Autumn 2004

International Polar Year 2007-2008

Preparations are underway for a new large-scale international program in polar research known as “International Polar Year 2007-2008,” or IPY. IPY will include several months of intense research activities, followed by data analysis, publication, and discussions. IPY will be organised jointly by the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organisation ( WMO ). Several international science bodies – including IASSA – have endorsed the IPY initiative and are engaged in its planning.

This will be the fourth IPY; the first one was in 1882-83, the second in 1932-33, and the third in 1957-58. This IPY, however, will be the first one with a clearly defined social science and humanities component, thanks to the efforts of an IASSA taskforce of twenty social scientists formed at the 5th International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences in Fairbanks in May. IASSA has also nominated Igor Krupnik and Grete Hovelsrud-Broda to serve on the main planning body, the IPY Joint Committee (IPY JC).

On 5 November 2004 , the ICSU Secretariat issued an invitation for submission of expressions of intent (pre-proposals) from scientific groups and individual scholars for prospective endorsement by the IPY JC. The deadline is 14 January 2005 .

Social Science Theme

The IPY will include a broad range of activities organised around a select number of scientific themes. Thanks to IASSA efforts, a social science theme has been added – to investigate the cultural, historical, and social processes that shape the sustainability of circumpolar human societies, and to identify their unique contributions to global cultural diversity and citizenship.

Priority issues to be addressed in the IPY 2007-2008 under this theme include:

The IASSA IPY Facilitation Initiative

To facilitate the submission of arctic social science and humanities expressions of intent (pre-proposals) to the ICSU, IASSA has launched an initiative to create a vigorous exchange of ideas, discussion, and active communication. To learn more and/or participate, please go to:

Internet links:
IASSA IPY Facilitation Initiative (
IPY Idea Submissions to IASSA (
IASSA IPY Task-group (
Links to Other IPY Sites  (

Contact: Anne Sudkamp, e-mail: