Joint Committee

Then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (far right), then Greenland Home Rule Deputy Premier Josef Motzfeldt (center) and then Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller sign the Igaliku Agreement. Photo: State Dept.
Then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (far right), then Greenland Home Rule Deputy Premier Josef Motzfeldt (center) and then Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller sign the Igaliku Agreement. Photo: State Dept.

Joint Committee Background

The Joint Committee is a high-level forum involving the Greenlandic, Danish and U.S. governments. The Joint Committee emerged from 2004’s Igaliku Agreement (PDF 560 KB), signed by Danish Foreign Affairs Minister Per Stig Møller, Greenlandic Finance and Foreign Affairs Minister Josef Motzfeldt and U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. The Joint Committee serves as an expanded forum to promote cooperation. Meeting biannually, the Joint Committee working groups facilitate frequent interaction between government, academic and private institutions to advance and encourage cooperation across a diverse range of policy areas, including environment, science, technology, health, trade, tourism, education and culture.

The Joint Committee Science Group facilitates interaction between the private sector, academia and a wide range of government agencies. The Science Group advances and encourages cooperation across multiple policy areas, involving internationally-recognized experts contending with diverse, cutting-edge issues, from deepening Arctic science cooperation to advancing science education.

Current Joint Committee Science Group Projects

Gathering Greenlandic, Danish and U.S. high-school students/teachers, the project encourages Arctic science studies, network-building and data-sharing. Utilizing the National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored online education program, “Student Polar Research with IPY National (and International) Teacher Training” (SPRINTT) resources, teachers engage students in science on climate and Arctic science.

For more on the Joint Science in Education Week, please visit the Polartrec website.

Additional background on SPRINTT.

This project includes Greenlandic, U.S. and Danish students. Greenlandic students learn about the American educational system and Arctic science issues, all while making valuable contacts. Visiting scientists in Greenland teach the students. The school lasts for two weeks with combined field work and lectures. Kangerlussuaq International Science Support (KISS) laboratories are used during fieldwork. In 2012, this project included six students from the U.S, 12 Greenlandic students and three Danish students taught by visiting scientists.

Additional information on the Field School.

The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) complements teaching, networking and outreach efforts for Greenlandic high school students. For more, please see

The project goal is collaboration between the University of Greenland (Ilisimatusarfik) and U.S. research institutions on teacher/student exchanges. For example, the NSF has been involved with ongoing cooperation among graduate research students at Dartmouth College’s Dickey Center, the University of Kansas and Ilisimatusarfik. More information on IGERT’s website.

Experts from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, the University of Copenhagen and Greenland’s Upernaviarssuk Research Station study the microbial diversity in Arctic agriculture. The project generates data and information-sharing important for assessing agriculture potentials in Greenland, particularly with respect to potato crop development. Successes here may diversify economies, decrease Greenlandic reliance on imported food and potentially create high-value food exports.

Project cooperation involves Operation IceBridge, a NASA airborne mission making altimetry, radar, and other geophysical measurements to monitor and to characterize the Earth’s cryosphere. NASA works closely to share its data with the Greenland Climate Research Center and the Technical University of Denmark. Outreach opportunities involving Greenlandic, U.S. and Danish media and teachers have included participation in Operation IceBridge flights.

Learn more in our IceBridge section.

Other innovative outreach strategies, including extensive partnerships with NSF, are being discussed. For more on Operation IceBridge, also see

This Arctic health project involves expert researchers from Greenlandic, Denmark and the U.S. forging a network dedicated to fighting Arctic infectious diseases. Coordinating research enhances scientific discoveries and tackles devastating diseases, most notably hepatitis. This project involves leading academics from Alaska Tribal Health, the Centers for Disease Control, Greenlandic Medical Services and Statens Serum Institute. This group’s discoveries will contribute to protecting the health of Greenlanders, Alaskans and other Arctic peoples. The project involves close cooperation with the International Union for Circumpolar Health (IUCH), an international non-governmental organization dedicated to Arctic medical knowledge exchanges. In 2012, approximately 20 Greenlandic early career medical professionals attended the IUCH Conference in Fairbanks, Alaska. Additional information on the IUCH website.