By Mary-Mares-Awe–MEMBERS OF THE CHICAGO CHAPTER of the Fulbright Association and six visiting Fulbright students celebrated International Women’s day by attending the 15th annual luncheon at the Union League Club on March 8, hosted by World Chicago and the International Trade Club of Chicago.
Attending the lunch were visiting Fulbrighters: Milena BerBenkova from Bulgaria, Eliana Solange from Angola, Eliane deLarminat of France, Aisa Lipscombe of New Zeland, Teuta Peja of Kosovo and Annie Khalid of Pakistan.
Representing the chapter were Mary Mares-Awe, President of the Chicago Chapter and Dr. Sandra Martins, one of the chapter’s newest members.
The luncheon featured Nobel Peace Prize nominated author and, environmental and human rights advocate, Sheila Watt-Cloutier. She is also the president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council of Canada.
During her speech Ms. Watt-Cloutier outlined the effects of human-made climate change on the lives of not only the aboriginal people of the North Pole, but on the whole world. “The north pole is the air-conditioned of the planet”, she said and when that starts to break down the whole world feels its affects from severe weather to droughts and floods.
She also said it’s vital for the world to understand that “the actions or inactions of the global community are starting to impact very deeply the human rights of people who dependent on their environment on a daily basis”. She also added that it’s not just people who depend on their environment like the Inuit, but everyone is impacted by climate change.
The author emphasized the importance women can play in bringing attention to the devastating toll climate change is inflicting on people’s lives and the worldwide economy.
The visiting Fulbright students found the talk fascinating and the luncheon “just wonderful”, as one of them said. The students also expressed their gratitude to the Members of the Chicago Chapter board for their sponsorship.
Following the luncheon, students got the opportunity pose for pictures with Sheila Watt-Cloutier. Some of them even purchased her latest book, The Right to be Cold, which she personally inscribed.
The luncheon was sponsored by the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association and co-sponsored by the Institute of International Education, IIE.