The symposium, placed under the patronage of Mr Jacques Chirac, President of France, was organised by the Jean Malaurie Polar Fund in association with the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin en Yvelines.
During his speech, H.S.H. Prince Albert II commended “the community of researchers, explorers and scientists who study these regions with passion and precision and allow us, among other things, to gain a better understanding of climate change,” and professed his confidence that “the various scientific projects developed during International Polar Year will broaden our knowledge and render even more effective environmental policies currently being deployed.” The Sovereign Prince then paid tribute to the work carried out by researchers throughout the world, stating: "You, Ladies and Gentlemen, are the voice of intelligence for all Nations and it is with your help that we will be able to address the challenge that faces us today: protecting our planet in order to save mankind”. After his speech, H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince received a standing ovation from the audience.
Various key figures took part in the activities of the morning. Bertrand-Pierre GALEY, Director General of the National Museum of Natural History, opened the seminar. François GOULARD, Minister for Higher Education and Research, read a message from the President of France. Artur N. TCHILINGAROV, Vice-President of the Duma and Chairman of Russia's International Polar Year, and David M. MUNRO from the Royal Scottish Geographical Society concluded the morning session.
This international event brought specialists and native representatives from the principal Arctic nations together to reflect upon the major challenges facing mankind in the Arctic of today and tomorrow, such as protecting the environment, management training in these countries, protecting the age-old heritage of the Inuit, and international co-operation. A report of proceedings during these three days will be published in 2008.|