A SINGAPOREAN IN THE ARCTIC
First Singaporean student to join renowned Canadian Arctic expedition
(SINGAPORE, 18 July 2018) For the first time, a Singaporean will join the award-winning Canadian organization Students on Ice (SOI) for an expedition to the Arctic from 23 July to 7 August 2018. With the support of the Singapore National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA) Scholarship, first-year Yale University student, Victoria Lim, will embark from Ottawa, Canada on a 16-day once-in-a-lifetime expedition with the rest of the 120-strong SOI team.
The journey will take place via ship and land, passing by Greenlandic and Canadian Arctic Coastlines, and through the majestic fjords of Western Greenland such as the ilulissat Icefjord - a UNESCO World Heritage site. The journey will also chart waters through the opening of the Northwest Passage in the Canadian High Arctic. Participants will visit Indigenous Communities, offering students a unique opportunity to spend time with Inuit Elders and understand traditional knowledge. Additionally, they will gain insights into the dynamics of climate change, via daily workshops organised by the expedition. These workshops also will offer the students opportunities to chart their personal learnings and progress through artistic and musical pursuits and engage thoroughly in Arctic-based land and ocean research.
“I am honoured to have been selected for such a prestigious and important expedition. As an Environmental Studies major, I am immensely grateful for this opportunity to enrich my knowledge about sustainability within the Arctic, a region I am not familiar with, but one that is extremely pertinent for us to learn about in the face of climate change. I’m also looking forward to the cross-cultural opportunities that this expedition will offer, and am excited about meeting others who share a similar passion for the environment," stated Victoria Lim, Singaporean student studying at Yale University; recipient of the 2017 HSBC/NYAA Youth Environmental Award and the 2018 Singapore National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA) Scholarship (pictured above).
All students will be exposed to a programme that will deepen their understanding and respect for our planet’s biodiversity, alongside the opportunity to learn more about one another’s distinct cultures. They will have a wide range of opportunities to understand the Arctic for what it is: a homeland.
“To explore the Arctic with youth and experts from around the world, enables a unique learning opportunity to bridge cultures and allow for passionate, globally-minded and solution-driven conversations and initiatives to flourish,” says Geoff Green, SOI 2018 Expedition Leader. On the expedition, participants will learn about the efforts that the Government of Canada is taking to mitigate climate change in the fragile Arctic region, where unprecedented changes in the Earth’s climate have brought about significant threats to the livelihoods, security and health of Indigenous peoples.
“We are thrilled that Singapore will be represented in the upcoming SOI expedition,” stated Lynn McDonald, High Commissioner of Canada to Singapore. Following Victoria and her team on their journey in the Arctic will help to raise awareness on how climate change in the Arctic region will affect the world – including small island states such as Singapore. I have no doubt that through this expedition all students, including Victoria, will be empowered to take action in their own communities when they return home.”
Sam Tan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Social and Family Development noted: “Developments in the fast-changing Arctic will have a significant impact on an island state like Singapore, be it rising sea levels or new Arctic shipping routes. Therefore, it is imperative that we expose our young leaders to understand the dynamics of climate change in the Arctic. This will help us better prepare ourselves to deal with these changes and take advantage of new opportunities that may emerge. I am delighted that Victoria is participating in this expedition, and I look forward to more young Singaporeans taking an interest in the Arctic.”
James Soh, Executive Director, National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA) Council and Advisor, United Nations Environment Programme, South East Asia Youth Environment Network (SEAYEN) pointed out, “There is no transition more dramatic than in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. The link between Singapore and the Arctic is not readily apparent – one being a small tropical island state near the equator, and the other a polar region near the northernmost part of Earth. However, whatever happens in the Arctic region will impact Singapore, be it climate change or the development of new shipping routes etc. We need to provide our younger generation an opportunity and platform to discover new frontiers and build bridges between the Arctic region and Singapore through meaningful bilateral youth exchanges.”
§ An important element of Government of Canada's strategy on climate change is the engagement of youth in the national and global dialogue on this issue.
§ Canada is the founding member of the Arctic Council; in 2013, under the chairmanship of Canada, Singapore became a permanent observer to the Arctic Council.
§ The 120 students heading on this year’s SOI expedition will hail from Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Greenland, Ecuador, Hong Kong SAR, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Norway, Russia, Singapore, United Kingdom, and the United States.
§ Since 2000, SOI has taken more than 2700 youth and educators from 52 countries to the Polar Regions.
EXPEDITION SOCIAL MEDIA INFORMATION
§ The students on the expedition will not have access to social media but will be blogging and producing audio content throughout the trip.
§ The official SOI Media Team will publish photo, video, blog and audio posts as frequently as possible, ideally daily. Media can visit this link for updates: https://studentsonice.com/expedition/arctic-expedition-2018/follow-the-journey-2018/
§ Those wishing to follow the expedition can follow this hashtag that will be used in all related social media posts, throughout the expedition: #SOIArctic2018
§ Other related social media hashtags: #studentsonice / #studentsonicefoundation / #canadaarctic / #canadaarctique and related social media handles: @studentsonice / @CanadaArctic / @CanadaArctique