June 10, 2012
AQQALUK LYNGE, your brilliant ability to transform ideas into action has advanced the rights of indigenous peoples around the world and unified international efforts to combat global warming. A consummate poet-politician, cultural statesman, and true friend of Dartmouth, you have championed the self-determination of your native Greenland and the interests and unity of the Inuit of the Arctic Circle.
In the great tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., you have written that "the ability to resist peacefully is a powerful tool." You exercised this belief by helping to lead a nonviolent revolution for your country's transition from colonial rule to self-government, setting a precedent for all indigenous peoples.
You have written in your poetry that the Inuit way of life relies upon the "balance / between animals and us / lives of mutual respect." Your dedication to protecting that balance has led you to become one of the world's principal voices on climate change. You have forged Inuit partnerships with climate scientists, business leaders, and policymakers to find workable solutions to global warming.
You have also written that "the Inuit, the people who live farther north than anyone else, are the canary in the global coal mine." In your homeland, Inuit hunters are falling through thinning ice fields and Inuit homes are falling into the encroaching ocean, but you continue to inspire your people by reminding them that they have overcome daunting challenges throughout their history.
Aqqaluk, you have shared the resilience and beauty of the Inuit soul with Dartmouth and the world. For your extraordinary dedication to promoting the rights of indigenous people everywhere and working to safeguard our planet from the cataclysmic ravages of climate change, Dartmouth is proud to award you the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters.
President Jim Yong Kim
Last Updated: 8/17/12