Commencing November 11, 2000, the Canadian Peace Hall of Fame (CPHF) honors people and institutions who represent the best in the peacebuilding profession. The Hall of Fame exists to recognize the prominent and the unsung heroes of our country - the people who influence our most worthwhile cause, Peace.  Initially, as a virtual Hall of Fame, the web site will provide you with information about the Canadian Peace Hall of Fame's members.  The goal of recognizing exemplary peacebuilding is to be accomplished through honor, recognition and building awareness. 

Peace Hall of Fame Inductee November 11, 2000 - Hon. Lester B. Pearson 1897 - 1972
Lester Pearson is regarded by many as the father of modern peacekeeping.  Canadian statesman and prime minister (1963--8), born in Newtonbrook, Ontario, Canada. He studied at Toronto and Oxford universities, and was leader of the Canadian delegation to the UN, becoming president of the General Assembly (1952--3). Minister of external affairs (1948--57), his efforts to resolve the Suez Crisis were rewarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957. Mr. Pearson is the only Canadian ever to win a Nobel Peace Prize.  As Liberal prime minister, he introduced a comprehensive pension plan, socialized medicine, and the maple-leaf flag.

Pearson believed that Canada had a responsibility and indeed, a vital national interest, in active participation in any international activity that would lessen the chances of another world war. As such, Pearson was a strong advocate of the UN’s role in peacekeeping and in strong Canadian involvement in UN peacekeeping operations. As well, he was actively involved in negotiations that led to the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949. Through his involvement in early UN conflict solving, both he and Canada emerged with distinction.  By not condemning, isolating or antagonizing the States involved, Pearson was able to end the Suez crisis in 1956 through the United Nations by the creation of an international police force which would separate the combatants; would end the immediate fighting; and would allow the UK and France to withdraw from the crisis with a minimum loss of face and before being formally condemned by the UN.

[Photo of Nobel Peace Prize Medal]In 1957, Pearson’s remarkable diplomatic achievements in peacebuilding, and in particular in resolving the crisis of Suez through the establishment of a UN Emergency Force, was recognized and honoured with the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize. In his presentation speech, Dr. Gunnar Jahn, Chairman of the Nobel Committee emphasized that "the Peace Prize has not been awarded to the politician or to the secretary of state as such, but to the man Lester Pearson because of his personal qualities -- the powerful initiative, strength and perseverance he has displayed in attempting to prevent or limit war operations and to restore peace in situations where quick, tactful, and wise action has been necessary to prevent unrest from spreading and developing into a worldwide conflagration."

Further information: 
The Four Faces of Peace: The Honourable Lester Bowles Pearson’s Acceptance Speech Upon Presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957
Pearson biography

Peace Hall of Fame Inductee November 11, 2001 - John Peters Humphrey 1905 - 1995

The principal author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a native of New Brunswick, John Peters Humphrey. He wrote the first draft of what eventually became perhaps the most important human rights document in history.  The Declaration was unanimously passed by the United Nations' General Assembly on December 10, 1948. To mark this milestone, December 10 is recognized worldwide as Human Rights Day. In 1998, special events were held throughout the world to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration.

John Humphrey

John Humphrey was born in Hampton, NB and went to school in Rothesay, NB. John did not have an easy childhood. His father died before John was one year old and his mother when he was eleven. His left arm was amputated when he was six because of a severe burn. Undeterred by these handicaps, John Humphrey pursued his studies at Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB and then at McGill University in Montreal. He earned four degrees at McGill and later became a professor and dean of law.

In 1946, Humphrey was asked to set up the UN's Division for Human Rights, of which he became the Director. In this capacity, he prepared a 400 page background paper for the proposed Universal Declaration and wrote its first draft in 1947. After further drafts and revisions by various UN officials and committees, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN in 1948. Humphrey was Director of the Human Rights Division until 1966.

Humphrey then returned to McGill, where he devoted himself to human rights teaching and advocacy. He was the founding president of the Canadian Section of the International Commission of Jurists and he helped establish Amnesty International Canada and the Canadian Human Rights Foundation.

Humphrey authored numerous articles and several books. He received 13 honorary degrees and, in 1974, was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. In his honour, the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development established the $25,000 John Humphrey Freedom Award, which is presented each year. Humphrey died in 1995 in Montreal. Canada Post issued a stamp in his honour in October 1998.

References -

By His Hand, an excellent documentary produced on John Humphrey's contribution to the Universal Declaration in 1991 by Through the Lens Inc.  Current distributor: Omega Films Limited 
John Humphrey: Address to the U.N.G.A. on 35th Anniversary of Universal Declaration
John Humphrey: Education-The Ultimate Sanction of Human Rights
(ref.  )

The following is a partial list of his publications:

- Humphrey, John Peters. On the Edge of Greatness: The Diaries of John Humphrey, First Director of the United Nations Human Rights Division, Vol I 1948-1949 by A.J. Hobbins (Editor) (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1994). ISBN: 0773513833
- Humphrey, John Peters. On the Edge of Greatness: The Diaries of John Humphrey, First Director of the United Nations Division of Human Rights 1950-1951, Volume 2. (Fontanus Monographs by A.J. Hobbins (Editor) (Montreal and Kingston: McGill Queen’s University Press, 1996). ISBN: 0773514546
- Humphrey, John Peters. On the Edge of Greatness: The Diaries of John Humphrey, First Director of the United Nations Human Rights Division, Volume III, 1952-1957 by A.J. Hobbins (Editor) (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1997). ISBN: 0773514562
- Humphrey, John P. No Distant Millennium: The International Law of Human Rights. (Paris: UNESCO, 1989).
- Humphrey, John P. and Nash, Alan E., Institute for Research on Public Policy and Canadian Human Rights Foundation. Human Rights and the Protection of Refugees Under International Law. Proceedings of a Conference held in Montreal, November 29-December 2, 1987. (Montreal, Quebec and Halifax N.S: Canadian Human Rights Foundation and Institute for Research on Public Policy, c1988)
- Humphrey, John P. Human Rights & the United Nations: A Great Adventure. (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y: Transnational Publishers, c1984)
- Humphrey. John P. and Macdonald, R. St. J. The Practice of Freedom: Canadian Essays on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. (Toronto: Butterworths, c1979).
- Humphrey, John P. Florence Bird, and Jacques Henripin, Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada. (Canada. Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada, 1970).
- Humphrey, John Peters. The United Nations and Human Rights. Series: Behind the Headlines, V.23, No.1. (Toronto: Published for the Canadian Institute of International Affairs by the Baxter Pub. Co., 1963).
- Humphrey, John P. The Inter-American System: A Canadian View. (Toronto: Macmillan Company of Canada, 1942).

A Partial Bibliographical listing may be found in:

Wiktor, Christian L. Canadian Bibliography of International Law 714 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984).

Biographical Statements on this great Canadian are in:

- Macdonald, R. St. J. "Leadership in Law: John P. Humphrey and the Development of the International Law of Human Rights," The Canadian Yearbook of International Law, XXIX (1991), 3-91.
- Humphrey, John Peters. On the Edge of Greatness: The Diaries of John Humphrey, First Director of the United Nations Human Rights Division, Vol. 1. 1948-1949. A.J. Hobbins (Editor) (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1994), 11-22.

Peace Hall of Fame Inductee November 11, 2002 - William Epstein 1913 - 2001
     During 2001, the global community lost one of its long-time champions with the death of William Epstein, a Canadian. He was 88 when he died.  Epstein was one of the first UN staff members. He worked with the preparatory commission planning the organization in London in 1945, joined the secretariat in 1946 and worked with Ralph Bunche on the Special Committee on Palestine in the months leading up to the proclamation of the state of Israel. He then moved to disarmament - and that remained his passion for the rest of his life. As Director of the UN Disarmement Division he was involved with such negotiaitons as the Partial Test-Ban Treaty (1963), the Seabed Arms Control Treaty (1971) the Nonproliferation Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention and the Treaty of Tlateloco, to name only some of his areas of contribution.  He officially retired in 1972 but continued as a senior fellow with UNITAR and as a disarmement and arms control consultant to the secretary general.  He was Canadian, recognized for his accomplishments with membership in the Order of Canada.  Following is the statement of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, delivered on his behalf by Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala, at a memorial service for William Epstein in New York on 14 February, 2001:  "I learned with great regret of the passing of Bill Epstein, a former staff member and a man who was well known to all seven Secretaries-General of the United Nations.   He was indisputably one of the world's leading advocates of global nuclear disarmament, having devoted both his entire professional career and his long retirement to this noble cause.  He will perhaps best be remembered for his important contributions to the negotiation of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean and for his long advocacy of a Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, the subject of his celebrated book, The Last Chance.  Though his long-standing goal remains to be achieved, his efforts will surely inspire others to carry on his work."  Read an excellent article on William Epstein at


For more information about the Canadian Peace Awards and Hall of Fame (and to submit your nominations) - contact Robert Stewart, C.A., C.M.C., Director, Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace at stewartr [at]; (telephone - 403-461-2469; fax - 309-407-6576; mail - Box 70, Okotoks, Alberta, Canada T1S 1A4; web site - )