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Statement on the Arctic Inspiration Prize


Statement in the Senate Chamber by Senator Lang regarding the Arctic Inspiration Prize

28 January 2016, Ottawa, ON- Colleagues, I am pleased to rise and salute the winners of the Arctic Inspiration Prize which was hosted last night by His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, and emceed by Peter Mansbridge here in Ottawa, in conjunction with the annual showcase of the North.

The prize is recognition of Canada’s Arctic, which is home to more than 100,000 northern Canadians, a majority of whom are Indigenous peoples.

In 2012, Arnold Witzig and Sima Sharifi founded the Arctic Inspiration Prize (AIP) to recognize the extraordinary contribution of teams working to gather and mobilize Arctic knowledge for the benefit of the Canadian Arctic, Arctic peoples, and Canada as a whole. It awards over 1 million dollars each year to assist deserving organizations in carrying out their mandates.

Colleagues at the ceremony last night, three finalists were recognized for the contribution to the North.

Better Hearing in Education for Northern Youth was the recipient of a $300,000 prize for their work to improve the lives of youth with hearing loss, living in the Baffin region of Nunavut, through a multipronged approach that includes classroom based sound amplification technology and professional development for educators.

The second group that was recognized and received a prize of $600,000 was the Qaggiq organization for Nurturing the Arctic Performing Arts Qaggiq aims to strengthen Arctic culture and subsequently improve resiliency, self-worth, belonging and pride, particularly among youth at risk in the North. The Qaggiq project proposes to nurture and develop the skills of performing artists and arts administrators.

The third finalist, the Tri-Territorial Recreation Training (TRT) Project which is based out of Yukon, received a prize of $600,000 for its work, which utilizes recreation and sports to foster happiness and a better quality of life. In the North we are facing significant issues related to obesity. This initiative aims to empower people and communities across all three territories to enhance individual, community and environmental wellbeing by strengthening the capacity of recreation leaders in Northern communities through the delivery of local and online training programs. 

The goals of the project are to help people lead a healthy lifestyle, build strong families and communities, work with those who are disadvantaged, protect the environment, and improve to the quality of life in Northern communities.

I would like to recognize team leader Anne Morgan, Yukon Olympian Zach Bell, members of the tri-territorial partnership who are with us today and all volunteers from across the three territories, who contribute to making this program an outstanding success. 

Finally in closing, I would like to thank His Excellency, Governor General David Johnston, Her Excellency, Mrs. Johnston and philanthropists, Mr. Arnold Witzig and Ms. Sima Sharifi for making this award possible.