The final event of the Being the Change peace conference in early July was a field trip to Pugwash where Thinker’s Lodge is located in the seaside community. It was a beautiful and slightly windy day for a drive, but after a few days of warm weather it was very pleasant to have cooler temperatures. Pugwash is a very small and lovely town where Cyrus Eaton provided the space and support to allow the first Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs in July 1957. At the height of the Cold War, the conference was a critical first step in moving back from the brink of war and it established a process and lines of communication that continue to bring peace to the world today. The small town pulled together for the conference where local residents opened their homes many of the top scientists in the world. The meals took place in the Lobster Factory and meetings happened there, as well as in the Masonic Hall and Thinker’s Lodge. The tranquil and somewhat isolated location provided the ideal setting to put people at ease to be able to discuss the important issues that faced the world.
The group from the peace conference assembled in the Lobster Factory for some refreshments and then we had presentations by Sandra Ionno Butcher on some of the important women such as Ruth S. Adams and Anne Kinder Jones who made the process a success and by Ru Ling Susie Chou about her father Pei-Yuan Chu, who participated in many of the Pugwash Conferences. Members of the town also provided fascinating insights into the history of the village of Pugwash. John Eaton (grandson of Cyrus Eaton) spoke about the restoration and preservation of Thinker’s Lodge and invited the participants into the historic building for a tour. Being able to walk through a place filled with such important historical discussions and connections was fascinating. The walls of Thinker’s Lodge are covered with photographs of participants and those who inspired those who lived there. It is a comfortable and inviting place.
During the lunch break we assembled as a group and Alyn Ware brought out torches that were part of the Abolition Flame and the World March for Peace. The torches were passed between the participants as we walked along the harbour with the wind blowing. We walked from the Lobster Factory, to the Masonic Hall, and down to the centre of the Villiage of Pugwash. It was a beautiful way to remember the past and to continue to work for peace and disarmament in the world.
The conference was a great experience and gave me the chance to meet some amazing people and participate in something important that is connected to the province where I live.