Most Reverend Georges-Henri Lévesque
Most Reverend Georges-Henri Lévesque is the recipient of the 1983 Pearson Peace Medal. The Pearson Peace Medal was established five years ago by the United Nations Association in Canada to honour, in Lester B. Pearson’s name, Canadians who have made an outstanding contribution to international understanding and cooperation. Previous winners include: Cardinal Paul-Émile Léger in 1979; J. King Gordon in 1980; Lt-Gen. E.L.M. burns in 1981; Hugh Keenleyside in 1982.
Father Lévesque was ordained as a Dominican priest in 1928.He was a professor of Social Philosophy at the Dominican College in Ottawa between 1933 and 1938,and subsequently at theUniversity of Montréal and at Laval. Between 1938 and 1963 Father Lévesque was associated with Laval University, first as a professor of Economics and Philosophy, and later as Director and then Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. He was the Recto of Montmorency House between 1955 and 1963.
In 1963, Father Lévesque founded and then became the first President of the National University of Rwanda, Africa, a post he held until 1971. Since that time he has been the honorary president and advisor to the University. Father Lévesque has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada since 1949. He was appointed as a Companion to the Order of Canada in 1979, and in 1982 was the recipient of the Royal Bank Award.
Father Lévesque addressed attendants to the United Nations Day Banquet in Ottawa on October 24, 1983. “Peace! Despite all the battles in which I engaged in my lifetime, I always remained a man of peace. I have searched for peace as much as I have pursued happiness, like all of you probably, like any normal being. Here, I have just naturally associated peace and happiness, Aren’t they both inseparable? Essentially imbricated? Without peace, happiness is impossible. And the reverse is true. We must search for the one as we pursue the other, Peace and happiness, two paramount realities, nearly transcendental, but so rarely accessible. Two realities towards which our human lives are nevertheless aimed intensely and fundamentally but so hard to attain and even then, only occasionally temporarily and locally.”
He passed away in January 2000.