As Canadians, all of us will experience viscerally the imperative of remembrance on November 11th, even if we have not experienced war directly. We must recall the ungodly loss of life, of community, of hope of the “war to end all wars” – and the world war after it. And to those which have followed, the hopes for peace provided the foundations of the United Nations and is what brought UNA-Canada into existence as well. It is an important day to mark the contributions of young men putting on a uniform and making what might have started as an adventure into the fight of their (and our) lives. To mark the women who took up their jobs and tasks at home to support this effort.
In the end, it was those global leaders who understood the world weariness of the spilling of the blood of a generation, who created an institution where everyone would have a chair at the table. Where conflict, where it arises, could be dealt with through words and through other creative means – not through bloodshed. This was the foundation of the United Nations and its treaties and conventions. It was ‘We the peoples’ determining that peace and prosperity, protection of human rights and sustainable development, was what the world we wanted – and still want.
The Human Security Report Project at Simon Fraser University, supported by governments outside of Canada, examines the forces and political developments that have driven down the number of international conflicts and war deaths since the 1950s, and the number of civil wars since the early 1990s. It argues that the fact that these mitigating forces persist, or have strengthened, provides grounds for cautious optimism about the future of global security. The key factor they offer in this body of research is the United Nations itself, and the norms that it has helped create and perpetrate.
So, on this Remembrance Day remember those who gave all – and think peace.
President & CEO
Chair, World Federation of United Nations Associations