Ottawa And Iqaluit, Canada, April 20, 2005
The Jury of the Norwegian-based Sophie Prize today announced that Ms. Sheila Watt-Cloutier, elected Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, is the recipient of the 2005 Sophie Prize.
Awarded annually since 1997, the jury cited Ms. Watt-Cloutiers work on climate change, specifying her efforts to bring human and human rights perspectives and the concerns of Inuit and all Arctic residents to this global issue. As well, the jury cited her work to persuade countries to negotiate, sign, and ratify a global convention to eliminate persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as DDT and PCBs. Signed in Stockholm in 2001 the convention came into force in 2004.
The Sophie Prize will be awarded in Oslo on June 15th. Previous winners include Australian journalist John Pilger, Chinese environmental activist Sheri Liao, and Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize recipient Wangari Maathai.
Born and raised in Nunavik (northern Quebec), and currently residing in Iqaluit, the capital ofCanadas Nunavut Territory, Ms. Watt-Cloutier said: I am greatly honoured to receive this international prize and thank the Sophie Foundation and the Sophie Prize Jury. This prize highlights Inuit and Arctic perspectives on environment and development to a global audience. It is a clear signal that Inuit have much to offer the world.
She added: The Arctic is vulnerable and fragile. Our homeland is the globes barometer of climate change and Inuit are the mercury in that barometer. What is happening in the Arcticnow will happen to others further south in years to come. We are all connected.
She continued: Inuit have knowledge and wisdom to offer the world. We are committed to engaging governments, industry, business and commerce, and non-governmental organizations. All of us must learn to live sustainably in our global village.
For additional information:
Ms. Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Chair Inuit Circumpolar Conference, tel. 867-979-4661;
Dr. Terry Fenge, Strategic Counsel, Inuit Circumpolar Conference, tel. 613-722-7006; and
Mr. Paul Crowley, Legal Counsel, Inuit Circumpolar Conference, tel. 867-979-4661 or 867-979-3396.
Details on the Sophie Foundation and the Sophie Prize are available at www.sophieprize.org
Details on the Inuit Circumpolar Conference and Ms. Watt‑Cloutier can be found at www.inuitcircumpolar.com