Mary Simon, O.C., QC, comes from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik (Arctic Quebec).
She is the recent past president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the National Inuit Organization (2006-2012). She has just completed her term as Chairperson of the National Committee on Inuit Education with a mandate to implement a comprehensive national strategy, aimed at improving Inuit educational standards and achievements (2012-2014). She has advanced critical social, economic and human rights issues for Canadian Inuit regionally, nationally and internationally.
Ms. Simon led Canada’s negotiations during the creation of the eight Nation, Arctic Council in the mid 1990’s. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada, Recipient of the National Order of Quebec, the Gold Order of Greenland, The National Aboriginal Achievement Award, the Gold Order of the Canadian Geographic Society, The Symons Medal, the Governor General’s Northern Award. She has been inducted into the International Women’s Hall of Fame.
Mary has also received nine honorary doctorates of Laws from 9 Canadian Universities. She also served as Chancellor of Trent University.
In 2013, Ms. Simon received recognition as a nation builder from the Famous Five. She was recently honoured by the Public Policy Forum for her contributions to public life, public policy and governance in Canada.
She is an Honorary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She is also a recent recipient of the CCAB/SODEXO Award for “Excellence in Aboriginal Relations. Most recently, Ms. Simon has been actively involved in the creation of a new organization called “Canadians For a New Partnership”.
Mary was one of the original supporters of SOI and its vision, and has participated on many SOI expeditions, including the most recent 2015 Arctic Expedition.