Outstanding Women Awards from Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
The Shirley Farlinger Award for Peace Writings
Shirley’s peace activism, like her life, was filled with passion. It was no less than seeking to build a culture of peace! For example, along with her many friends such as those in Canadian Voice of Women for Peace VOW), she lobbied steadily for the abolition of war and its system. With VOW, she travelled often to the UN, mostly to its headquarters in New York but also to Vienna and Geneva. She took these opportunities to push for various disarmament issues and, it seemed to her travel mates, to effortlessly produce fulsome reports of many of these international encounters. In the midst of this, Shirley took time out (1993) to learn more and enrolled in the fledgling European Peace University based in a beautiful castle in a colourful town not far from Vienna. Here she thrived on the teachings of itinerant scholars from far and wide, including the “Father of Peace Research” Johann Galtung.
Perhaps equally, she wore a feminist hat which on several occasions expressed itself through her witty plays on the long overdue victories of Canadian women being rightfully declared persons, and the more recent right of women, globally, to be included in decision-making related to all aspects of peace building – from prevention to post conflict reconstruction. These plays stand as examples of resources Shirley’s creative self contributed to the cause. One of the latest was a package of greeting cards with satirical, illustrated messages meant to wake us up about environmental threats. She was the change she wanted to see – zealous, optimistic, studious, creative and unfailingly supportive to companions in this mammoth struggle for a peaceful world. But, central to these many gifts was her belief in the power of the pen honed by degrees in both English and journalism . Upon her death in 2012, three bulging binders holding copies of her urgent letters to newspaper editors confirm her long-held, genuine and powerful drive to write for positive, peaceful change.
The Muriel Duckworth Award for Peace Activism
Muriel Duckworth lived a life of peace activism. Raised in rural Quebec, she went to McGill University in Montreal, where she joined The Student Christian Movement, which fostered the development of her own independent thinking and her search for truth. Subsequently, with her husband Jack, she attended the Union Theological Seminary in New York (UTS), where she embraced the Social Gospel movement which provided social services and adult education in an effort to improve people’s lives. Eventually, she became a practicing Quaker, a denomination committed to non-violence.
Muriel was a founder of the Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace in 1962, and the President of National VOW
from 1967 to 1971, and she remained an active member of VOW for the rest of her life. The main peace issue at the time of her Presidency was VOW’s opposition to the Vietnam War. In keeping with VOW’s objective of making connections with women in countries that are deemed “the enemy”, Muriel helped arrange for two delegations of Vietnamese women to visit Canada.
The Vietnamese women traveled across Canada just north of the US border, and US women would come across the border to meet the Vietnamese ‘enemies’ who couldn’t enter the States.
She organized and attended international conferences on behalf of VOW and she researched, organized, demonstrated, and spoke out not only on peace, disarmament, and the nuclear threat, but also on racism, adult education, women’s rights and women’s voices. In 1971, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she helped create an organization of community groups, Movement for Citizens’ Voice and Action (MOVE), which focused on issues of education, housing social assistance and municipal planning, and she was the director or MOVE for two years.
She was also a founding member of Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW) and served as CRIAW’s President from 1979 to 1980. In 1974 and 1978 she was the first woman candidate for the Nova Scotia Legislature, running for the NDP. Later in life, she helped start, and performed with, the Nova Scotia Raging Grannies, singing songs for peace and social justice.
Muriel gained many awards and recognition for her lifetime of activism. In addition to 10 honorary degrees, she received the Order of Canada, the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case and the Pearson Medal of Peace. In celebration of her 100th birthday, Oxfam Canada established the Jack and Muriel Duckworth Fund for Active Global Citizenship in recognition of Muriel and her late husband’s leadership in working for social justice. In 2009, Muriel was awarded a posthumous Order of Nova Scotia.
Inspired by her mother’s can-do attitude and social activism, grieving the loss through war of her brother, overcoming her own discomfort with speaking publicly, being compelled to action by her strong belief that women’s voices for peace must be heard, enduring being disrespected because she was a women, demonstrating in public when that was unheard of, speaking her mind on every social and political aspect of creating peace, advocating for women to be represented in decision-making bodies, letting go of paid employment to devote herself to the Voice of Women, watching internal Voice of Women disagreements over how much the group should oppose government policies, researching international situations, organizing rallies, vigils, teach-ins, feeling united with others working for peace, Muriel always possessed the beautiful quality of connection to others. She was a respectful listener, a believer that women coming together could resolve their differences, the weaver of a web that held women together. She was a great inspiration and organizer. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Nova Scotia Voice of Women members felt she was their mother, grandmother, favourite aunt, best friend. When she would ask you to give of yourself to peace, and she did, how could you say no?
Muriel Duckworth passed away in 2009, at the age of 100. It is now up to us to continue her activism.
The Anne Goodman Award for Peace Education
Dr. Anne Goodman (1950 – 2013) Anne was a long-time member and volunteer with Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. Anne was president and co-founder of InterChange: International Institute for Community-Based Peacebuilding, which collaborates on educational and research projects with like-minded activists around the world. She taught at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), in the department of adult education and community development; she directed a graduate certificate in community healing and peacebuilding; and she was co-director of the university’s Transformative Learning Centre, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. She also taught in the Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster university.
Anne developed a ‘Culture of Peace’ workshop and facilitated many presentations for VOW members. Anne co-founded Voice of Somali Women for Peace, Reconciliation and Political Rights, developed workshops called Peace Begins at Home for a Somali mother’s group in Toronto and was a board member with Peacebuilders International. Anne’s commitment to peacebuilding took her to Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Slovakia, Israel, Croatia and other countries. Anne’s view was that transformative learning involves experiencing a deep, structural shift in thought, feelings and actions – and building strong relationships with each other.
Early in her career, she worked as a research assistant for physicist and activist Dr. Ursula Franklin and Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. Anne believed that by working together we can create that culture of peace of which we dream. She was committed to peace education and we name this award in her honour.
Kim Phúc Youth Award
“We would not have war at all if everyone could learn how to live with true love, hope and forgiveness,” says Kim Phúc, honorary VOW board member and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Culture of Peace. Phúc (born April 2, 1963) is the inspiring nine-year-old in the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken during the Vietnam War on June 8, 1972. The photo taken by AP’s Nick Ut shows her running naked on a road after being severely burned on her back by a South Vietnamese attack.
Phúc travelled from Vietnam to Cuba and finally settled in Canada in 1992. She established the first Kim Phúc in the US, with the aim of providing medical and psychological assistance to child victims of war. Later other foundations were set up, with the same name, under an umbrella organization, Kim Phúc Foundation International to help heal the wounds suffered by innocent children and restore hope and happiness to their lives.
Compassion and love helped Phúc to heal and she learnt and teaches how to be “strong in the face of pain.” Toronto resident, and Canadian citizen, Phúc speaks around the world inspiring people to advocate and work for peace. She is a recipient of the Queen’s Gold Jubilee Medal and 2004 “Order of Ontario.”
Inspired by Phúc’s extraordinary work, the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace is pleased to award a youth peace activist for her peace-building efforts.
Past Award Winners
In 2016, five outstanding women were given awards. click here to read more
In 2015, five outstanding women were given awards. click here to read more
In 2014, four outstanding women were given awards. Click here to read more 2014