Inuit diplomat and leader Mary Simon, former president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, will receive the 2014 Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Relations from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and the food-service company Sodexo Canada.
Simon, currently a fellow with the Arctic Institute of North America, is also Canada’s first ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs and helped lead negotiations for the creation of the Arctic Council, as well as serving as Canadian Ambassador to Denmark.
In short, Simon “has worked tirelessly to promote the interests of northern communities on a wide variety of challenges facing Inuit including environmental, social, cultural, and political issues,” the CCAB said in a statement.
The award is given to a “Canadian who has personally contributed, through his or her professional and voluntary commitments, to building bridges between Aboriginal people and Canada’s business community,” said the CCAB.
“It is the leadership of forward thinkers such as Mary Simon that continues to build vital partnerships and personal relationships that open the doors of business through education and participation on the national stage,” CCAB president and CEO JP Gladu said in the statement.
“Mary Simon’s work has been global in scope but local in impact, truly benefiting Canada’s Inuit people in their communities,” Sodexo Canada President Dean Johnson said.
A panel of business leaders from both the aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities chose the recipient. The award will be bestowed at the CCAB’s 12th Annual Vancouver Gala on September 25, 2014.
Simon served as president of ITK for six years, opting not to seek reelection in 2012. She also received a Diamond Jubilee Medal from Governor General David Johnston in honor of the 60th year of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.
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