2016 Award Winners

Social Courage Award: Virgil Seymour, Arrow Lakes Facilitator, was a deeply committed to establishing and strengthening relationships between the Sinixt people and organizations and institutions in Canada. He was deeply committed to ensuring that Sinixt people, who largely now reside in the US and have been declared extinct by the Canadian government, were included in matters pertaining to the Upper Columbia river, including traditional ways of life, history and the land. During his time as the Arrow Lakes Facilitator, Virgil’s kindness and genuine interest in building relationships as the Arrow Lakes facilitator brought together countless people, and created many new relationships. He helped create space for dialogue and understanding where it did not exist before. He shared so much and empowered others to walk in a good way.

Peace Educator/Scholar Award: JJ Verigin is the Executive Director of the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ (Doukhobors). As the leader of the Doukhbobors, a pacifist Christian sect, JJ has spent his adult life as a community leader, educator and activist. His work has included leadership roles with the Kootenay Regional United Nations Association, Selkirk College, the Mir Centre for Peace and far beyond the region. In the 1980’s JJ worked as a disarmament advocate in New York City – working closely with others to lobby United Nations departments on issues of peace and social justice.

Next Generation Peacemaker Award: Htoo Paw came to Canada in 2012 as a refugee, having spent her youth in a refugee camp for Karen refugees along the Thai-Burmese border. Htoo Paw had become involved in in women’s rights issues as a youth and later became involved in the political struggle for Karen rights I Burma’s ongoing civil war. After coming to Canada, she studied Peace Studies at Selkirk College, later continuing at Canadian Mennonite University, and currently pursuing the Master of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding at Royal Roads University. Since 2012, Htoo Paw has been participating in the peace negotiation process by providing technical support to Karen leaders. During her summers she returned to the refugee camps and reconnected with the political wing of the Karen movement, and worked with leaders to explore the incorporation of transformative justice principles in the future negotiations between the parties of the Burmese civil war.

The Howard Zinn Lifetime Achievement Award: Sandra Moran began working as a grass roots community activists as a young woman during Guatemala’s notorious civil war. Her activism led to death threats which necessitated her to flee to Mexico and Canada, where she continued her work in exile. Sandra returned to Guatemala shortly before the civil war ended and continued her work for rights for indigenous and women’s rights. In Guatemala’s last election, Sandra was elected to the Guatemalan Congress as its first openly gay and openly feminist member.