The Arctic provides one of the most striking signatures of climate change impacts. Accelerated loss of sea ice extent and thickness, loss in biodiversity, changing atmospheric circulation patterns, and melting permafrost portray only a few aspects of a rapidly changing Arctic. In recognition of the inter-, multi-, and trans-disciplinary (Keil 2015) discussions, tools, mechanisms, and implementation strategies necessary to address these challenging and pervasive issues of this century, the first Potsdam Summer School, entitled ‘Arctic in the Anthropocene’, took place in June–July, 2014. The summer school was coordinated by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), and the University of Potsdam, in conjunction with the city of Potsdam. The principal vision of the summer school was to eliminate disciplinary language barriers, and to foster communication amongst individuals trained in law and international relations, public health, and science, with the goal of extending an integrated science-policy dialogue for the benefit of humanity, the planet that we inhabit, and for which we share a collective responsibility.