Model Arctic Council at Secondary School
Growing interest in the Arctic Council amongst scholars and educators has recently stimulated a number of Model Arctic Councils (MACs). MACs are pedagogical simulations in which participants play the role of delegate to a cycle of Arctic Council meetings. MACs are normally aimed at university students, particularly postgraduates and advanced undergraduates, but since 2016 I have developed and launched two MACs at secondary schools in the UK and Spain: Norwich MAC (NORMAC) and MAC Bilbao. In this paper, I describe how these MACs work, and I discuss challenges to running secondary-school MACs, including attracting participants, assisting with preparatory research and consensus building, balancing realism with creative learning, and sustaining interest in the Arctic. I highlight differences with university MACs, as well as deviations from actual Arctic Council procedures designed to accommodate secondary-school pupils. I also evaluate data from surveys of delegates to four MAC conferences over two years: NORMAC 2018 and 2019, and MAC Bilbao 2018 and 2019. These data show that both MACs are meeting their educational objectives of raising awareness and understanding of the Arctic amongst secondary-school pupils; inspiring them to learn more about the region, its peoples and its challenges; and helping develop their skills in public speaking, negotiation and consensus building. I conclude with a brief discussion of future plans for secondary-school MACs.