Ottawa, September 17, 1990 : The United Nations Association in Canada (UNAC) is pleased to announce that Mr. Murray Thomson has been selected by a jury of eminent Canadians as the 1990 recipient of the Pearson Peace Medal.
Throughout his career Murray Thomson has been a tireless worker for peace, development and human dignity. His boundaries are world-wide, encompassing all of humanity. His commitment is to a world in which all can live and prosper in peace with their neighbours. Those efforts reflect a philosophy that owes much to his Quaker roots.
Early in his career he worked for CUSO and for the Quaker community, including periods on South-East Asia with both organizations. He has been instrumental in the founding and establishment of a number of organizations, including Project Ploughshares, the Group of 78, Seniors for Social Responsibility, and Peace Brigades International. In 1990, he was the Executive of yet another initiative — Peace Fund Canada, which operates under the umbrella of the International Council for Adult Education.
The awards ceremony and reception took place on Human Rights Day, December 10, 1990, at the Unitarian Church of Ottawa. The medal was presented to Mr. Thomson on our behalf by His Excellency, the Right Honorable Ramon John Hnatyshyn, Governor General of Canada. After the awards ceremony, UNAC and a dozen of other organizations with which Mr. Thomson has worked over the years joined together in producing a “celebration” of Mr. Thomson’s life in poetry, song, tributes and food.
“The Peace Movement is stronger than it was in the 60s”
More than 150 people attended a ceremony on Ottawa on December 10, during which Murray Thomson, Executive Director of the Peace Fund Canada and long-tome peace activist, received the Pearson Peace Medal. Before awarding him the medal on behalf of the UNAC, His Excellency the Governor General Ramon John Hnastyshyn, said he was proud to give this award to Mr. Thomson on International Human Rights Day. In the Governor General’s words, “Few people have worked as hard and as long in seeking justice and a better way of life for others.”
Mr. Thomson compared today’s peace movement to that of the 1960s. Though it may not be as strong as he would like, today’s movement penetrates all segments of society: schools, a host of small community groups, organizations such as Project Ploughshares, professional associations, national organizations such as the Group of 78, municipalities that hold referendums on disarmament, the Churches, where it is stronger than before, and the Canadian Government which he mentioned, often finances initiatives that promote peace, such as the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development in Montreal under the direction of Ed Broadbent. Murray Thomson said that the explosion in Hiroshima convinced him that war could no longer be considered an alternative.
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