In September 1998, the Arctic Council’s Iqaluit Declaration announced the "establishment of the University of the Arctic, a university without walls". Since then it has been almost 25 years and UArctic has grown into an international network with more than 150 member organizations, all concerned with education and research in and about the North. 

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon was essential in the establishment of this network, as she championed the initial idea of a University of the Arctic within the Arctic Council during Canada’s first (and the first ever) Chairmanship period 1996-1998. She served on the Board of UArctic from 2003 to 2009 and has participated in various UArctic meetings throughout the years. 

Ms. Simon was Canada's first Ambassador of Circumpolar Affairs from 1994 to 2004. She championed young peoples’ issues through her Arctic Children and Youth Foundation and was instrumental in developing the Arctic Council, moving beyond the environmental focus of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy. Since 2021 Ms. Simon is Canada's first Indigenous governor general. 

This year, at the UArctic Assembly 2023 in Québec City, Canada, 25 years since the Iqaluit Declaration and the establishment of UArctic will be celebrated. It is a great honour for UArctic to receive a video address from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon for this occasion. 

Please visit the UArctic Assembly event website for more information about the event.