Fonds 1750 - Science for Peace (Toronto, Ont.) fonds

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UTA 1750


Science for Peace (Toronto, Ont.) fonds


  • 1961-2013, predominant 1981-2013 (Creation)

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5.1 m of textual records (14 boxes)

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Science for Peace is a registered charity concerned with issues relating to human security, including world peace, environmental and social justice. The national office is based at the University of Toronto’s University College with local chapters across Canada. For further information, see the Science for Peace website.

Science for Peace was founded in 1981 by University of Toronto faculty members led by professor of physics, Eric Fawcett. The founding group also included mathematical psychologist Anatol Rapoport, nuclear physicist Derek Paul, chemistry Nobel Laureate John Polanyi, and mathematician, L. Terrell Gardner, amongst others. Motivated by the threat of nuclear war and the arms race, their objective was to “encourage scientific activities directed towards peace, and to urge the publication and dissemination of the findings of peace research.”[1] Science for Peace traces its origins to a committee created by Fawcett in 1980 called “The Committee for Directing Science Toward Peace.”[2] The objective of this committee was to prepare a paper for presentation at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s first Canadian conference, held in Toronto in 1981. Following the conference, the committee continued to meet and became Science for Peace, achieving charitable status in 1984. Membership grew rapidly.
One goal of Science for Peace in its early years was the establishment of peace studies as a field of study at the University of Toronto. As a result of their efforts, a Chair of Peace Studies was established at University College. Anatol Rapoport was appointed the first professor of peace studies in 1984 initiating what became an interdisciplinary four-year degree program, coordinated by L. Terrell Gardner. The program evolved into the Peace, Conflict and Justice program at the Trudeau Centre for Peace, Conflict and Justice. Rapoport was elected president of Science for Peace in 1984 and remained on its executive until 1998. His wife, Gwen Rapoport, did administrative work for the organization and edited its newsletter. Other notable Science for Peace members over the years include Lynn Trainor, George Ignatieff, Ian Hacking, Hanna Newcombe, Ursula Franklin, David Suzuki, John E. Dove, John P. Valleau, E.J. Barbeau, Brydon Gombay and John Tuzo Wilson, amongst many others.

Other educational activities of Science for Peace include the Science for Peace Seminars organized by Eric Fawcett and Myriam Fernandez in fall 1981. The seminars provided education about peace-related topics by local experts. In 1982, George Ignatieff (then Chancellor of the University) established a series of free lectures: the University College Lectures in Peace Studies. These were later combined with the seminars to form the Science for Peace Public Lectures, supported by other peace-related groups and reaching a wider audience, both in person and via broadcast on CIUT-FM’s “Peacetide” and excerpts in “Peace” magazine, edited since 1985 by University of Toronto sociologist and Science for Peace executive member Metta Spencer.

While the initial focus of Science for Peace was on the nuclear threat, by the late 1980s it had broadened to include the environmental crisis and the potential harms attendant on the move towards corporate globalisation. Membership expanded beyond University of Toronto faculty to include students and members of the public in all disciplines and professions across Canada.

Additional activities of Science for Peace and its membership since its formation in 1981 include the following: various teaching activities; publication of academic research and regular bulletins; organization of working groups, petitions, workshops and conferences in Canada; attendance at national and international peace conferences and events, including the Pugwash Conferences and events related to the Science for Peace International Network (SPIN). On occasion, members of the organization have acted in a consultative capacity to the Canadian government in matters relating to peace and disarmament and have been recognized both nationally and internationally for their contributions to world peace.

[1] Alton, Janis, Eric Fawcett and L. Terrell Gardner. “The Objectives of Science for Peace” in The Name of the Chamber was Peace: A selection of the Science for Peace public lectures and University College lectures in peace studies Toronto, 1986. Toronto and Fort Myers: Samuel Stevens and Company, 1988.
[2] Paul, Derek. “Reflections on the Origins of SfP by one of its founders: Derek Paul interview 2020.” Audio interview, 2020, accessed at the Science for Peace "About Us" page.

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Administrative files of Science for Peace, a registered charity founded in 1981 by University of Toronto faculty concerned with world peace and environmental and social justice. Fonds consists of four (4) accessions:
-B2010-0017: meeting minutes of the Board and committees; correspondence subject files including those relating to the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI); annual general meeting files; membership; fundraising; financial records; newsletters. (6 boxes, 1981-2000)
-B2012-0019: records of the Board, office correspondence, membership records, reports and briefings, financial records, event files, working group reports, and records relating to the establishment of the Peace Studies program and the Chair of Peace Studies. (5 boxes, [ca. 1981]-2007)
-B2013-0004: Science for Peace General and Administration, member list (1997-1998); Chair of Peace Studies (1981-1987); UC Peace Studies (1983-2013); Individuals correspondence and writings (1961-2001); Inter-University Workshop on Peace Education (1983-1989); Other Peace Studies Programmes (1984-1988); Pugwash (1999-2002); Eric Fawcett Memorial, (1997-2003). (2 boxes, 1961-2013, predominant 1981-2013)
-B2017-0023: General publicity material for Science for Peace as well as documents related to the creation of the Chair of Peace Studies position at the University of Toronto. Records include newsletters, bulletins, correspondence, memoranda, and proposals. (1 box, 1980-1991)

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Added to AtoM by Emily Sommers, Nov. 2016




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