May 21, 2018
PORTLAND, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) joined University of New England students, faculty, researchers, and staff as well as leaders on North Atlantic and Arctic policy at the launch of the Institute for North Atlantic Studies of the University of New England (UNE NORTH). UNE NORTH is an initiative of the University of New England that aims to help the next generation of leaders further responsible stewardship and sustainable economic growth in the region.
“With a changing climate and myriad international interests in the region, the Arctic presents both great challenges and great potential for our collective future,” Senator King said. “That’s why it’s so important we teach the next generation of leaders about the High North, so we can foster cooperation among nations, protect the environment, defend our national security interests, and ensure economic development is responsible and sustainable. With the launch of UNE North, we are harnessing the innovative potential of students and researchers in Maine and further establishing our state as leader in the Arctic region.”
Senator King has been an advocate for Maine’s interests in the North Atlantic and Arctic region, and has worked in Washington to advance Maine’s leadership in the High North. He is a co-founder of the bipartisan Senate Arctic Caucus with U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), which works to underscore the importance of the Arctic for the United States’ national security, economic viability, and environmental leadership. In 2015, Senator King traveled to Iceland, where he participated in the Arctic Circle Assembly Plenary Session, speaking to the national security, climate change, economic issues that make the region a significant policy priority for the U.S. In October 2016, Senator King joined Maine people and leaders from around the globe to attend the Arctic Council conference at the University of Southern Maine’s Portland Campus. He also visited Greenland on a fact-finding mission that focused on examining the environmental and security implications of the warming Artic climate and traveled to Iqaluit, Canada to help usher in the United States’ chairmanship of the Artic Council in 2015.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committees, Senator King has worked to mitigate the impacts of climate change and underscore its significance for U.S. national security interests and military readiness in the Arctic. Last month, he moderated a panel on the subject with Lieutenant General John Castellaw (Ret.), a former Marine aviator and chief of staff for the U.S. Central Command during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Roger Sorkin, an award-winning filmmaker whose recent film Tidewater examines risks the sea level rise pose to national security. Senator King has also repeatedly called for an increase in the procurement and modernization of the U.S. Coast Guard’s icebreaker program, and for the other military services to prepare for operating in the increasingly important Arctic region.
Located in Portland, UNE NORTH includes classroom and convening space for more than 100 people and room for about 30 graduate students.