and Department of Life-and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland. The title of the lecture was: The Value of the Arctic.
    The lecture was held on 1 December, as a contribution to the opening programme of a new interdisciplinary Arctic Research Centre (CER-ARCTIC) at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. The Centre is the first of its kind in Spain. The lecture was a joint project of the Stefansson Arctic Institute and the Institute of Arctic Studies at Dartmouth College, NH, USA.