Egede Ingmar

In 1975, Ingmar Egede was appointed Rector of the Greenland Teachers' College, Ilinniarfissuaq, in Nuuk. Egede was the first Greenlander to hold this appointment, a position he held until 1988. Egede was then appointed Advisor to the Greenland Minister of Culture and Education from 1988 to 1991. In 2001, Egede was appointed to the first Board of Governors of the University of the Arctic.

In addition to his career in education, Egede was active across a wide range of other social, cultural, and human rights fields. He served on the Board of Directors of the Tuukkaq Theater (1988-1992), as chairperson of the Silamiut Theater (1988-1991), and founding chairperson and Board Member of Katuaq, the Greenland Cultural Center (1996-2000).

Active with the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), Egede served as an Executive Council member (1989-1995) and as vice president (1992-1995). During his years with ICC, Egede represented Inuit concerns at many international meetings, including those of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, the eight-nation Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), International Whaling Commission (IWC), North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO), IUCN (World Conservation Union), and meetings of the Circumpolar Ministers of Education as well as at numerous international conferences, in particular, to discuss indigenous rights, subsistence issues, and the sustainable use of natural resources. His message in the latter regard was that politicians who wish to appear environmentally enlightened at home and on the international stage have an obligation to be broadly informed about the issues they wish to promote. Egede urged politicians and decision-makers to remain skeptical of campaigns mounted by radical environmental and animal protection organizations whose actions and messages ignore or misrepresent indigenous and local peoples' rights to subsistence.

Egede's contributions to these environmental and resource use debates were characteristically thoughtful, informed, and balanced. One example of this occurred at a 1995 international experts' meeting discussing nutrition, environment, and health in the circumpolar regions. On that occasion, at a time when concern about persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Arctic foods was more speculative than science-based, Egede cautioned scientists that their unwarranted exaggerations were in danger of creating a greater health impact on Arctic peoples than were the contaminants themselves.

Egede was cofounder of Siumut, Greenland's Social Democratic political party, through which he articulated his ideas for eventual Greenland Home Rule. Always a visionary and articulate advocate for the rights of Greenlanders and indigenous peoples around the world, in 1997 Egede brought together 17 leading international experts on indigenous affairs and human rights, after which he founded the International Training Center of Indigenous Peoples (ITCIP) in Nuuk. In 1998, ITCIP held the first of a series of training workshops attended by indigenous peoples from around the world; similar workshops followed in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Egede was preparing for the next training session in 2003, the year of his death on the United Nations International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, August 9.

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