Mary Simon, OC, QC, is the former Chair of the National Committee on Inuit Education whose mandate is to implement a comprehensive national strategy aimed at improving Inuit educational standards and achievements.
She was born in Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik (Arctic Quebec). She has advanced critical social, economic and human rights for Canadian Inuit regionally, nationally and internationally. For over four decades she has held senior leadership positions including, President of Makivik Corporation (the Land Claims Organization for Inuit of Nunavik), President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, Canadian Ambassador For Circumpolar Affairs as well as to the Kingdom of Denmark. More recently, for six years she was the President of Canada’s national Inuit organization, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
Ms. Simon led Canada’s negotiations during the creation of the eight Nation Arctic Council in the mid 1990’s. The Arctic Council includes the Indigenous peoples of the circumpolar region as Permanent Participants.
She is an Officer of the Order of Canada, recipient of the Gold Order of Greenland, and the Gold Order of the Canadian Geographic Society. Mary Simon has also received many other distinctions including several honorary doctorates of laws from Canadian universities (Victoria, UBC, McGill, Guelph, Trent, Alberta, Memorial, Carleton, Queens, Loyalist College, and Mount Saint Vincent).
She also served as Chancellor of Trent University.
In 2013 she received recognition as a nation builder from the Famous 5. She is also the recipient of the Governor General’s Northern award. She was recently honoured by the Public Policy Forum for her contributions to public life, public policy and governance in Canada.
She is also an Honorary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.