About Sheila Watt-Cloutier by Molly MacDonald, posted on 1:26 PM, August 16, 2019
Adaptation Canada 2020 welcomes Sheila Watt-Cloutier as keynote speaker for the closing plenary address.
Watt-Cloutier is in the business of transforming public opinion into public policy. Experienced in working with global decision-makers for more than a decade, she offers a new model for 21st century leadership. She speaks with passion and urgency on the issues of today — the environment, the economy, foreign policy, global health, and sustainability — not as separate concerns, but as a deeply interconnected whole. At a time when people are seeking solutions, direction and a sense of hope, this global leader provides a big picture of where we are and where we're headed.
In 2007, 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. Watt-Cloutier is an Officer of the Order of Canada; the recipient of the Aboriginal Achievement Award; the UN Champion of the Earth Award; the Norwegian Sophie Prize; and the Right Livelihood Award, which she won in November, 2015 and which is widely considered the "Nobel Alternative."
From 1995-2002, she was elected the Canadian President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC). 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 — a post she held until 2006.
Widely recognized for her work, Watt-Cloutier gave a TEDx Talk in 2016 titled “Human Trauma and Climate Trauma as One.” She is also the author of the memoir The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet, which was nominated for the 2016 BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. In 2017, the book was shortlisted for CBC Canada Reads, defended by Chantal Kreviazuk. Watt-Cloutier was also shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize.