March 18,1998

International Women's Day

First Helen Prize awarded here

At the Simone de Beauvoir dinner, the first Helen Prize was awarded to 20 women from around the world.

The honour was conceived by Montreal poet Akhtar Naraghi, who spoke with emotion of her work over the past decade to organize the prize. She had been inspired by the case of Helen Caldicott, the Australian physician and anti-nuclear activist, who was passed over in favour of two male colleagues for the Nobel Peace Prize.

About half of the Helen Prize nominees were able to attend the dinner. Five hundred dollars in prize money was given to one of the recipients, chosen by lot. The new prize attracted considerable media attention, including The Globe and Mail and the CBC-TV national news.

Judith Berlyn (Westmount, Que.), co-founder of Westmount Initiatives for Peace, and active over the years with Social Justice Committee of Montreal, Non-Violence Resource Centre, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility and the Canadian Voice of Women.

Mary Bill (Squamish, B.C.), Squamish Centre, and organizer of the Amazing Greys, an annual event on Vancouver Island. Since the 1989 Polytechnique massacre, she has kept a "femicide" list of more than 1,100 victims of violence by men.

Amira Elias (Montreal), activist on behalf of the women and children of Iraq

Beverly Britton (Alexandria, Va.), founder of the Lifeline Network for Peace, who has used her savings to help women in Bosnia

Vivian Labrie (Quebec City), community worker through the Carrefour de pastorale en monde ouvrier Joanne Maisonneuve (Carmacks, Yukon), community volunteer and recipient of the Helen Prize cash award

Joan Matthews (Sutton, Que.), creator of the Sutton Yoga Centre Elizabeth Mazanec (Acworth, N.H.), midwife, and founder of the North East College of Healing Arts and Science

Alice Mead (Cumberland, Me.), author of two books for young people about ethnic violence, Journey to Kosova and Adem's Cross

Rita McComber (Kahnawake, Que.), community volunteer Kawennanoron Dorris Diabo Montour (Kahnawake, Que.), teacher, singer, and promoter of the Mohawk language

Shree Mulay (Montreal), physician active with the McGill Centre for Research and Teaching on Women, founding member of the South Asian Women's Community Centre, executive member of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women

Martha Orozco Ossio, a Quechuan, holder of a postgraduate degree, who has been on an around-the-world walk to raise support for the indigenous people of Bolivia

Barbara Seifred (Hampton, Que.), early member of West Islanders for Nuclear Disarmament, local organizer of the Raging Grannies

Emily Shihadeh (San Francisco), performer in the cause of peace, of Palestinian Quaker background

Ann Silverstone (Montreal), an inspiration to other women in her community Halimatou Traore (Mali), community worker, particularly in womenÕs health issues in West Africa

Barbra Weiner (Minneapolis, Minn.), founder of a cancer resource centre Women of Words (WOW, Montreal), feminist writers, who meet at Concordia's WomenÕs Centre

Leyla Zana (Turkey), the first Kurdish woman to be elected to the Turkish parliament, now serving a 15-year prison sentence for her activism

Copyright 1998 Thursday Report
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