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Aqqaluk Lynge, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

June 7, 2012: ICC Press Release

Aqqaluk Lynge, the Greenlandic leader of the international organization, Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) has officially been awarded the honorary degree (Doctor of Humane Letters) by the renowned American University, Dartmouth College, in the state of New Hampshire. The prestigious title was awarded by the president of Dartmouth College, Jim Yong Kim and took place at the university's big annual celebration on Sunday June 10.

Dartmouth College was founded in 1769 with the primary purpose to educate young Indians, which at that time meant to train them as Christian missionaries. Today, Dartmouth College is one of America’s eight most prestigious universities, and member of the Ivy League. The university today also highlights Arctic research, and is offering one of the best Arctic study programs in the U.S.

President of Dartmouth College, Jim Yong Kim is Korean American. Jim Yong Kim is a trained physician and anthropologist, and internationally recognized for his fight against tuberculosis in the World Health Organization. In April Jim Kim was elected as president of the World Bank.

Aqqaluk Lynge has since 2006 had very close ties to Dartmouth College, where he has helped the university in establishing a recognized program on Arctic environmental policy. Furthermore, Lynge helped to create an exchange program for students from the Greenland University Ilisimatusarfik and Dartmouth College. In 2008, Aqqaluk Lynge affiliated the university as a senior researcher, and since then he has participated in several projects and conferences at the campus.

The very prestigious honorary doctor degree is being awarded on basis of Lynge’s extensive human rights work for the world's indigenous peoples, but especially for his longstanding efforts for Inuit in the ICC and his membership in international and regional forums such as the UN Permanent Forum and the Arctic Council. Likewise, the university looked to the political processes, which Lynge has conducted in Greenland, and for his very extensive writing, and considerable efforts for Greenlandic literature.

Aqqaluk Lynge follows in the wake of the two so far only Greenlanders who have been awarded an honorary doctoral degree, namely the late Premier Jonathan Motzfeldt, who in 1985 was awarded the degree by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and Professor Robert Petersen, who in 1992 received the degree from Université Laval in Quebec, Canada.

In connection with the award Aqqaluk Lynge thanked, and said: "I receive this honorable title as a recognition of my work for Inuit rights in solidarity with the world's indigenous peoples".