Everything is Connected: Environment, Economy, Foreign Policy, Sustainability, Human Rights and Leadership in the 21st Century
Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and World Leader on Global Climate Change and Human Rights
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
8:30am to 9:30am
Based in Nunavut, Sheila Watt-Cloutier is an Officer of the Order of Canada. She is also the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Aboriginal Achievement Award, the UN Champion of the Earth Award, and the prestigious Norwegian Sophie Prize. From 1995 – 2002, she was elected the Canadian President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC). At the ICC, she was a hugely influential voice in the successful negotiations of the Stockholm Convention, the landmark treaty banning Persistent Organic Pollutants. (POPs end up in the Arctic and have been an alarming health issue for Inuit). She was later elected in 2002 to become the International Chair of the ICC, representing the 155,000 Inuit from Canada, Greenland, Alaska and Russia; she held this post until 2006. Under her leadership, she and 62 fellow Inuit from Canada and Alaska launched the world’s first international legal action on climate change, with a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. She is the main signatory to the petition. Displaying calm, clear and reflective leadership on various big issues, Sheila is a much requested speaker worldwide.
In 2007, Sheila was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy work in showing the impact of global climate change on human rights — especially in the Arctic, where it is felt more immediately, and more dramatically, than anywhere else in the world. By making a human connection — by telling the human stories — she helped a generation see the issue in a newly urgent way. Her advocacy work — not just environmental but all-encompassing — is grounded in human rights, in our shared humanity.