Press release. Ottawa – 28 January 2016 – The executive council of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) met here this week to review initiatives that the organization is expected to deliver on by its next quadrennial General Assembly in 2018.
Also at the meeting, ICC Vice Chair for Canada, Duane Smith, announced his resignation after serving ICC for over 17 years. Mr. Smith was elected earlier this week to replace Nellie Cournoyea as the Chair and CEO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC). He will also be stepping down as ICC Canada president.
ICC Chair, Okalik Eegeesiak, thanked Duane Smith for his commitment and lengthy service to ICC and all Inuit. “You will be missed. Your contribution to and for Inuit in the work ICC undertakes from Novo Chaplino in Russia, Bethel in Alaska, to Iqaluit in Canada, and Nuuk in Greenland will also be missed. I’m glad your ICC work will continue to be felt at IRC,” Ms. Eegeesiak added.
“I am leaving with some regret, but I believe my contribution to ICC has left the organization with the tools to continue to do great work,” the outgoing ICC Canada president said. “On the international stage, I always aimed to do things that made a difference at home and in that way, moving to my new role at IRC is simply a continuation of this approach.”
In a similar vein, the ICC council members reviewed the local impacts of current projects and activities of the Arctic Council and United Nations. Members also reviewed progress of the Kitigaaryuit Declaration, the 4-year mandate document that Inuit gave ICC at the last general assembly in 2014.
Of special note, three Inuit summits were launched at this meeting. They include a circumpolar-wide wildlife summit to be held in the Canadian Arctic in November of this year, an Inuit economic summit in Alaska in February 2017, and an Inuit education summit in Autumn 2017. Inuit from Russia, Alaska, Greenland, and Canada will participate at these summits before the next general assembly is held in Alaska in 2018.
ICC Vice Chair for Greenland, Hjalmar Dahl said, “we will miss Duane’s guidance as we and plan implement these very important summits.”
Jim Stotts, ICC Vice Chair for Alaska, said “Duane was never shy to challenge Arctic states and industry when our interests were not addressed, but mostly he asked how we can all work together.”
The ICC executive council next meeting will be in Greenland in the last week of August 2016.
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