“How can there be peace without people understanding each other, and how can this be if they don’t know each other?”
– Lester B. Pearson, Nobel Peace Prize Lecture 1957
Pearson College UWC, originally known as Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific, was named in honour of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former Canadian Prime Minister, Lester B. Pearson.
Sixty years ago, in 1957, Mr. Pearson was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in helping create the first United Nations peacekeeping force, and defusing the 1956 Suez Crisis.
In his Nobel Prize Lecture, Mr. Pearson asked, “How can there be peace without people understanding each other, and how can this be if they don’t know each other?”
In this anniversary year, we will be honouring Mr. Pearson through various celebrations and events in the Pearson College UWC community. His vision of a West Coast international school, together with his resolute commitment to peace and global understanding, helped inspire the creation of this school which proudly bears his name.
20 April 2018 - The Seeds of a UWC in Canada are Planted
On 20 April 1968, Lester B. Pearson retired from politics when his successor, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, father of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, was sworn in as Prime Minister of Canada.
This was the beginning of a new phase in Mr. Pearson’s life during which he was at liberty to devote himself to a number of cherished pursuits that had been put aside during his political career.
He returned to academia, as chancellor of Carleton University in Ottawa and lectured there in history and political science until the fall of 1972.
He chaired the historic Pearson Commission on International Development. Its report, Partners in development: report of the Commission on International Development (New York, 1969), called for a systematic transfer of resources and attention from the rich west and north to the poor south. The so-called “Pearson Report” was the first sustained evaluation of international development assistance. It deeply influenced future debate and policy.
A long-standing love of team sports was indulged, in particular, his life-long passion for baseball, saw Mr. Pearson become an honorary board member of Major League Baseball’s Montreal Expos and In April 1969 was invited to throw the first pitch at their inaugural home game.
Most importantly for Pearson College UWC, in the summer of 1968, Mr. Pearson, and his wife, Maryon, visited Atlantic College (now UWC Atlantic College) in Wales. He came away convinced that there must be more such schools around the world and more importantly, a Canadian sister college. Mr. Pearson had long been interested in the idea of building peace through education and had been particularly impressed by the work of the NATO Defence College, led by Air Marshal Sir Lawrence Darvall who later worked with Kurt Hahn to develop that first UWC in Wales.
Canadian Colonel Robert L. Houston, who served on Sir Lawrence’s staff, had met Kurt Hahn at a NATO Conference and was greatly influenced by the founder of the UWC movement. Col. Houston played a vital role in the formation of the committee to found what was to be known as the College of the Pacific. He worked closely with Mr. Pearson, who became Honorary Chairman of the committee and was a driving force in overcoming the numerous obstacles to establishing the College.
Although he died before the College was built, Lester B. Pearson’s legacy lives on in the current students and over 4,000 alumni of Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific – Pearson College UWC — who are dedicated to his vision of international peace and thoughtful dialogue and to the mission of the UWC Movement: To make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.
18 Dec 2017 - MP Randall Garrison's statement on the occasion of the 60th Nobel Peace Prize anniversary
This Decermber we celebrate the 60th anniversary the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Lester B. Pearson. His important legacy of taking a humane approach to international relations through mutual understanding and dialogue has shaped the way that we think about working together.
It gives me great pride to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Pearson’s Nobel Peace Prize and the incredible educational experience available at Pearson College that is also part of his legacy.
Read the full statement here.
15 Dec 2017 - Celebrating a Canadian Icon & Raising Awareness - A Summary
Mr. Pearson’s strong belief in international understanding through dialogue and global education was an inspiration for the creation of Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific, or Pearson College UWC. During the 2017-18 academic year, we at the College are spearheading national recognition of this important milestone in Canadian history through a series of awareness-raising events both on and off-campus – including events in Ottawa, Victoria and Toronto.
This special occasion is not only a celebration of a towering achievement by a characteristically humble Canadian icon, it is also an important opportunity to remind Canadians and key thought leaders across this country and around the world about the unique College that bears Mr. Pearson’s imprint and takes its inspiration from him. The achievements of the College’s alumni – 4,000 strong and counting – as well as our current students, are the most powerful and longest-lasting legacy of Mr. Pearson.
Read about all the celebratory events here.
The Lester B. Pearson Legacy Project
Over the last six months, we created a digital archive of materials that are currently in the library archives, with a special focus on those that tell the story of the College’s founding and its founder, Lester B. Pearson. The librarian, alumna and resident Dani McArthur (YR6/1981, Canada), worked with current and former students, former members of staff such as Marg McAvity, the college’s first librarian and Judy Scott, former Assistant to the College Director for 30 years and an intern from the Masters in Archival Studies program at the University of British Columbia.
Read more here.
12 Dec 2017 - Statement by Senator Yuen Pau Woo on the 60th anniversary of Lester B. Pearson's Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony
Statement delivered by Senator Yuen Pau Woo on the 60th anniversary
of Lester B. Pearson’s Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Hon. Yuen Pau Woo: Honourable colleagues, yesterday marked the sixtieth anniversary of Lester B. Pearson receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. He remained the only Canadian to receive the peace prize until this year when, just two days ago, Canadian peace activist and Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow received the same honour on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Read the full statement in ENGLISH or in FRENCH.
11 Dec 2017 - Cake on Campus – and What Does Peace Mean to You?
The big day on campus was marked with a Peace Poster in the cafeteria on which students were encouraged to write their reflections on peace, international understanding and the impact of Mr. Pearson’s work on young people today. And, students being students, there was of course cake to celebrate the anniversary! That evening, students helped organize a discussion group about what peace meant for them in their lives and how they intended to positively impact their communities through peace-building.
11 Dec 2017 - 60th Anniversary Celebration of Nobel Peace Prize Award
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, in partnership with Pearson College UWC hosted a reception honouring the 60th Anniversary of the Lester B. Pearson’s Nobel Peace Prize and celebrating Mr. Pearson’s legacy on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Pearson College UWC alumnus Senator Yuen Pau Woo’s reflection on Lester B. Pearson’s legacy was published in the Vancouver Sun. Read it here.
11 Dec 2017 - Lester B Pearson and the Nobel Peace Prize 1957, by Michael Pearson
OP-ED by Michael Pearson
Sixty years ago, on December 11, 1957, Lester Pearson delivered his Nobel peace prize lecture in Oslo, Norway. He hadn’t expected to be there.
The announcement two months earlier by the all-Norwegian Nobel committee that he was the recipient for his contribution to the resolution of the Suez crisis took him by surprise. The man who some claim to have invented the blue beret in that crisis through the creation the first major United Nations peacekeeping force – called the UN Emergency Force or UNEF – was at that time a member of Canada’s political opposition. Four months earlier his Liberal Party had been defeated and out of office for the first time in 22 years. The longtime diplomat and nine-year veteran as Canada’s Secretary of State for External Affairs was out of a diplomatic job for the first time in almost 30 years.
Read the full op-ed here.
01 Dec 2017 - Speaker Series featuring Andrew Cohen
On 01 December 2017 awarding-winning journalist and and best-selling biographer of Lester B. Pearson, Andrew Cohen explored Mr. Pearson’s life and legacy.
Who was Lester B. Pearson? Why was he one of Canada’s greatest diplomats? What do we know about Canada’s 14th prime minister whose name is on schools, streets, an international airport and on an international college? Sixty years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, why does he matter in 2017?
Watch the livestream here.
17 Nov 2017 - Meet, Mingle and Magnifiy | Victoria Forum
MEET, MINGLE AND MAGNIFY
Partnering with the University of Victoria, Pearson College UWC co-hosted the opening reception of the first Victoria Forum on 17 November 2017. The Forum’s main theme of “Promoting Diversity and Inclusion” was directly aligned with the mission and purpose of the College and this was an excellent opportunity to share the Pearson mission with attendees from across Canada. After the opening remarks, Pearson students showcased their talents with moving spoken word performances and a Greenlandic Inuit Mask Dance choreographed by one of our own students.
Uajii, an Inuit entertainment dance performed by 9 of our talented students on Sila, a song by A tribe called Red and Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq.Uajii, or Mask dance in English, is one of the oldest dramatical expression among the Inuit People of Greenland and has also been used as a tool to educate and address taboos, as it plays with three main elements: fear, humour and sexuality. It is a way of dancing like the spirits Greenlandic people call Tupilak, spirits that can transform from one animal creature into another, spirits that can both help and arm.
In his spoken word “I belong here”, one of our second-year students Ali Ibrahim-Hirji from Alberta, recounts his experiences growing up in Canada. Through lots of laughs and smiles, this comedic piece opens us up to a whole new perspective on what living in Canada can be like.
Tomma Bambara, a second-year student from Burkina Faso, speaks to his experience as a student and to the power of unity and intercultural understanding in his French spoken word performance.
View pictures from the event here.
02 Nov 2017 - Pearson's 'Four Faces of Peace" - Panel Discussion
At Pearson’s The Four Faces of Peace, distinguished guests and panelists including The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Global Affairs, former Prime Minister The Right Honourable Joe Clark, PC, CC, AOE, former foreign ministers The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, PC, CC ,OM, The Honourable Bill Graham, PC, CM, QC and The Honourable Barbara Jean McDougall, PC, OC explored the enduring legacy of Nobel Peace Laureate Lester B. Pearson in the conduct of Canada’s foreign affairs on 02 November 2017 at the beautiful Isabel Bader Theatre at the Massey College in Toronto.