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

Alaska Resource Governance & Economic Development

Common Lands, Uncommon Conditions

The Institute of the North’s primary activity is to explore the reality, the richness and the responsibility of Alaska’s commonly-owned lands, seas and resources; within that focus we educate Alaskans and the world about Alaska’s unique model of resource governance as well as engage policy makers, community members and business leaders in critical issues facing the state. For the Institute, the Commons is all that we share – land, resources, oceans, technology, infrastructure, and the civic space.

Central to this work is our examination of key state and federal legislation and policy that impacts Alaska’s access to our commons. The Institute has established a number of projects that address Alaska’s key laws, the state constitution, and the mechanisms of governance that provide the state with a framework for success. The Institute approaches these issues, as well as issues of civic responsibility through dialogue and discourse, with the Institute acting as convener and host of critical conversations. Additionally, the Institute has endeavored to assist in educating new and current generations of Alaskans in the realities and resposibilities that are inherent with common ownership.

Programs

Dialogue and Discourse

Since 2001 the Institute of the North has convened The Alaska Dialogue, a policy focused gathering where 90-120 Alaskans leaders gather for a 2 ½-day in-depth discussion of the key and often sensitive issues facing the state and our commons. Through these dialogues we believe a 'One Alaska' is possible, where the reality, richness, and responsibility of north is understood and appreciated.

Alaskans have an obligation to one another and the state. That obligation can be expressed, in part, through meaningful dialogue about the complex and dynamic issues facing Alaska and Alaskans' responsibilities in addressing them. The Institute of the North has helped develop the Voices campaign as a direct means of engaging Alaskans through civil civic discourse.

Constitutional Conversations are featured discussions held by the Institute of the North and Loussac Library. These montly informal discussions address the unique aspects of the Alaska Constitution, individual rights; and the role of the Alaska judiciary. The series takes place on the third Tuesday of the month from 5:30-6:30pm in the Ann Stevens Room of the Loussac Library.

The Institute has also developed topic specific projects and events, like the Showcasing Solutions discussion, which brought together stakeholders from across Alaska to highlight many of the challenges facing Alaskan entrepreneurism and the opportunities that exist to address them.

Research, Resources, and Education

At the request of Congress, the Institute of the North created a detailed and in-depth training curriculum on the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980. The Institute holds yearly ANILCA Seminars to assist all stakeholders in better understanding this pervasive and controversial law so it can be implemented fully and fairly.

Understanding Alaska's greography is vitally important to understanding the richness, reality, and responsibility inherent in this state. The Institute has developed a number of Alaskan Geography Resources to assist students and professionals in fully comprehending our vast and dynamic region.

There are many laws which shape the governing and management of Alaska's commons. The Institute intends to help students and practitioners managing Alaska's common property to better understand how common property is managed and governed through the reserach, exploration, and explication of Alaska's Key Laws.

In 2002, the Institute of the North began a cooperative project with Meeting of Frontiers, and website and database which catalogs the paralleling stories of America’s westward movement and Russia’s eastward movement to where they meet in Alaska. The Institute has developed teaching units to assist high school teachers in utilizing the web site and its wealth of resources.