First meeting of SAOs during U.S. Chairmanship 15 July 2015The United States On 16-17 June 2015 in Washington, D.C., Senior Arctic Officials, Permanent Participants and Working Groups met to begin moving forward with the Arctic Council's program for 2015-2017... The U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council began just under two months ago, heralded by the passing of the Arctic Council gavel from the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Chair of the Arctic Council during Canada’s Chairmanship, to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the Iqaluit 2015 Ministerial meeting. At the meeting, Arctic Council ministers agreed upon an ambitious agenda for the Arctic Council to be carried out during the two years of the U.S. Chairmanship (2015-2017). On 16-17 June 2015, delegates from the Arctic Council’s eight states, six indigenous Permanent Participant organizations and six permanent Working Groups met in Washington, DC to begin moving forward with the Council’s agreed-upon program of work. The recent meeting was an opportunity to address many areas on the Arctic Council’s agenda, including identifying ways of strengthening the Council and enhancing the efficiency, reach and inclusiveness of its work. Following the meeting, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials Ambassador David Balton said “It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to host delegates from the Arctic Council Member States, Permanent Participants, and Working Groups here in Washington for the first official meeting of the U.S. Chairmanship. This meeting provided us with an opportunity to engage in thoughtful discussions around a number of key Arctic Council matters. It also provided an opportunity to maintain the momentum and enthusiasm generated by the Iqaluit 2015 Ministerial. Over the past two days, we’ve had a number of fruitful exchanges on a variety of important issues and have developed a clear path forward for the Council’s work under the U.S. Chairmanship. I was truly pleased to see among all participants a strong sense of commitment to the Arctic Council, its purpose and its ongoing and future work.” The first plenary meeting of Senior Arctic Officials will take place in Anchorage, Alaska in late October 2015. The full calendar of Arctic Council meetings can be found here.