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A Month in the Life

As the winds of war howled early this year, here are some ways that U of T faculty, staff and students kept the dialogue going

Jan. 17: U of T chemistry professor John Polanyi receives the first Acharya Sushil Kumar Peace Award (see main story and excerpts of his speech).

Jan. 18: Ten thousand war protestors converge on U of T. The march finishes with speeches in Convocation Hall.

January-February: Science for Peace, a U of T-founded organization, fills lecture halls by hosting films on September 11, Iraq after the Gulf War and U.S. foreign policy. “We’re trying to arm people with as much information as possible,” says president Paul Hamel.

Jan. 21: St. Michael’s College holds a forum on “Iraq and the ‘Burning Bush.’” Professor Joseph Boyle of philosophy says the Iraq conflict satisfies none of the Catholic Church’s criteria for a
“just war.”

Jan. 30-Feb. 2: 550 students from across Canada attend an anti-war conference at U of T’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Participants agree to organize more anti-war groups in the
coming months.

Feb. 2-8: Peace Week includes top speakers, a multifaith service and a concert.

Feb. 3-7: Islam Awareness Week offers displays, seminars and Middle Eastern food. A Muslim engineering student says the event “gave me confidence during a time when many Muslims felt vulnerable and in the spotlight.”

Feb. 5, March 3: Trinity College continues its World of Islam lecture series. Topics include Islamic architecture, culture and human rights.

Feb. 6
: Hart House holds a debate on Iraq. As speakers argued for and against war, one student tested the middle ground: “World order is not served by military action, but genocidal monsters cannot be kept in power.”

Feb. 6: Two part-time U of T students attract 130 people to an “Evening of Engagement for Peace in the Middle East” at U of T’s Koffler Institute. The agenda includes belly dancing, Jewish songs and skits, and people from different communities discussing prejudice.

Feb. 9: Brian Mulroney kicks off a conference on anti-Semitism with a speech blasting Canada’s “disgraceful” history of intolerance. Speaking to reporters afterward, the former PM berates the Chrétien government for not siding with the U.S. and Britain against Iraq.

Feb. 22: The Muslim Students’ Association hosts a lecture by British journalist Yvonne Ridley, who was taken captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, and held for 10 days. She urges the audience to “join the biggest superpower in the world today…the anti-war movement.”

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