Internationally recognized leaders in peace education, women’s activism, and the disarmament movement will gather at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax for the Being the Change: Building a Culture of Peace conference taking place July 7 to 10.
Alyn Ware, winner of the 2009 Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Peace Prize), will deliver a free public lecture entitled From Kindergarten to the UN – Education and Action for Peace on July 7.
Ware played a key role in gaining the International Court of Justice decision declaring nuclear weapons illegal, and was instrumental in launching the World March for Peace and Non Violence from New Zealand in 2009. He was also a major contributor in drafting the model Nuclear Weapons Convention, now being promoted by United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.
Sandra Ionno Butcher, based in London, England, is Program Coordinator with the International Secretariat of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. She will speak on the importance of engaging youth in building a culture of peace in our classrooms and communities.
Butcher’s work includes exploring the interrelated issues of nuclear disarmament, non-military resolution of conflict, and the role of scientists. She has conducted oral histories and research on the Pugwash Movement, including the famous Russell-Einstein Manifesto of 1955 (the last public statement from Albert Einstein calling on all citizens to learn to think in a new way), the Pugwash Conference hosted by Nova Scotia industrialist Cyrus Eaton, and the awarding of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize to both Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash Movement.
“A dozen peace partners, representing a broad range of non-governmental organizations and educational institutions, have come together to support the peace conference,” says Alexa McDonough, Conference Chair, Interim President and Vice-Chancellor of Mount Saint Vincent University, and longtime peace advocate. “This indicates the widespread commitment to the conference themes: peace education, women’s activism, and the disarmament movement.”
The daughter of Pei-Yuan Chou, a Chinese scientist who crossed the iron curtain to attend the first Pugwash Conference in 1957, will be a special conference guest. Ru Ling Susie Chou, herself a physicist, will provide an overview of the role of Pugwash locally, nationally and internationally. On the final day of the conference, participants will have the opportunity to visit the historic home of the Pugwash Movement and tour the recently restored Thinkers Lodge, which was designated a National Historic Site in 2008.
“Our intention with the conference is to develop concrete action steps to build a culture of peace in our classrooms, our communities and our world,” says McDonough.
Being the Change: Building a Culture of Peace is organized and supported by: Canadian Pugwash; Canadian Voice of Women for Peace; Just Us coffee; Mount Saint Vincent University; Nova Scotia Community College; Peaceful Schools International; Physicians for Global Survival; Pugwash Park Commission; Pugwash Peace Exchange; Saint Mary’s University; Sisters of Charity; and The Cyrus Eaton Foundation.