AIP Charitable Trust

In order to establish northern ownership of the AIP, the Arctic Inspiration Prize Charitable Trust was settled in December 2015 and is led by a majority of northern Trustees who will govern and secure the long-term sustainability of the AIP. The Trust strives to have a representative composition of members from the Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut, as well as past Laureates, science, industry and philanthropy.

Current Trustee Members

Jason Annahatak, Nunavik

Jason Annahatak was born in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik and raised in the community of Kangirsuk where he did his primary and secondary schooling.

At age 18, he moved to Montréal to attend John Abbott College. Thereafter, while attending McGill University for his bachelor of arts degree he had the opportunity to participate in a study abroad program that took him to Hong Kong University for one school year. That experience introduced him to the wonders of world travelling and getting to know other cultures by immersing himself in their countries. Through various study programs and work projects, he has had the chance to live, train, and study in Russia, France, the United States, South Africa, and Germany.

Since coming back to settle in Canada in 2011, Jason has worked in the field of education as an Inuktitut teacher, student counselor, and is currently the director of post-secondary student services for the Kativik School Board.

His interests are in travelling to foreign countries and participating in the making of creative film projects.

Patti Balsillie, Chair, Yukon

Over the past 25 years, Patti Balsillie has lived, worked and started her family in Whitehorse, Yukon. Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Patti grew up in Nova Scotia, and completed her Bachelor of Arts from Saint Mary’s University.

For the past 7 years, Patti has built a successful management consulting practice, working on diverse strategic projects across all sectors including strategy and communications planning; training and facilitation; and research and evaluation. While she has led projects in resource development, health and social programming, and supporting Yukon First Nations governments and organizations, her true passion lies with the non-profit sector and in tourism development.

Patti is a nationally Certified Association Executive (CAE) and in 2013, became an approved supplier of Destination Canada (formerly the Canadian Tourism Commission) as an authorized Explorer Quotient™ Trainer (EQAT).

In her community, Patti currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Governors for the Yukon College and volunteers for the Northern Lights School of Dance and the Whitehorse Food Bank. From 2006-2012, she was a Board member of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

(TIAC) and has volunteered for dozens of arts, culture and recreation groups during her time in Yukon. In 2008, Patti was an appointed delegate of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference and has continued to support the Yukon tour planning events ever since.

Earlier this year, Patti teamed up with Outcrop Communications, a pan-northern company, to work with Canada’s three Territories on a tourism development project and had the privilege of visiting and working with tourism suppliers and organizations across the three regions.

To participate, contribute and serve the Arctic Inspiration Prize is an utmost honor, bringing her commitment to Northern excellence and her governance knowledge to this exceptional program. While she will always be a true Bluenoser at heart, she is also a proud Yukoner and Northerner with family ties across the Territories.

Martin Fortier, Science

Martin Fortier completed his Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography at Université Laval in 1999. From 1999 to 2003, he was the scientific coordinator of the International North Water Polynya Study (NOW) and of the Canadian Arctic Shelf Exchange Study (CASES) International Arctic Research Networks, involving more than 120 leading experts in Arctic science from 10 Canadian universities, 4 federal departments, and 9 foreign countries.

In 2002, Dr. Fortier was heavily involved in the implementation of the refit and modification of the CCGS Amundsen into a state-of–the–art research icebreaker. Dr. Fortier has since served as chief scientist on 7 expeditions onboard the CCGS Amundsen, including its inaugural voyage in 2003.

Dr. Fortier was appointed as Executive Director of the ArcticNet Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) in the fall of 2003. As the world’s largest national Arctic research network, ArcticNet brings together over 1000 researchers, students and staff in the natural, human health and social sciences from 30 Canadian Universities with their partners in Inuit organizations, northern communities, government and industry to help Canadians face the impacts and opportunities of climate change and globalization in the Arctic.

In 2012, Dr. Fortier led the development of the Arctic Inspiration Prize together with the Prize’s founders. The $1 million CAD Prize is awarded annually and is made possible through the generous endowment of the S. and A. Inspiration Foundation, the commitment of ArcticNet to voluntarily manage the Prize, as well as the contribution of numerous volunteers. The Prize recognizes and promotes the extraordinary contribution made by teams in the gathering of Arctic knowledge and their plans to implement this knowledge into real world applications for the benefit of the Canadian Arctic and its Peoples. Dr. Fortier serves as the Executive Director for the Prize.

Dr. Fortier currently serves on numerous national and international boards and committees, including that of the Canadian Research Icebreaker Amundsen, the Norwegian Arctic Frontiers Conference, the Northern Contaminant Program, the Canadian High Arctic Research Station and the Polar Continental Shelf Program, which he chairs. In November 2010, he was appointed as a member of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Polar Commission.

Pierre Gratton, Mining Association of Canada

Pierre Gratton was appointed President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) on June 1, 2011. Based in Ottawa, MAC is the national organization for the Canadian mining industry. Its members are engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication.

Prior to his appointment to MAC, Pierre was President and CEO of the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC). From 1999-2008, Mr. Gratton served as Vice President, Sustainable Development and Public Affairs for the Mining Association of Canada (MAC). In 2005-06, Mr. Gratton was honoured as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM).

Mr. Gratton is First Vice-President of the Interamerican Mining Society (SIM – Sociedad Interamericana de Mineria). He is also Vice-President of the Raw Materials Committee of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD.

Mr. Gratton holds an M.A. degree in political science and a B.A. from McGill University.

Mr. Gratton is married and has one daughter.

Udloriak Hanson, Nunavut

Udloriak Hanson is Chief Operating Officer with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI), the land claims organization representing Nunavut Inuit. She is also NTI’s Chief Negotiator for devolution.

Ms. Hanson served as Senior Advisor to the Clerk of the Executive Council for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador on Aboriginal Issues and Arctic Economic Opportunities. Ms. Hanson also served as acting Executive Director and Special Advisor to Mary Simon, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the national organization representing Inuit across Canada.

She led the development of Qaujisaqtiit Society, the Nunavut territory’s first charitable consortium of Inuit non-profit organizations. She sits on the Board of Directors for The Circle of Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples of Canada. She is also a Board member with Arctic Children and Youth Foundation. And is a proud member of the Canadians for a New Partnership.

Ms. Hanson has undergraduate honours degrees in business administration and adult education. She currently resides in Iqaluit, Nunavut where she was born and raised.

Candice Lys, Laureates

Candice Lys grew up in a very large Métis (Cree & Chipewyan) family in Fort Smith, NWT and now resides in Yellowknife. She holds a BA Honors (with First Class Honors), a Master’s in Health Promotion, and is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

Candice is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth), a sexual health participatory action research project that was the recipient of the 2014 $1 million Arctic Inspiration Prize. FOXY is a peer-led, arts based sexual health program that uses drama and the arts to facilitate discussion and education regarding sexual health, healthy sexuality, and positive decision-making among Northern youth.

Candice is an Ashoka Canada Affiliate and a Research Associate with the Institute for Circumpolar Health Research. She is involved with numerous territorial, national, and international organizations, including: the former Member at Large for the Canadian Society for Circumpolar Health, a member of the National Aboriginal Council on HIV/AIDS, a Governing Council Member and Co-Investigator for the Aboriginal HIV & AIDS (AHA) Community-Based.

Research Collaborative Centre, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Dechinta Land-Based University, and former Committee Member of the CIHR HIV/AIDS Community-Based Research Steering Committee.

She is also a recipient of a National Aboriginal Role Model Award from the now-defunct National Aboriginal Health Organization, a CIHR Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar, and a SSHRC Killam Scholar. Candice was named 2015 “Northerner of the Year” by Up Here magazine, and enjoys Cross Fit, cabin building with her partner, and quilting in her spare time.

Arnold Witzig, Co-founder

Arnold Witzig, together with his partner Sima Sharifi, is the founder of the Arctic Inspiration Prize and the S. and A. Inspiration Foundation. For several years, they studied and supported projects in the fields of education and gender equality in the developing world. In 2011 they decided to focus the work of the foundation in Canada, their homeland of choice.

Born in 1949 in Switzerland, Witzig was raised in modest circumstances on a small family farm. He graduated as an architect and gradually realized he could implement a more effective planning and implementation process for architectural projects. He understood that economic, environmental, architectural, technical and social needs had to be integrated in order to succeed, especially for complex industrial projects. After becoming the head of a small architectural firm at 31, Witzig started to carry out his vision to create a unique and comprehensive service by bringing together all the necessary specialists from different areas of expertise into a new business unit that focused on the print and media industry. Over a period of 18 years, the company that emerged, the IE Engineering Group, implemented the same business strategy in the plastics, food, life science and later high-tech industries. From its base in Zurich, IE grew rapidly and expanded to Munich, Geneva, Leipzig and later Frankfurt.

As Arnold Witzig approached 50, IE had become the market leader and was full of young talent. With his business goals achieved, it was time for a change. In 1998 he handed over the IE Group to its team members, representing three different language and cultural regions. Today every employee is an owner, no one person has majority control, and the same business model has been successfully maintained. In 1999, he said goodbye to his two grown up children, family, friends and his life as entrepreneur in Europe and flew to Vancouver, not knowing that it would soon become his new home. The same year, Arnold met his dream partner, friend, lover and wife Sima, who originally came from Iran.

Since moving to Canada, Arnold has explored the world intensively, on land while climbing and traveling, in the air, flying aerobatics and gliding and in the water, scuba-diving. He is the second Canadian and only Swiss who has completed the Explorers Grand Slam, which includes climbing each of the highest summits of the seven continents, incl. Everest and skiing to the South Pole and to the North Pole. He explored the Arctic regions in Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Scandinavia and continues exploring to learn more about the challenges and the opportunities of the Arctic and its peoples.