Jack and Muriel Duckworth Fund for Active Global Citizenship

The Jack and Muriel Duckworth Fund for Active Global Citizenship celebrates the inspiring leadership exemplified by Canadian activists, Jack and Muriel Duckworth. As a couple and individually, they moved thousands to speak out for universal peace and social justice. The funds raised in their names support Oxfam Canada's work at home and with our counterparts overseas.

A particular focus is with youth and women who are exercising their rights to be heard in order to create peaceful states and communities where poverty is overcome and social justice prevails.

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"Voices like ours are needed now more than ever for peace, for civil rights, for children, for a life on this planet, for our grandchildren. War is stupid. To bring about the changes we need in society, all of us must speak out and act."

Muriel Duckworth: A Very Active Pacifist, Fernwood Publishing 1996.

As the Jack and Muriel Duckworth Fund grows and thrives, it will stimulate new initiatives in Canada, Africa, the Americas and Asia initiatives such as exchanges and scholarships for young women and men to build leadership abilities and prepare them to become active citizens.

The Fund was officially launched at Muriel Duckworth's 100th birthday concert and celebration in Halifax on November 2, 2008.


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Background

Muriel and Jack Duckworth worked and volunteered on the leading edge of social justice movements in Canada beginning in the 1930s.
 
Jack, born in 1897, was a highly regarded leader in the national YMCA movement and an outspoken pacifist from the 1930's until his death in 1975. A highly effective fundraiser, Jack led the first $1 million capital fundraising campaign in Halifax that built the South Park Street YMCA. As the Secretary-General of the South Park Street Y for 15 years, he built a strong program of family involvement and youth leadership. By the 1960s, the Halifax Hi-Y youth group was the largest in Canada. Jack also contributed his typing and organizing skills to many of Muriel's endeavors. In her moments of doubt, he encouraged her by saying, 'If anyone can do it, you can".

Muriel, born in 1908, was Canada's most enduring champion of peace, the environment and women's rights. She was best known as a founder and president of the national Voice of Women, the first women's peace organization in Canada. As an exemplary active citizen, she became known for withholding the portion of her income tax that went to military spending and for being the first woman in Halifax to run for political office at the provincial or federal levels. With honorary degrees from 10 universities, the Order of Canada, the Persons Award and the Pearson Peace medal, Muriel was recognized as a distinguished citizen whose convictions are shared by many others. Muriel Duckworth died at the age of 100 in August 2009.

Oxfam is proud to have earned Muriel's support. She was an active supporter of Oxfam's work and mission since our beginnings in Canada in 1963. In 1985, Muriel participated in a Peace Mission to Central America. She was a monthly SharePlan donor, a regular participant in our local events and actions and heartily endorsed our intensified focus on women's rights and gender equality. In 1999 she said, '"I like the fact that Oxfam has never been afraid to speak out on more controversial issues".

"At the close of life , the questions will be: not how much you have got but how much you have given; not how much you have won but how much you have done; not how much you have saved , but how much you have sacrificed; not how much you were honoured but how much you have loved and served."
Jack Duckworth

 

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