The first (annual) Arctic Inspiration Prize of one million dollars made possible by a generous endowment from the S. and A. Inspiration Foundation (co-founders Arnold Witzig and Sima Sharifi) will be shared amongst four Canadian organizations identified for projects that advance the betterment of life and, or, make contributions to enhance education opportunities in Canada’s North. The award was announced at a special December 13th event held in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Witzig was quoted as saying,“The motivation behind creating the prize was to recognize excellence and encourage collaboration amongst diverse groups in both Canada’s North and South.”
Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, (Inuit traditional knowledge and societal practices) received $240,000 for its book development project titled, What Inuit Have Always Known to be True. The Nunavut Literacy Council will receive $300,000. The Northwest Territories, Thaidene Nene Initiative (a proposed 33,000 km2 national park reserve) on Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation lands, received $100,000. The Arctic Food Network was awarded $360,000, by the Foundation, which is voluntarily managed by Laval University’s ArcticNet.
Martin Fortier, Executive Director of the Arctic Inspiration Prize and of ArcticNet, added that, “The winning teams have developed comprehensive plans for the benefit of the Canadian Arctic, its inhabitants and therefore Canada as a whole. We look forward to seeing these projects excel further and come to life.”