It’s Goodbye to the U.S. Arctic Council Chairmanship, but Hello to the New ‘Our Arctic Nation’ Book

By U.S. Department of State staff

The cover of the U.S. Department of State’s new Our Arctic Nation book features a stunning ice cave near Juneau, Alaska. (Photo: David Lienemann)

The Our Arctic Nation blog was launched in January 2016 under the auspices of the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (April 2015-May 2017). The blog’s goal was to explore and strengthen America’s Arctic identity by drawing attention to the countless — and sometimes overlooked — historical, economic, cultural, scientific, environmental, and other ties that exist between the United States and our globe’s northernmost region. Throughout the year, local voices from across the country with professional, personal, or other important connections to the region shared with readers the many fascinating ways in which their state contributes to America’s identity as an Arctic nation.

In light of the popularity of the Our Arctic Nation blog, the U.S. Department of State published in early 2017 a limited-edition hard copy book featuring excerpts from the blog. The book was presented to Foreign Ministers, heads of delegation, Permanent Participants, and other attendees of the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Later, in June 2017, a public book launch event was held in Washington, D.C., co-hosted by George Washington University (GWU) and the U.S. Department of State. The event included a panel discussion about America’s Arctic connections and featured GWU Professor Robert Orttung; Erin Robertson, a public affairs officer with the U.S. Department of State (also the book’s editor); Dr. Matthew Jull, the author of the Virginia entry and co-founder of the Arctic Design Group at the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture; and Joseph Hankins, vice-president of The Conservation Fund and author of the West Virginia entry. The event was live-streamed and can be viewed here.

Joseph Hankins, vice-president of The Conservation Fund, shares some thoughts on what connections that might be drawn between in his home state and the Arctic in terms of the boom-and-bust cycles of natural resource extraction. Also pictured: Erin Robertson, U.S. Department of State; Dr. Matthew Jull of the Arctic Design Group, and GWU Professor Robert Orttung. (Photo: U.S. Department of State)

The foreword to the Our Arctic Nation book was authored by Ambassador David A. Balton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries in the Bureau of Oceans and International and Scientific Affairs. Ambassador Balton served as the Chair of the Arctic Council’s Senior Arctic Officials during the U.S. Chairmanship.

As Our Arctic Nation was an initiative of the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council and the chairmanship has now concluded, this will be our last blog entry. The U.S. Department of State is deeply grateful to all those who took the time to contribute to the blog, the book, and the wider effort to raise awareness of the importance of the Arctic to the United States — and of the critical importance of the United States to the Arctic — during our two years at the helm of the Arctic Council, the world’s most important Arctic-focused international forum.

For information on how to obtain a hard copy or PDF version of the Our Arctic Nation book, please email or visit

Thanks for reading!