June 24, 2019

Press Release PDF

Two Physicians, Mary-Wynne Ashford and Jonathan Down
2019 CNWC Award Winners for Nuclear Disarmament Teaching

Two West Coast physicians, Mary-Wynne Ashford and Jonathan Down, will receive the Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention (CNWC) 2019 Distinguished Achievement Award for their teaching on the medical and humanitarian consequences of nuclear war.

The two doctors, who reside in Victoria, B.C., formed a team in 2017 to give joint presentations to inform and energize students in classrooms on Vancouver Island, encouraging them to become involved in nuclear disarmament activities.
“Their teamwork approach is innovative and productive and worthy of being emulated throughout Canada,” said Ernie Regehr, CNWC Chairman. “We are giving this award to recognize them and also encourage similar programs across Canada to help young people understand the gravity of the nuclear weapons problem and how they can participate in nuclear disarmament groups.”

Dr. Ashford is a retired family physician and former Co-President of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. She was a high school chemistry and English teacher before studying medicine. Her book, Enough Blood Shed: 101 Solutions to Violence, Terror, and War, has been translated into Japanese and Korean.

Dr. Down is a developmental paediatrician, a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. He is the incoming President of Physicians for Global Survival and a charter member of the Vancouver Island Peace and Disarmament Network.

Sandy Webster Worthy, former Curriculum Coordinator for Victoria Public Schools, in whose high school class Drs. Ashford and Down have appeared, described how students become “energized” on hearing the two doctors. “At first, they sit in stunned silence,” she said, “and then it’s like they want to pick up a torch and get activities going in their schools.” Another teacher, Mark Neufeld, who teaches global issues classes to high school students, said the Ashford-Down presentations were “remarkable” in helping young people grasp the realities of the threat to their existence.

The award will be presented to Drs. Ashford and Down September 26 at 6 pm at a reception at the Cartier Place Hotel, Ottawa.
Previous recipients of the CNWC Achievement Award are:

2011   Murray Thomson
2012   Bev Delong
2013   Fergus Watt
2014   Adele Buckley
2015   Paul Dewar
2016   Peggy Mason
2017   Metta Spencer
2018   Debbie Grisdale.
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