Since 2014, WKU has been involved in teaching and research in Iceland in cooperation with partners to help facilitate further collaboration. On May 29, the Center for Human GeoEnvironmental Studies (CHNGES) at WKU signed an agreement with the Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network (IACN) to become the first international member of the Network. The IACN is an organization aimed at increasing communication between member parties on the visibility and pertinence of issues in the Arctic. Network members include public and private organizations, institutions, businesses, and other bodies involved in Arctic issues. Through this partnership, IACN and CHNGES will collaborate to promote research and innovation, participation in international conferences, faculty exchanges, and participation in educational study abroad courses.
CHNGES has collaborated with IACN on a variety of programs since their introduction in 2014. Among these collaborative activities has been the facilitation of a series of student summer internships. To date, six WKU students from a variety of programs, such as Music, Biology, Business, and Geography and Environmental Studies, have been able to spend time in Akureyri, Iceland, interning at the IACN working on a variety of projects. Additionally, multiple internships have also evolved into student research projects, including grant-funded undergraduate and graduate research.
The Director of the IACN, Embla Eir Oddsdóttir, visited WKU in 2016 to further discussions and explore research opportunities with faculty and students at WKU. Since then, WKU CHNGES and IACN have hosted joint sessions at the Arctic Circle conference in Reykjavik and worked to improve community development in Akureyri through joint environmental, sustainability and community projects.
Dr. Jason Polk, Director of CHNGES, said: “We are honored to be invited as the first international member of the IACN given our many years of close cooperation with the Network. This formalization of our partnership will assist in further allowing collaborative projects, student internships, and being able to engage with our Arctic colleagues to improve socioenvironmental conditions in the region.”
Learn more about the IACN by visiting https://arcticiceland.is/en/
Follow all of CHNGES activities through social media @wkuchnges on Instagram and Twitter and @chngeswku on Facebook
Contact: Leslie North, (270) 745-5982