Jean Malaurie

Professor Jean Malaurie passed away in his 102nd year, 5 February 2024, at his home in Dieppe, France.

Born in 1922 in Mainz, Germany, of French and Scottish descent, a geomorphologist by training, Jean Malaurie went on 31 expeditions to the circumpolar Arctic, including his famous cartographic mission to North-West Greenland and demographic work in the Thule area that inspired his account The Last Kings of Thule, the most widely-distributed book on Greenland in the world with its 20 translations, first title of the prestigious “Terre Humaine” book series that he founded at Plon Publishers in Paris in 1955, followed by Claude Lévi-Strauss’ seminal Tristes Tropiques.

Jean Malaurie was appointed Director of studies at the École pratique des Hautes Études, sixth section (later called École des Hautes Études in Paris), at the age of 35 and later also became Research Professor at the French National Scientific Centre (CNRS). He published hundreds of research articles and a whole series of books while founding in the 1960s Inter-Nord, the only French polar journal, now published online by MIARC. Jean Malaurie received many distinctions during his career spanning more than 70 years, including the Order of the Dannebrog, the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society, the Gold Nersornat Order of the Greenlandic Government, and the Great Cross of the National Order of Merit in France. He was also a Great Officer of the Légon d’honneur and Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO for the Polar Regions.

An exhibition of his pastels was shown in 2023 at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco and the University of Greenland, as well as UNESCO in January 2024. In, 2022, he donated his Arctic collections (objects, photographs, notebooks, personal correspondence, and documentation) to the Oceanographic Institute/Prince Alber 1st of Monaco Foundation which supports the Malaurie Institute of Arctic Research (MIARC) founded in 2021 at the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, an associate member of the University Paris-Saclay. His wife Monique, née Laporte, had died only recently, in October 2023, at the age of 97. MIARC expresses its sincere condolences to their daughter Éléonore and son Guillaume as well as the latter’s three children. MIARC is honored to promote his work and to conduct research on this inspirational figure and the Arctic in general.

Source: Malaurie Insitute

The Arctic is proud to have developed a dedicated website in his honor at in cooperation with the Team of the Malaurie Institute where you can find more information on the life and achievements of Jean Malaurie -

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