Sfraga nominated as ambassador-at-large for Arctic Region

Arctic research veteran Mike Sfraga, who serves on the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC), has been nominated by President Joe Biden to be Ambassador-at-Large for the Arctic Region.

Sfraga, who has served as chairman of the USARC, is also a founding director of the Polar Institute and the Wilson Center and has served as the director of the Global Risk and Resilience Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. He has also served as an affiliate professor at the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, co-chair of the Senate Arctic Caucus, said she strongly supports the president’s choice for Sfraga to be the first person to hold the post. “This places the U.S. one step closer to having dedicated, high-level diplomatic representation in the Arctic, which will allow us to advance a range of U.S. policy priorities at a crucial time,” Murkowski said. “I’ve been privileged to work closely with Mike for many years, and he is a true Arctic expert.”
While many ambassadors learn on the job, that certainly won’t be the case with Sfraga, she said.

Murkowski has been persistent in urging the State Department to elevate the Arctic Coordinator position by appointing an ambassador for the Arctic Region, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.

The Ambassador-at-Large for the Arctic Region will advance U.S. policy in the Arctic, engage with counterparts in Arctic and non-Arctic nations and Indigenous groups, and work closely with domestic stakeholders, including state, local and tribal governments, businesses, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, other federal government agencies and Congress. Murkowski is also advocating for legislation to codify the position of Arctic Ambassador.