2016 Awards Ceremony

The 2016 Arctic Inspiration Prize Awards Ceremony was held on the evening of Wednesday, December 8th at the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg, Manitoba in conjunction with ArcticNet’s Annual Scientific Meeting.

In the presence of His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada and hosted by former Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes and Nunavik Youth Andrea Brazeau, the ceremony featured a performance of Vincent Ho’s Arctic Symphony by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Nunavut Sivuniksavut students.

Awards Ceremony Video Recap (4min.)

Video: Build Films/Arctic Inspiration Prize

SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE RIGHT HONOURABLE DAVID JOHNSTON

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Thursday, December 8, 2016

Good evening everyone, from near and far!

Let me begin by acknowledging the presence of the commissioners of Yukon and Nunavut, who are joining us this evening.

Fifteen years ago, one of the most celebrated Canadian films of all time was released.

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, was the first feature film ever to be written, directed and acted entirely in the Inuktitut language. Many of you have no doubt seen it.

The film recounts an Inuit legend of a warrior’s courage in the face of an evil spirit. In one of the film’s critical scenes, Atanarjuat, “the fast runner,” runs across the ice fields of the Eastern Arctic, fleeing the evil spirit that’s plaguing his community.

Bravely, he lives and returns to fight another day.

I was reminded of this memorable scene last May during a visit to Salluit, Nunavik, where I met with members of the Salluit Running Club. Seven of them had recently travelled to Hawaii—more than 7 500 kilometres away—to run in the Big Island International Half-Marathon.

And guess what? There were some very “fast runners” among them! Of the seven, one finished in first place in his category, and two others finished in the top five!

All seven runners have reason to hold their heads high.

Why do I share this story of the Salluit Running Club?

Because we need to hear more inspiring stories from the Arctic.

And we need to celebrate these stories, and encourage more of them.

That’s why we’re in Winnipeg today for the presentation of the Artic Inspiration Prize!

This prize exists to support innovative, sustainable, collaborative projects in the Arctic. It recognizes great work already done, but it’s also forward-looking, encouraging even greater achievements to come.

This prize rewards projects with long-term impact that change lives.

These are projects that not only make Arctic communities stronger, they make Canada a better country and the world a better place.

This year’s finalists for the Arctic Inspiration Prize have been doing just that.

They’re building culture, encouraging healthy, active living and creating economic opportunities.

They’re working toward environmental and economic sustainability, improving mental health and fostering tourism.

They’re teaching programming and game design and helping people navigate the challenges of climate change.

They’re doing all of this by working locally within diverse, dedicated, talented teams.

I’m so inspired by the work of all nominees for this prestigious prize. Each has made a unique and valuable contribution to the Arctic and its people.

So thank you for inspiring us, and for giving us more stories to celebrate from the Arctic.

Congratulations to all of you.

I wish you continued success, and I wish everyone a wonderful evening.


SPEECH BY ARNOLD WITZIG, CO-FOUNDER, ARCTIC INSPIRATION PRIZE

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Thursday, December 8, 2016

This night traditionally is entirely reserved to celebrate the finalists and the winners of the Arctic Inspiration Prize, but tonight we make an exception. It is time to celebrate the Arctic Inspiration Prize team at ArcticNet for the simple reason that without them, we wouldn’t have a single winner on the stage tonight.

At the beginning there was nothing but an idea, some money and a desire to make it happen. And now, here we are at the 5th Arctic Inspiration Prize award ceremony with already $6 million awarded to 13 amazing teams from all across the Arctic.

In late 2011, when Martin Fortier and I met the first time, we didn’t know anything about each other. I guess we both did some Google search, decided to trust each other and to make it happen.

After a big rush with the help you – the ArcticNet AIP team, which is Martin, Katie, Sylvain, Christine, Natalie and Réal – the Prize was ready to be launched at the international IPY “Knowledge to Action” conference in April 2012 in Montreal.

Ever since, you have worked tirelessly for the AIP and brought it to where it is now. Nobody at ArcticNet was hired additionally for the AIP so you must just have worked more than you already were – amazing!

The AIP, for sure, has become a very visible, northern legacy of all of you and of ArcticNet.

I have the great pleasure to offer you an “edible” thank you gift from your successor, the RHF, that now carries on your legacy. It is an invitation for a dinner with a guest, hosted by the Governor General at the beautiful historic Citadel in Quebec City.

In the name of the entire AIP team from all across Canada, Ambassadors, Partners, Laureates, Finalists and the RHF, thank you so much, you are such a great team. You have become friends of Sima and mine, and we already miss you!

You all deserve a huge applause – actually, a very huge one!

Photos

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Photos: David Lipnowski/Arctic Inspiration Prize