Arctic Inspiration Prize co-founder wants more Yukon nominees

Arnold Witzig met with community leaders at the Association of Yukon Communities meeting in Watson Lake over the weekend to urge them to identify potential contestants for the million dollar prize.

Arnold Witzig encourages community leaders to become involved in nominating contestants

Arnold Witzig urged community leaders meeting in Watson Lake, Yukon over the weekend to become involved in nominating groups for the Arctic Inspiration Prize. (Dave Croft/CBC)

One of the co-founders of the Arctic Inspiration Prize has been in Yukon recruiting new ambassadors to identify and nominate potential prize winners.

Arnold Witzig was at the Association of Yukon Communities meeting in Watson Lake this past weekend to encourage municipal leaders to join in.

"MLAs, mayors, and so on, these are the people who are in the communities, who have access to their people and should be interested and will know if there is something going on — a project, a team, that wants to do something," Witzig said.

Witzig and his wife Sima Sharifi are both immigrants to Canada and created the prize as a way to contribute to the future of their adopted country.

The award is meant help groups that are working to better the lives of Northerners.

In 2015, the $1.5 million prize was shared by three groups: Better Hearing in Education for Northern Youth, which works with youth in Nunavut whose education is suffering because of hearing loss; Qaggiq, which uses performing arts to improve the prospects for youth at risk; and the Tri-Territorial Recreation Project, which promotes recreation as a way to improve Northerners' quality of life.  

Witzig said the competition is in its fifth year.

"We are now in kind of a transition phase to make it really owned by the North. This always was for the North, but the goal was always to be owned really by the North."