The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, P.C., O.C., O.M., Ph.D.
This Award is presented to Lloyd Axworthy, an activist, a man who has been referred to as "the most distinguished Foreign Minister for Canada since Lester Pearson." He is a highly respected leading figure not only in Canada but internationally – a global statesman, an important presence – and is highly regarded for his courageous and dedicated decision-making and willingness to take a stand.
Dr. Axworthy is an ardent and forthright advocate and activist for United Nations reform, particularly in regard to the Security Council: calling for the consistent enforcement of International Law and calling for established and consistently applied criteria for military action aimed at relieving the suffering of endangered people. He can count among his achievements progress in ameliorating the conditions and protecting civilians caught in armed conflict; in protecting war-affected children and child soldiers; in curbing small arms; in the establishment of the International Criminal Court; and accomplishing, in a remarkably short time frame, the Landmines Treaty. And under his leadership, he has forged a new kind of diplomacy based on full working partnerships between governments and civil groups.
This man is deeply concerned with peace and with humans' security and is attempting to shape a new world order in which the protection and safety of the individual is the dominant concern. He is endeavouring to replace the current concept of security as military might and force with the concept – and all the actions and rules of law necessary to make the concept reality – of humans' security. Human security can be no more than an illusion as long as nuclear war strategies are the cornerstones of defence policies and nuclear arsenals exist.
Lloyd Axworthy has a long and consistent exemplary history of concern about nuclear weapons. At least 12 years ago he was an outspoken Member of Parliament calling for nuclear disarmament. And in his current position – Minister of Foreign Affairs for Canada – as an honourable man, a man of conscience, he has now taken on the most critical, difficult and complex issue in arms control and disarmament: that of nuclear weapons. In Canada he initiated the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade Hearings on Canada's nuclear weapons policy. He welcomed its report and is following the key recommendations.
At the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of NATO he called for a review of NATO's nuclear weapons policy and called again for a review of NATO nuclear weapons policy that, using his words, "reflects the next decade – not the last."
We strongly encourage him to carry the nuclear agenda further, to initiate a global dialogue with policy makers on the abolition of nuclear weapons – to continue in this area, to shape history, to lead us out of the evils of the nuclear age, in order to protect the present and future generations in the world.
Photo courtesy of the University of Winnipeg.