Honorary degree citation - Muriel H. Duckworth*
By: Elaine B. Newman, June 1983
Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Muriel Duckworth, a peace activist, a person who has dedicated her life to the goal of peace in our recalcitrant world.
A vision of peace, allowing a full development of the potential of all human beings has led Muriel Duckworth to a life in the peace movement, a life of concern for th rights of women, minorities, native people, citizens of the poorer areas of our globe, indeed all humanity. A member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation in the thirties, she was on the board of the Voice of Women for many years and its president from 1967-71. She served on the national board of UNICEF and OXFAM for many years; was a founding member of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, and its president in 1979-80; worked towards two special disarmament sessions at the United Nations, one in 1979 and the other in 1982 where she presented the only Canadian contribution, a petition for peace signed by 125,000 Canadian women. She was a delegate at two United Nations conferences on women, in Mexico City for International Women's Year in 1974, representing the Voice of Women, and in Copenhagen in 1980 - in both cases as a delegate not to the official conference of talkers, but to the counter-conference of doers. The Canadian government took some note of this by awarding her the Governor General's Person Case award in 1980.
Muriel Duckworth's public career has been frequently recounted. I would like to tell you also what she has meant to all of us who have been privileged to know her. She has, by her example, shown us that peace is a possible goal, that life can be lived with honour, that every testimony we make and every placard we carry enriches our community and ourselves, and that every action we take can and must be scrutinized with a sense of honesty and justice.
The goal of the university, as I understand it, is to encourage its students to develop their minds and characters so as to live as autonomous, inquiring, honorable and effective human beings, so that they can decide what needs to be done to improve our world, and have the courage to actually try and do it. It is one of the great pleasures of my life to make this citation today in honour of one of Canada's best examples of what we would like our education to produce.
Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of the University Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, it is a privilege, and a joy, to present to you Muriel Duckworth, so that you may confer 'on her the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.