Most of the Arctic, like most of the world, is commonly owned. With ownership comes the obligation to manage our resources for the benefit of the total. To do that, we must understand the reality, the richness, and the responsibility of the North.

– Governor Walter J. Hickel, Founder


The Institute fulfills its mission by focusing on three program areas:

Alaska Resource Governance & Economic Development

The Institute of the North’s role in and outside of Alaska is to foster an intellectual and cultural exchange between neighbors with common assets, challenges, needs and opportunities. In sharing the mechanisms for land and resource governance that Alaska is known as a model for, the Institute hopes to build a community of practice among states and nations with a resource-rich commons. We believe that, ultimately, careful management and development of the commons for the benefit of the people results in responsible community and economic development, with no legitimate reason for poverty.

In clearly defining public ownership of resources we share in common, in developing mechanisms for management of those resources on behalf of the public, and in continuing to work toward solutions that maximize the benefit of those resources, the Institute of the North is proud to be able to share our corner of the world with others. Together we find common cause in supporting our people, sustaining our communities and strengthening our institutions.

Arctic Policy and Infrastructure

The Institute of the North is the only organization in Alaska dedicated to understanding and sharing Alaska’s role in the North. From conversations with partners across the Arctic over the course of many years, it is clear that the Institute of the North is needed to:

  • Communicate to U.S. federal agencies Alaska’s history, interests, challenges and opportunities;
  • Propose new and compelling projects to the Arctic Council and sub-regional organizations like PNWER;
  • Articulate a vision for human development that calls for responsible development of the resource-rich commons for the benefit of the people living in the North.

Civic Engagement Opportunitites for Emerging Leadership

The Institute of the North also coordinates projects focused on supporting young leaders in Alaska. We have found that the upcoming generation of Alaskan leaders are committed to a prosperous future in the state and have a common sense of wanting to contribute meaningfully to that future. The Institute provides opportunities for young Alaskans engage with one another, their communities and state. Activities include education and dialogue around key policy discussions, political and civic engagement and professional development.