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REF NO.: 43

SUBJECT: Memorial’s Northern liaison named vice-president of University of the Arctic

DATE: Dec. 16

A Memorial representative with extensive experience in Northern community development has been appointed to an executive position with the University of the Arctic (UArctic.)

Sheila Downer, Memorial’s Northern Liaison with the Office of Public Engagement, will maintain her current role at Memorial and provide strategic leadership within UArctic as the new vice-president of finance, development and engagement. Ms. Downer will draw on a 30-year career in community and economic development in Northern regions, including her strengths in public engagement and project management.

UArctic is a co-operative network of 150 universities, colleges and other organizations, including Memorial University, with a focus on providing research and higher education opportunities in the North. Through co-operation in education, research and outreach, UArctic enhances Northern capacity, supports viable communities and sustainable economies, and forges global collaboration.

Ms. Downer will join UArctic’s leadership group, the Ma-mawi, which also includes Gerald Anderson, director (development and engagement) at the Marine Institute. Her role will include overseeing UArctic’s overall fundraising strategies, including identifying initiatives to strengthen the economic basis of UArctic’s networking activities. This includes initiatives that encourage and support Arctic and Northern public engagement activities among UArctic members, and the brokering of partnerships and collaborations that connect public engagement to excellence in Northern research, scholarship and creativity.

Dr. Gary Kachanoski, Memorial’s president and vice-chancellor, and member of UArctic’s board of governors, is pleased with the news of Ms. Downer’s appointment.  

“Sheila brings a wealth of experience to this new role, both in terms of project management and entrepreneurial spirit, and her significant expertise in working to build dialogue and consensus within communities,” said Dr. Kachanoski. “This is another positive step in the relationship between Memorial and UArctic, and an indicator of Memorial’s role as a global leader in Northern and Arctic education and research.”

Ms. Downer says she is excited about her new role.

“I look forward to bringing my experience of working with Northern and rural communities to help further the University of Arctic’s networking and public engagement activities. I expect to discover new and exciting opportunities to work together with members of the University of the Arctic. Memorial University is an important partner in the development of the North and the Arctic, and it is my hope that we can assist to increase collaborations on initiatives for researchers and communities across our province with partners within the UArctic network.”

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For more information, please contact Rebecca Cohoe, communications co-ordinator, Office of Public Engagement, Memorial University, at rcohoe@mun.ca.

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