INRS will award Ms. Barlow the highest academic honour for her contribution to the universal right to water at its convocation ceremony on May 14, 2022.

MONTRÉAL, April 14, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ - The Institut national de la recherche scientifique This hyperlink will open in a new window. (INRS) is proud to announce it will award this year's honorary doctorate to Maude Barlow, a strong advocate for water resources in Canada and around the world. This distinction will be the first one awarded to her from a university in Québec.

With an ongoing focus on solidarity, Ms. Barlow has led a remarkable career in service of the environment, social justice, and democracy. She embodies the key values of respect, openness, and inclusion advocated by INRS, as the environment and its protection are an important part of the institute's mission, both in research and training.

She will be honoured at the 2022 convocation ceremony This hyperlink will open in a new window. on May 14. INRS will also celebrate the success of the 137 graduates who make up the research and training institute's most recent cohort, together at Centre Mont-Royal in Montréal.

"Maude Barlow's extensive and successful career has had a tangible impact on communities across Canada and around the world. This exceptional woman has been instrumental in raising awareness among individuals and governments of the importance of universal access to water. The message she carries inspires us all!" Luc-Alain Giraldeau, Chief Executive Officer, INRS

Embracing social change

For over 40 years, Maude Barlow has supported important causes and helped vulnerable populations through her tremendous generosity and keen interest in the various problems they face.

This activist, who holds a bachelor's degree in history, quickly became known for her outstanding communication skills and her strength in defending the causes she cares about. Maude Barlow was initially an advocate for women's rights and gradually shifted her focus to defending access to water as a universal human right. In 1988, she helped found the Council of Canadians This hyperlink will open in a new window., for which she served as volunteer chair for almost 30 years.

In 2008, she was appointed Senior Advisor on Water to Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockman, then president of the United Nations General Assembly This hyperlink will open in a new window.. She campaigned with him for universal recognition of the right to water and for its inclusion in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 2010, Maude Barlow attended the Assembly vote to recognize the human right to water and sanitation. Her work was praised by a number of delegations.

Blue Communities

Maude Barlow initiated Blue Communities This hyperlink will open in a new window., a project that supports and encourages municipalities to protect and promote the right to water and to stop water privatization. Since 2009, this movement has advocated, among other things, the elimination of bottled water at conferences and public events. Today, the project affects over 25 million people around the world. This resounding success was followed by the publication of her book Whose Water Is It, Anyway? in 2019. 

The numerous awards she has received include the prestigious Right Livelihood Award This hyperlink will open in a new window. (also known as the "Alternative Nobel"), which was presented to her in 2005 by the Swiss government. The same year, the Lannan Foundation This hyperlink will open in a new window. in California awarded her the Cultural Freedom Fellowship.

"I am deeply moved to receive this honour. Institut national de la recherche scientifique is doing groundbreaking work on the ecological dimensions of the climate and water crises. By awarding me this doctorate, the Institute is clearly demonstrating its understanding of the human rights dimension of the crises as well." Maude Barlow

By awarding an honorary doctorate to Maude Barlow, INRS wishes to reaffirm its recognition of water access issues and the importance of preserving this essential resource for all forms of life.

Recognizing the excellence of graduates

More broadly, the convocation is also an opportunity to acknowledge the remarkable achievements of two graduates (one at the master's level and one at the doctoral level) by presenting them with the Executive Chief Office's Award of Excellence for their exemplary academic record. A Governor General's Gold Academic Medal will also be awarded to one student. Through this award, the Governor General of Canada encourages academic excellence across the country and recognizes outstanding students.

INRS will present the following awards and distinctions This hyperlink will open in a new window. to students from its four centres:

  • International Outreach Award
  • Innovation Award
  • Student Leadership Award
  • Best Master's Thesis Award
  • Best Doctoral Dissertation Award

INRS Foundation awards

Once again this year, the INRS Foundation This hyperlink will open in a new window. will present three Lumières Awards This hyperlink will open in a new window. to alumni in the Firestarter, Trailblazer, and Starburst categories.

About INRS

INRS This hyperlink will open in a new window. is a university dedicated exclusively to graduate level research and training. Since its creation in 1969, INRS has played an active role in Québec's economic, social, and cultural development and is ranked first for research intensity in Québec. INRS is made up of four interdisciplinary research and training centres in Québec City, Montréal, Laval, and Varennes, with expertise in strategic sectors: Eau Terre Environnement This hyperlink will open in a new window., Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications This hyperlink will open in a new window., Urbanisation Culture Société This hyperlink will open in a new window., and Armand-Frappier Santé Biotechnologie This hyperlink will open in a new window.. The INRS community includes more than 1,500 students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty members, and staff.

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Last update: April 14, 2022