Andrey Petrov, President

Read more: Council 2017-2021Director, ARCTICenter and Department of Geography
University of Northern Iowa
205 ITTC UNI 50614-0406

My name is Andrey Petrov and I am a social scientist with a 'circumpolar' career; I was born, raised and educated in Russia, recieved my PhD in Canada (Toronto) and work as Associate Professor of Geography and Director of the Arctic, Remote and Cold Territories Interdiciplinary Center (ARCTICenter) at the University of Northern Iowa, USA. I am the Vice-Chair and U.S. Representative on the IASC Social & Human Sciences Working Group and Past-Chair of the Polar Geography Speciality Group of the Association of American Geographers.

My research primarily focuses on economic issues in northern communities and policies of regional development in the Arctic. A also study human-environment relationships and Arctic socio-ecological systems. I lead a number of circumpolar research initiatives, most importantly the NSF research coordination networks in Arctic sustainability (Arctic-FROST and Artic-COAST). I have also been participant of the Arctic Social Indicators, Arctic Human Development Report, ReSDA and other major international projects.

I was privileged to be first elected to the IASSA Council in 2011 and since have directed my efforts to supporting representative and transparent gevernance process in this thriving organization. 



Peter Sköld, Past President

Read more: Council 2017-2021Director at the Centre for Arctic Research at Umeå University

Peter Sköld is professor in history, Sami culture and society development at Umeå University, Sweden. He is the director of the Centre for Arctic Research (Arcum). Skölds' research profile includes historical demography, indigenous health transitions and northern cultures. Apart from being the former president for International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA), Sköld is member of UArctic Board of Governors and chair for WG Human and Social Sciences in the International Arctic Science Committe (IASC). He is also Swedish delegate of the Arctic Council Sustainable Development WG Social, Economic and Cultural Expert Group (SECEG). 2014-2018 Sköld is co-leader of the 4,5 million Euro project New Governance for Sustainable Development in the European Arctic, involving 30 researchers.


Dmitry Funk 

Read more: Council 2017-2021Professor and Chair, Department of Ethnology 
Moscow State University
Tomsk State University, Russia

I have directed the Department of Northern and Siberian Studies at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, since 1995, where I focused international projects and collaborative initiatives. Since November 2013, I am a Professor and Chair of the Department of Ethnology (Faculty of History) at Lomonossov Moscow State University. Concurrently, I am also a leading researcher at Tomsk State University. Presently, I am leading the  “Man in a Changing World. Problems of Identity and Social Adaptation in History and at Present”. My research profile includes northern/Siberian cultures, urbanization processes, social impact assessment, and corpora linguistics. My recently published books were devoted to the analysis of epic tradition of the Shores in Western Siberia (a 4-volume anthology, 2010–13) and of interaction between culture(s) and resources on the North of Sakhalin Island (2015).  I am acting as an editor-in-chief of Siberian Historical Research journal (Tomsk), and of Journal of Central and Inner Asian Dialogue (Washington). Apart of these two, I collaborate as a member of an editorial board or as a reviewer with many international journals. I have been awarded the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel-Forschungspreis Prize in Ethnology by the  International Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2007).

Diane Hirshberg

Read more: Council 2017-2021Professor of Education Policy
Director of Center for Alaska Education Policy Research
Institute of Social and Economic Research
University of Alaska Anchorage
3211 Providence Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99508

Diane Hirshberg is Professor of Education Policy at the Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). She also serves as Advisor to the UAA Chancellor on Arctic Research and Education. Her research interests include education policy analysis, indigenous education, circumpolar education issues, and school change. She has studied the boarding school experiences of Alaska Native students, teacher supply, demand and turnover, including the cost of teacher turnover in Alaska, as well as school finance issues. She has served or is currently evaluator for a number of federally funded education reform initiatives in Alaska and beyond, and currently is the North America lead for the Arctic Youth-Sustainable Futures project, funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Dr. Hirshberg sits on both the International Arctic Social Sciences Association Council and the steering committee for the NSF-Funded Arctic FROST RCN. She also is a member of the “visionary group” for the Advancing Native Dialogues on Racial Equity project with the First Alaskans Institute. She teaches in the UAA Honors College and the College of Education. She has a PhD in Education from UCLA, a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley.


Michał Łuszczuk

Read more: Council 2017-2021 

Maria Curie Skłodowska University in Lublin, Poland


I am an associate professor of international relations teaching at the Department of International Relations, Maria Curie Skłodowska University in Lublin, Poland.

My main scientific interests include the development of the international relations in the Arctic, currently with the focus on a role of non-state actors in the Arctic governance and mechanisms of the science diplomacy.

As a member of the Committee on Polar Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, I engage in the development of Arctic research in Poland. Additionally, I am also involved in works of the IASC’s Social & Human Working Group and I am a Polish delegate to the IASC Council since 2017.


Gertrude Saxinger

Read more: Council 2017-2021Assistant Professor, Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology, University of Vienna and APRI - Austrian Polar Research Insitute Vienna, Austria. 

My research focuses are the multitude of relations of people and institutions to the environment: in particular I look on social aspects of extractive industries and transport infrastructures (i.e. the built environment). I am interested in mobility studies where I study multi-local lives of fly-in/fly-out petroleum and mining workers, inequality in the (im)mobility context as well as gender aspects as a crosscutting issue in these fields. In the course of various international research projects I am conducting field work in Siberia as well as in Canada´s Yukon Territory with indigenous and non-indigenous people.

The transfer of scientific knowledge to the public is a key concern in my work. Therefore I am a proponent of combining applied research, community based research and theory building in the Arctic social sciences. 

I am serving since 2014 as IASSA council member and since several years as Austrian representative of IASC. In 2017 I was able to establish together with colleagues the IASSA Working Group “Gender in the Arctic”. As a founding member of the Austrian Polar Research Institute (APRI), and spokesperson of the Regional Group Circumpolar and Siberian Studies of the German Association of Anthropologists (DGV), I am actively promoting Arctic social sciences in non-Arctic countries. Serving on the IASSA Council means not only representing scholars from these regions, but also to foster scientific collaboration among newly emerging research groups and established scholars/centers in Arctic and non-Arctic regions.


Tatiana Vlasova

Read more: Council 2017-2021Leading Researcher at the Institute of Geography
Russian Academy of Sciences
Moscow, Russian Federation

Dr. Tatiana Vlasova is a leading researcher at the Institute of Geography, Russia where she received her PhD in social/economic geography. She graduated from Moscow State University's Geographical Department as a physical geographer. Her experience in the Arctic is based on her fieldwork and participation in several international multidisciplinary projects such as; Arctic Climate Impact Assessment where she served as a representative from RAIPON, Local Health and Environmental Reporting from the Indigenous Peoples of the Russian North (UNEP Grid-Arendal), Arctic Social Indicators, and the Arctic Resilience Report as an IASSA representative. During the IPY 2007-2008 she served as a member of the IPY Committee of Russia and on the Sub-Committee on Observations. Her current research interests include socially-oriented observations and assessments of quality of life conditions and human capital development involving traditional and local knowledge. She is the leader of a Russian team of the Belmont forum “Arctic sustainability: synthesis of Knowledge” (ASUS) project supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) and the ARCTIC Studio - a mobile platform for international exchange of knowledge and views within the framework of transdisciplinary communication of scientists, educators, the public, authorities, businesses for sustainable and resilient development of the Arctic and its regions. The Arctic Studio is supported by the International Geographical Union Commission on "Cold and High Altitude Regions" (CHAR) which Tatiana Vlasova chairs. She is a Councilor of the International Arctic Social Science Association (IASSA) and a member of the editorial board of “Polar Geography”.


Gary Wilson

Read more: Council 2017-2021

Department of Political Science at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) 
Prince George, BC

Gary N. Wilson is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) in Prince George, Canada.  He also serves as the Acting Chair of the Department of     First Nations Studies and the Coordinator of the Northern Studies Program at UNBC.  His research examines politics and governance in the Circumpolar North with a focus on Inuit self-government in the   Canadian Arctic.  He is also interested in issues related to development and governance in northern British Columbia and the Canadian provincial north.  Gary currently serves as the Vice President of the     Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS).  In 2014, he was the Co-Convener of the Eighth International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences at UNBC.  

Alona Yefimenko

Read more: Council 2017-2021Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat
Technical Advisor
Tromsoe, Norway

Alona Yefimenko is a Technical Advisor of the Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat (IPS), a support organisation for the Arctic Indigenous Peoples' Organizations that are Permanent Participants to the Arctic Council. It is based in Tromsø, Norway. She received her Marster's Degree in Philology from the Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia and the Far Eastern State University. Alona came from the Even/Chukchi reinder herding family of Russian Kamchatka Peninsula.

Read more: IASSA @ 30

Read more: IASSA @ 30

IASSA Celebrates 30 YEARS!

IASSA was establihed on August 23, 1990. In 2020 we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of our association. This page will serve as a hub for historical materials, memorabilia, interesting facts and congratulatory letters. Please keep checking as new items are being added!


Read more: IASSA @ 30

 Ludger Müller-Wille's planner page for August 23, 1990 - the Day IASSA was established 

IASSA was founded in 1990 in Fairbanks, Alaska, at a meeting held in conjunction with the 7th Inuit Studies Conference. The creation of IASSA followed the suggestion, made at the Conference on Coordination of Research in the Arctic held in Leningrad in 1988, to establish an international association to represent Arctic social scientists.


Special issue on IASSA History (2010)

Past Presidents

Past Presidents Anniversary Letters

Interviews with Past Presidents (2017)

Past Council Members

IASSA Turns 30

IASSA Award Recipients 



Read more: IASSA @ 30


 If you are interested in contributing items for this page, please email  or  

Read more: Featured Council Members- Gary N. Wilson


Gary N. Wilson is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) in Prince George, Canada.  He also serves as the Acting Chair of the Department of First Nations Studies and the Coordinator of the Northern Studies Program at UNBC.  His research examines politics and governance in the Circumpolar North with a focus on Inuit self-government in the Canadian Arctic.  He is also interested in issues related to development and governance in northern British Columbia and the Canadian provincial north.  Gary currently serves as the Vice President of the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS).  In 2014, he was the Co-Convener of the Eighth International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences at UNBC.   


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Universitetsalleen 11
P.o. Box 1490
8049 BODØ

Phone:  +47 75 51 79 91

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Information on previous IASSA Secretariats can be found at the IASSA history page.


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