Canada has many illustrious leaders, academics, and change makers. One of them, Lester B. Pearson, is someone many of us grew up learning about, and 2017 is the 60th anniversary of his Nobel Peace Prize. He was a Prime Minister, statesman, and creator of the first United Nations peace keeping force. The Lester B Pearson College here in Metchosin is celebrating this 60th anniversary throughout 2017. More information can be found at: https://www.pearsoncollege.ca/lbp60/.
“How can there be peace without people understanding each other; and how can this be if they don’t know each other?” asked Lester B. Pearson in his Nobel peace lecture on the 11th of December in 1957. This former Canadian Prime Minister well understood that we are stronger when we stand together and strive to foster peace for everyone on a global basis.
Central to that idea of international peace is education, and this is embodied in the Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific and United World Colleges. Established in 1974, the college is based on a beautiful forested campus that hugs Pedder Bay on the traditional territory of the Scia’new First Nation in Metchosin, the constituency I represent. The college is the steward of the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve and can offer overnight team-building trips on the lighthouse out at sea.
Up to 200 students at any time, aged 16 to 19, live and learn together on the campus. The students come from British Columbia and across Canada, as well as countries across the globe, including students who are refugees or are displaced due to conflict, poverty or other causes.
The extra-curricular program includes education in reconciliation, respect for the environment, volunteering, community work and conflict resolution. Attending the college prepares the students for enlightened leadership in a global context.
Their alumni include human rights advocators, politicians, public servants, business leaders, writers, physicians, etc. — all making a peaceful and sustainable difference in the world. And 2017 is the 60th anniversary year of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Lester B. Pearson. I ask you all to congratulate the college, all of its staff and its students.