Former Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), Sheila Watt-Cloutier tackles the many issues indigenous peoples are facing today, including environmental pollution and sustainable development. The Inuit organization represents the international interests of Inuit residents in Canada, Greenland, Alaska, and Chukotka in the Far East of the Federation of Russia. Through a climate change-based human rights petition to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, Ms. Watt-Cloutier works to preserve Inuit culture against global warming and its impact on hunting.
Currently living in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Ms. Watt-Cloutier was born in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik (northern Quebec), and was raised traditionally in her early years before attending school in southern Canada and in Churchill, Manitoba.
Ms. Watt-Cloutier has an academic background in counselling, education, and human development. Her early experience as an Inuktitut interpreter for the Ungava Hospital in Nunavik led to a lifetime commitment to improving health conditions and education in Aboriginal communities. Her untiring efforts on the global scene were instrumental in the signing, ratification, and enforcement of the Stockholm Convention in 2004, a global commitment to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants. Ms. Watt-Cloutier received the inaugural Global Environment Award from the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations in recognition for her work on this subject. In addition, she has received the Aboriginal Achievement Award for Environment, the United Nations Champion of the Earth Award, and the Sophie Prize in Norway. More recently, she was awarded the inaugural Northern Medal by the Governor General of Canada and the International Environmental Leadership Award by Global Green USA. She is an officer of the Order of Canada.
"I see the incredible value the Trudeau Foundation has in terms of addressing many issues and working with young people," remarked Ms. Watt-Cloutier upon becoming a Trudeau mentor.