LISD convened two seminars on the Arctic, featuring Lawson Brigham, Distinguished Professor of Geography and Arctic Policy at the University of Alaska, Fairbank. The first session, "The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue - A Russian Perspective," was held at 12:00 p.m. in 012 Bendheim Hall. The second session, "The New Geography and Geopolitics of the Central Arctic Ocean," was held at 4:30 p.m. in 012 Bendheim Hall.
Dr. Lawson Brigham is Distinguished Professor of Geography and Arctic Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of the North in Anchorage. During 2004-2009 he was chair of the Arctic Council's Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment and Vice Chair of the Council's working group on Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment. He has been a member of several U.S. delegations to the Arctic Council.
Brigham was a career U.S. Coast Guard officer retiring with the rank of Captain; he served at sea in command of four Coast Guard ships including the polar icebreaker Polar Sea sailing in Alaskan, Arctic and Antarctic waters. He was also Chief of Strategic Planning at Coast Guard Headquarters, and Coast Guard Liaison Officer to the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, D.C. Captain Brigham has participated in more than 15 Arctic and Antarctic expeditions, and during July and August 1994 Polar Sea under his command crossed the central Arctic Ocean for science in company with the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent. This expedition was the first surface ship crossing of the Arctic Ocean.
Brigham has been a research fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a faculty member of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School, and Deputy Director of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. He is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (BS), a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval War College, and holds graduate degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (MS) and the University of Cambridge (MPhil and PhD). His research interests have focused on the Russian maritime Arctic, Arctic climate change, marine transportation, and polar geopolitics. Captain Brigham was a 2008 signer of the American Geographical Society's Fliers' and Explorers' Globe, the Society's historic globe that has been signed by more than 75 explorers of the 20th century. This signing was in recognition of Polar Sea's voyages in 1994 becoming the first ship in history to reach the extreme ends of the global ocean.