FOXY Awarded $1 Million Arctic Inspiration Prize

FOXY Awarded $1 Million Arctic Inspiration Prize

Sexual Health Education and Leadership Program Expands to all Three Territories

OTTAWA, Dec. 10, 2014 /CNW/ - The $1 Million Arctic Inspiration Prize has been awarded to FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth), a community-based participatory action research project, for its knowledge to action plan to work with young women and men across the North to facilitate dialogue about sexual health issues, develop leadership and coping skills, and build greater self-confidence for making healthy life choices.

The announcement was made at the Arctic Inspiration Prize Awards Ceremony hosted by ArcticNet in conjunction with the international Arctic Change 2014 conference in Ottawa.

"The sexual health of Northern youth is a serious public health concern, with extremely high rates of sexually transmitted infections, adolescent pregnancy, and sexual violence across the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon," said Candice Lys, FOXY Team Leader.  "We are thrilled to receive this prestigious Prize that will support our team of youth, Elders, educators, community-based researchers and artists to deliver a sexual health education program that is relevant and accessible to Northern youth of all genders, in all three territories, " said Lys.

Founded in 2012 by Arnold Witzig and Sima Sharifi, the Arctic Inspiration Prize awards $ 1 Million each year to teams working on important issues in the Canadian Arctic in the fields of education, human health, social-cultural issues, environment and the economy. In addition to the financial award, FOXY received a sculpture presented by its creator, renowned artist Mattiusi Iyaituk from Ivujivik.

The Awards Ceremony also featured a performance by Polaris Music Prize recipient Tanya Taguq, Celina Kalluk, Sylvia Cloutier, Digawolf and David Serkoak.

"Since the launch of the Prize less than three years ago, the Arctic Inspiration Prize team has grown to include partners and ambassadors from Aboriginal organizations, the research community, government, industry, arts and cultural groups from all regions of Canada and I'm delighted to see so many of them here with us tonight," said Witzig.

"The shared goals of the Prize – to recognize excellence and encourage teamwork to bring Arctic knowledge into action for the benefit of the Canadian Arctic, its inhabitants and therefore for Canada as a whole – are clearly reflected in the nominated projects we received this year," said Witzig.

Shortlisted projects for 2014 include:

Old Crow Solar Project - A community-based program in the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation community of Old Crow that partners the Vuntut Gwitchin Government with Sea Breeze Microgrid Systems Inc. and Yukon College's Cold Climate Innovation Centre to develop a solar-diesel-storage hybrid energy system as a more environmentally sound and economically viable energy alternative to diesel combustion to provide the community's power requirements.

The Hudson Bay Network – A partnership between Inuit and Cree community leaders, regional governments and researchers from university and government to conduct community-driven environmental research to assess and monitor changes to sea ice ecosystems resulting from climate change and development.  An Interactive Knowledge Mapping Platform, produced in collaboration with Google Earth, aims to make Traditional Knowledge and near real-time results from the community programs accessible to policy makers, communities, students and the public in an easy-to-use online interface.

The Inuvialuit Settlement Region Community-Based Monitoring Program (ISR-CBMP) - The Inuvialuit Game Council, the Fisheries Joint Management Committee, the Yukon North Slope Management Advisory Committee and the Northwest Territories Wildlife Management Advisory Committee, partnering with Trent University and a team of technical advisors plan to train wildlife and environmental monitoring technicians in six ISR communities in order to create and apply new knowledge for regional decision-making and to promote sustainable development within the ISR.

Nominations were also received that addressed many other critical issues in the North such as improving graduate education for Inuit, diminishing the impacts of environmental pollution, and maintaining northern cultural heritage and tradition.

The recipients are chosen by a selection committee that includes Eva Aariak, Former Premier of Nunavut, The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Secretary General of la Francophonie, Former Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, Thomas Anguti Johnston, President of the National Inuit Youth Council, Peter Mansbridge, Chief Correspondent, CBC News and Anchor, The National, Tom Paddon, President & Chief Executive Officer, Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation and Chair of the Arctic Economic Council, and Geraldine Van Bibber, Chancellor of Yukon College, and Former Commissioner of Yukon.

For more information about the finalists, please visit: