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Peace Studies Endowed at University of Toronto

George Ignatieff was Chancellor of the University of Toronto in 1981 when Science for Peace was founded by a few members of its faculty. Fastidious in keeping separated the ceremonial prestige of his office and the effervescent, critical exercise of his intellect, George never allowed the Chancellorship to encumber the man. His affection for the very concept of Science for Peace, and his personal support for our goal of creating a Chair of Peace Studies in the University of Toronto were immediate and vehement. We could not move fast enough to satisfy him.

Before 1981 was done, University College, guided with forceful grace by Peter Richardson, was side-by-side with Science for Peace in the Chair of Peace Studies effort, and by March 1982 was authorized by the University to seek endowment funds for the Chair.

Science for Peace had conversations with Anatol Rapoport, whose enthusiasm for the proposed Chair led him to commit himself to becoming a bridge between the dearth of activity we perceived at the University at the time and the endowed, permanent vigour we were striving for in peace studies. When in 1984 his term as Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna was completed, he volunteered his immense powers to become both generator and locomotive for a new Program in Peace and Conflict Studies in University College. Rapoport also served as President of Science for Peace, 1984-86, to be succeeded by George Ignatieff, 1986-1988.

By 1988-90, it appeared that the endowment fund for the Chair was well started, and its consummation secure. Most of us in SfP were lulled into inactivity. Then there were unsettling rumours: disaffection of some putative major donors on account of sloth in the fund’s growth; then, for a long time, nothing.

Professor Lynd Ferguson of the Department of Philosophy became Principal of University College in 1989, worked hard and uttered no rumours. Early in May, 1996, many of us were taken by surprise, as well as delighted, to be invited to “ … a reception to celebrate the establishment of THE GEORGE IGNATIEFF CHAIR in Peace and Conflict Studies, Monday, May 13, 1996, … East Hall University College.”

The George Ignatieff Professor-designate is Franklyn Griffiths, distinguished political scientist, restlessly creative thinker, demanding and popular teacher, and member of Science for Peace, known to many of us as editor of Arctic Alternatives: Civility or Militarism in the Circumpolar North (Science for Peace/Samuel Stevens, 1992).

Science for Peace congratulates the College and welcomes Frank in his new role.

Terry Gardner and Eric Fawcett plan to write a fuller account of the genesis of this Chair, naming more names, thanking many, and critically assessing much. If you have relevant information, please let us know.

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