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Expanded Partnerships with Greenland


The Dartmouth IGERT has developed an unusually close and productive relationship with Greenlandic institutions and leaders that is a result of our careful, ethical and respectful work in a country facing some of the most challenging affects of climate change, during a critical time in their political development.

Greenlanders watch as researchers from all over the world study the momentous environmental changes taking place in their country. But these researchers rarely stop to talk with the local community or explain the meaning or consequences of their research before flying home. From the beginning, trainees and faculty in the Dartmouth IGERT took a different approach. They offer to talk with the local communities in Kangerlussuaq and Nuuk about their research, but they also ask questions. They actively invite the perspective and observations of the local community, and listen to their concerns respectfully, even if it differs from their own.

The Dartmouth IGERT’s partnership with the Institute of Arctic Studies at Dartmouth has made possible an exchange of students from the University of Greenland to Dartmouth, and Dartmouth fellowship support for ICC (Inuit Circumpolar Council) members to visit Dartmouth, including Aqqaluk Lynge, ICC President. Mr. Lynge’s support of IGERT and his national leadership in environmental issues in Greenland has now resulted in the announcement that he will receive an honorary degree from Dartmouth.

This ongoing interest and dialogue with Greenland has resulted in a number of trainees choosing to do research in Greenland, with the support of our Greenlandic partners. This partnership has provided our trainees with unique perspectives on their work, and unusual opportunities. Simone Whitecloud’s interdisciplinary work on plant communities is the most direct recipient of these benefits. ICC helped facilitate her access to local experts and indigenous knowledge on local plants and their Greenlandic names.

A number of other trainees are also doing work in Greenland, including Sam Fey, Lauren Culler, and Marcus Welker in ecology; Ben Kopec, Alex Lauder, Laura Levy, Alexandra Giese, Gifford Wong, and Ashely Corbett in earth sciences; and Kaitlin Keegan in engineering. Six of these trainees have research results based on work in Greenland that were recently on display at the International Polar Year Conference in Montreal in April.

Address Goals

Discovery and Learning: The Greenland-based research being undertaken by our trainees is providing new data on a critical and controversial scientific issue: climate change. Their data, as well as their ability to articulate the issues and concerns of the people of Greenland towards this issue, is critical to the nation understanding the real, and not imagined, issues facing the not just Greenland but the world, due to climate change.