University of Alberta University of Alberta education professor, Swee-Hin Toh, '74 MEd, '80 PhD is the winner of the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education for the year 2000. This international honour was recently presented to Toh in recognition of his pioneering work in promoting peace education in many different countries including Uganda, South Africa, Jamaica, Japan, the U.S.A., and — in particular — the Philippines, where his humanitarian efforts in Mindanao have helped ease conflicts among Muslims, Christians, and the Philippine army.
"Joyful," is the word Toh uses to express how he felt when he was told by the Filipino educators who nominated him that he had won the prize. "I share the honour of this award with all the educators that I have collaborated with over the years," he says humbly. He adds that the significance of this award is great because it sends out a message to the world that peace education is important. And with that in mind, Toh says, in the future, he hopes he can go to places where he has not been before to promote peace education.
The prize, which is awarded annually by the United Nations, recognizes long-standing contributions to education in peace-related fields. Among its previous recipients are Nobel Peace Prize laureates Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Rigoberto Menchu Tum of Guatemala as well as groups such as the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
According to Carolyn Yewchuck, '72 PhD, an associate dean in the University's Faculty of Education, for an academic to win this award is extraordinary. "It is perhaps one of the highest honours someone at the U of A has ever received."
Published Winter 2000/01.