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83.23. President's Report 1982-83

(June 15)

This has been a good year for Science for Peace. We have grown in numbers, but more significantly we have developed into a truly national society. Three Chapters have been formed. The first in British Columbia, has been followed by those of Waterloo Region and New Brunswick. Reports from these Chapters are given elsewhere in the Bulletin, sections 83.24/25/26.

Your Executive Committee has recently drafted guidelines for the operation of Science for Peace. These define the relation between the Chapters and the national centre, at present in Toronto, within a structure which provides for financial accountability. The guidelines call for restructuring the Board of Directors and forming an Advisory Council. We shall be seeking approval of the members for these changes in the operation of Science for Peace at the next annual general meeting. The emphasis in developing the guidelines has been to facilitate achievement of the main objective of Science for Peace: “to conduct and encourage educational and research activities relating to the dangers of war waged with weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons”.

Our educational activities have included those reported by the regional Chapters as well as a weekly seminar series at Toronto. These seminars include talks by members of Science for Peace, by outside speakers from institutes of strategic studies and from other groups, and by academics from various departments of the university. A speakers bureau based on this seminar series is being developed, which will provide expert speakers for radio and TV as well as schools, riding associations and peace and disarmament groups, among others.

Progress is being made towards funding the Chair of Peace Studies at the University of Toronto. A Board of Reference for the Chair has been assembled: forty outstanding Canadians including academics, writers, religious leaders and political leaders, who have lent their names in support of the endeavour. As an interim measure, the University College Lectures in Peace Studies have been launched with a stellar roster of speakers in 1982-83 (see section 83.27 of this Bulletin).

The theme of the Convocation of November 11, 1982, was: Solutions to the Nuclear Arms Race. The organization, United Campuses to Prevent Nuclear War, arranged to provide educational material to campuses across North America for this occasion. At Toronto Science for Peace collaborated with several student groups in arranging slide shows and displays around the campus, as well as the keynote address by Bernard Wood, Director of the North-South Institute.

Science for Peace chose the theme: Jobs with Peace, for its main activity at Toronto during United Nations Disarmament Week, the last week in October.

We attempted, with little success, to engage trade union participation in the events. Speakers included Mel Watkins (Science for Peace), Hon Walter Gordon, Paula Rayman (Brandon University), Paul Murphy (Council for Economic Priorities), Tom Joyce (Cruise Missile Conversion Project) and Ernie Regehr (Project Ploughshares).

The B.C. Chapter of Science for Peace embarked from the start on an ambitious programme of research activities. They have formed several working groups to research various topics, one of which achieved spectacular success by producing an excellent report: The Cruise Missile — a Canadian Perspective. This was released in February in Vancouver City Hall, with the Mayor and members of City Council in attendance. The report has been widely distributed and we believe in particular that it has had significant impact on the decision-makers in Ottawa.

Research activities at Toronto are being directed towards “peace technologies”. These include the techniques of detection and analysis necessary to develop monitoring capabilities required for verification of treaties restricting nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Surveillance and communications provided, for example, by an International Satellite Monitoring Agency, are also important peace technologies.

This direction of research was stimulated by the preparation of a research proposal entitled: Towards International Security — a study linking peace-building needs to available technologies. This proposal was submitted in May by several members of Science for Peace through the University of Toronto to the Ford Foundation, which had announced a series of grants to encourage research by universities and independent research institutions on international security and arms control issues.

Your president used the opportunity provided by the meeting of the Consultative Group on Disarmament and Arms Control, held in Toronto March 15-16, to announce the development by Science for Peace of a research programme in peace technologies. The new Ambassador for Disarmament, Mr. Alan Beesley, presided at this meeting.

Members of Science for Peace at the University of British Columbia responded to the Ford announcement with a research proposal entitled: A study of the facility of an International Arms Monitoring Agency. Whether or not these proposals are funded, their preparation has given focus to the research activities of Science for Peace.

The Director of Education (Terry Gardner) and the Director of Research (Derek Paul) each reported the formation of a Committee at the Board of Directors meeting on June 15, 1983, the last before the summer break. We anticipate that these two new Committees, working with the Funding Committee (galvanised into activity when at long last Science for Peace achieves charitable status), will develop greatly in the coming year our educational and research activities. (EF)

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