News at the University of New Brunswick

Second Speaker in UNB Year of Water Series to Tackle Climate Change

Author: Communications

Posted on Feb 16, 2012

Category: UNB Fredericton

Whether it’s melting glaciers or creating new deserts, climate change is having an impact on the world’s water.  And nowhere has this been felt more acutely than in the Arctic.  And no one is more informed about this than Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Inuit leader, Nobel Peace Prize nominee and citizen advocate on Arctic climate change. 

On Thursday, Feb. 23, Ms. Watt-Cloutier will present a free public lecture entitled, Everything is Connected:  Environment, Economy, Foreign Policy, Sustainability, Human Rights and Leadership in the 21st Century. Her talk begins at 7:30 p.m. at St. Dunstan’s Church, Regent Street, Fredericton.

In 2007, Sheila Watt-Cloutier 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. 

Based in Nunavut, Ms. 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 United Nations Champion of the Earth Award, and the prestigious Norwegian Sophie Prize.

From 1995 to 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. 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.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier is the second speaker in the Year of Water Speakers Series organized by the Andrews Initiative at the University of New Brunswick.  Her talk is co-sponsored by the Royal Society of Canada and presented in partnership with the St. John River Society, UNB's Renaissance College and UNB's College of Extended Learning.

The other speakers in the Year of Water series are Marq de Villiers, author of Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource, on Thursday, March 15; and Kim Sturgess, CEO and founder of Alberta WaterSMART, on Tuesday, April 10.

Additional speakers and events are planned for the fall.

The Andrews Initiative, created by former UNB president John McLaughlin, is aimed at fostering study and dialogue on issues of substantive importance to the community. 

For more information on the Year of the Water Speakers Series, visit or call Susan Montague at 506-452-6180.