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The Pearson Peace Medal

Every year, the United Nations Association in Canada honours a Canadian for his or her outstanding contributions to peace and prosperity around the world.

Know a Canadian who you believe has contributed significantly to international peace through their work or other volunteer activities? Consider nominating them for the Pearson Peace Medal!

Nominations for the 2023 Pearson Peace Medal are closed

2022 Pearson Peace Medal winner, Prof John McGarry. 


The Pearson Peace Medal

Each year, the United Nations Association in Canada awards the Pearson Peace Medal to a Canadian who has made an outstanding contribution, either in a professional capacity or through volunteer work, to those causes for which Lester B. Pearson is remembered: aid to the developing world; mediation where conflicts arise; assistance to refugees and populations in need; equal rights and justice for all; peaceful change through international law and multilateralism.


The first recipient of the Pearson Peace Medal was Paul-Émile Cardinal Léger in 1979 who, after many years as Archbishop of Montréal, spent the latter part of his life working as a missionary in the most impoverished regions of Cameroon, particularly in leprosy communities. Other distinguished recipients include E.L.M. (Tommy) Burns, Lois Wilson, Murray Thomson, Flora MacDonald, Ursula Franklin,  Roméo D'Allaire, Ernie Regehr, Donald Ethell, Nigel Fisher, Louise Arbour, Lloyd Axworthy, Wilton Littlechild and Beverley McLachlin. 

UNA-Canada is pleased to announce the presentation of the 2022 Pearson Peace Medal to Dr. John McGarry, OC  FRSC:

A jury of eminent Canadians reviews the nominations and selects the Laureate. The Pearson Peace Medal is often presented by the Governor General of Canada as our Honourary Patron at a private ceremony held around UN Day (October 24) or another significant United Nations Day.




Any Canadian may nominate a fellow citizen for this prestigious national award (self-nominations are not accepted). In order to reach its decision, the jury requires:

  • A letter outlining the reasons for the nomination

  • Two additional letters of support

  • The nominee’s curriculum vitae.


Nominations for the 2024 Pearson Peace Medal will open later in 2024.


The Pearson Peace Medal Jury

United Nations Association in Canada

205 – 280 Albert Street

Ottawa  ON  K1P 5G8



For further information, please contact:

Joan Broughton, Information Officer

613.232.5751  ext. 230

The medal was first awarded in 1979 to Paul-Émile Cardinal Léger. Cardinal Léger resigned in 1967 after years of service as Archbishop of Montréal to work with the poor and handicapped in West Africa. He built a rehabilitation centre for handicapped children, a refuge for lepers, a clinic for the world poor, a housekeeping school for young women, a home for the elderly and a home for widows. In August of 1979, he returned home to aid in the resettlement of Asian refugees in this country.

The Honourable Flora MacDonald, 2000
The Honourable Flora MacDonald


Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire
Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire


The Honourable Louise Arbour
The Honourable Louise Arbour


Order the "Profile in Humanitarian Courage: Laureates of the Pearson Peace Medal" Book today!

Interested in learning more about history, humanitarian work and the Canadian heroes involved?  Patricia Pearson has crafted a collection of warm, uplifting stories to honour our first thirty laureates. The  United Nations Association in Canada is proud to share these stories to acknowledge the great humanitarians who have made Canada and the world better.


For a donation of $35.00 or more, you will receive this beautiful record of Canadian contributions to Lester B. Pearson's lasting legacy. Contact to order you book!

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