Top University of Waikato award for disarmament campaigner

1 September 2009
A campaigner for peace education and against nuclear weapons will be honoured at the University of Waikato on September 4.

Alyn Ware, the global co-ordinator for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, graduated from Waikato University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Education and a Diploma in Kindergarten Teaching. He is one of three alumni to be given Distinguished Alumni Awards this Friday September 4 at a university function hosted by the Chancellor, former Prime Minister Jim Bolger, and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Roy Crawford.

The university's distinguished alumni awards are made each year to no more than three people. They recognise and celebrate Waikato University alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to their profession, to the community, to the arts or sport, or to more than one of these areas since graduation from Waikato University. The other two recipients this year are EEO Commissioner Dr Judy McGregor, and celebrity chef Annabelle White. All three recipients will be presented with a limited edition cast-glass figure created exclusively for the award.

Mr Ware is also the Director of the Peace Foundation in Wellington; Vice-President of the International Peace Bureau; Director of Aotearoa Lawyers for Peace, and an international consultant for the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms. He is also the New Zealand organiser of the World March for Peace and Nonviolence which kicks off in October.

He says news of the honour came as a surprise. "Too often peace is misunderstood as merely the absence of war and thus is not sufficiently publicised or celebrated," Mr Ware says.

"This award can help people understand that peace involves practical ways to solve conflicts and prevent violence whether at home, school, in the community or internationally, and that it comes from skills that can be taught, attitudes that can be learned, and behaviours that can be changed."

Previous awards for the former Tauranga man have included the UN International Year for Peace Award in 1986; the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Award (Aotearoa-New Zealand) 1986; and the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability Award (USA) in 1997.

A former Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, Matt Robson, endorsed Mr Ware's nomination to Waikato University, saying he always called upon Mr Ware's advice as he was a world expert on disarmament. "He is sought as an adviser right up to the Secretary-General of the United Nations," Mr Robson wrote in support of the nomination.

Prof Crawford says Mr Ware's traits of humility, courage, determination and perceptive leadership in his roles make him an excellent Waikato University alumnus and a fine ambassador for New Zealand.