Born 1922 in Mainz, Germany, of French and Scottish descent, a geomorphologist by training who defined himself as an anthropo-geographer, 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 where he created the Center of Arctic Studies which was to serve as a model for the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi. He also became Research Professor at the French National Scientific Centre (CNRS) and published hundreds of research articles as well as 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 Dannebrog Order, the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society, the Gold Nersornaat Medal of the Greenlandic Government, and the Great Cross of the National Order of Merit in France. He was also Great Commander of the Légon d’honneur and Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO for the Polar Regions.

He published his memoirs De la pierre à l’âme (From Stones to the Soul) in 2022. 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 archives) to the Oceanographic Institute/Prince Albert 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, associate member of the University Paris-Saclay. MIARC expresses its sincere condolences to his daughter Éléonore and son Guillaume as well as his three grandchildren. MIARC is honoured to promote his work and to conduct research on this highly inspirational figure, his work and Arctic Humanities.