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Cadet Presents at Model Arctic Council in Finland

by Stefanie Senkow
December 7, 2018

Rebecca EdmondsNEW LONDON, Conn. -- Finland. It’s the second year in a row that the Coast Guard Academy has sent a cadet to an Arctic country (this year, Finland) for an incredible learning opportunity. For First Class Cadet (1/c) Rebecca Edmonds, the experience was career-building.

“The Model Arctic Council is a program for advanced undergraduate and graduate students that simulates the actual Arctic Council where representatives from all Arctic countries gather to discuss hot issues,” said 1/c Edmonds.

Prior to her trip, 1/c Edmonds was assigned to represent Norway, tasked to research its position on oil and gas drilling and the effect on climate change. Upon arriving at University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland, 1/c Edmonds had to confidently state Norway’s policy to her peers representing other countries.

“We presented opening and closing statements during the simulation,” said 1/c Edmonds. “We also engaged in negotiations with other ‘countries’ during our off-time and got to sit in on some real sessions led by the Senior Appointed Officials of the real Arctic Council.”

As a marine & environmental science (MES) major, 1/c Edmonds was able to see first-hand the role science plays in politics.

“Most of the students participating had a political science background, so I was able to bring some MES concepts to the table. Being able to explain the science behind preserving the environment helped my positon as Norway,” said 1/c Edmonds.

During her role as Norway, 1/c Edmonds polished her public speaking skills and practiced the importance of being proficient in vocalizing a position.

“I was nervous at first—even the Ph.D. students were nervous,” said 1/c Edmonds. “But the Academy prepared me well for this. It taught me the value of over preparing and the other participants congratulated me on a job well done in getting Norway’s position spot-on.”

Now back home at the Academy, 1/c Edmonds reflects on her time abroad at the Model Arctic Council and how it will impact her in her career as a Coast Guard office come graduation in May.

“As an officer it’s important to have an unbiased perspective and this experience taught me to put my biases aside, as I was asked to support a stance that I didn’t necessarily agree with,” said 1/c Edmonds. “I also learned the importance of vocalizing, which will serve me well as I lead out in the Coast Guard.”