Congratulations to Barbara Birkett
Physicians for Global Survival is proud to announce that Dr Barbara Birkett was runner up for the “Women Building Peace Award”. This conference was organized by the Canadian Dept of Peace Initiative and the Civilian Peace Service Canada and developed in cooperation with the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution (CICR), the Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiation CIIAN), the Conflict Studies Program of Saint Paul University, the Rideau Institute and the Voice of Women.
Dr Birkett has made and is continuing to make significant contributions to promote the abolition of nuclear weapons, the prevention of war and the promotion of non-violent conflict resolution and social justice in a sustainable world.
Dr Birkett is a 1958 McGill medical school graduate and is currently a semi-retired Dermatologist on Courtesy Staff at Halton Health Care Services and formerly at Women’s College Hospital.
Dr Birkett first became aware of the extreme dangers of a nuclear catastrophe after listening to a lecture at her 25th medical school reunion, on what would happen if an atomic bomb were dropped on Montreal. Shortly after this lecture, in 1987 she joined the recently minted group and forerunner of Physicians for Global Survival (PGS), “Canadian Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War”.
As well as being an active member of her local chapter of PGS in Hamilton, she is a current Board member of Physicians for Global Survival, has served several past terms and in 1999-2000 was President of PGS. Prior to her presidency, she closed her practice in order to devote herself fully to PGS. In 1999, she was instrumental in organizing a cross country Canadian tour of Indian and Pakistani delegates of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). IPPNW is the umbrella organization of PGS and has 60 member countries. This tour occurred at a time of international tensions as both India and Pakistan had carried on unauthorized nuclear bomb tests in 1998.
Over the years, she has educated herself on complex issues of nuclear disarmament, written articles and made many presentations on behalf of PGS. She has been invited as a consultant to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, where her knowledge, sound judgment and sincerity have been recognized. One of Dr Birkett’s areas of particular expertise is the prevention of an arms race in outer space.
Dr Birkett’s personal commitment and deep concern about nuclear weapons is also reflected in her collaboration with related groups, such as “People Against Weapons in Space”, “Hiroshima Day Coalition” (Toronto), “The Oakville Centre for Peace Ecology and Human Rights”, and “Project Ploughshares”.
Currently, Dr Birkett remains extremely active with Physicians for Global Survival. She participated in the recent Parliament Hill launch of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and frequently gives talks on this initiative. As a small testimony to her ability to work in teams, communicate, and hard work, Dr Birkett recently organized and ‘manned’ a PGS display table at a meeting of Canadian Family Physicians. Despite being a large well attended meeting with many displays, the PGS display won first prize!
Dr Barbara Birkett has made a significant long-term commitment and personal contribution to the abolition of nuclear weapons on both a Canadian and international level.