Penny Sanger: Lifelong Peace Educator 1931-2017

Penny SangerAnother strong and articulate voice for peace and peace education has gone silent. See: Penny Sanger (Globe and Mail, 22 July 2017).

Penny dedicated her life to peace education and activism. We presented her with the Anne Goodman Award for Peace Education in 2015. – Voice of Women for Peace

She wrote for many publications including the Peterborough Examiner, the New Internationalist and founded the Glebe Report. She authored Blind Faith, a book about the toxic legacy of the nuclear industry on her hometown of Port Hope.

She leaves such an incredible legacy, and will always be an inspiration to me, so active and passionate to the very end. – Sister Mary-Ellen Francoeur

Penny helped launch and run numerous peace and social justice organizations, including the Canadian chapter of the International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa, the Ottawa Miles for Millions Campaign, the foreign policy NGO known as the Group of 78, Canadian Friends of Burma, the Make Room for Peace campaign, and Educating for Peace.

I remember Penny best for her kindness, open-mindedness, her sense of humour and particularly her commitment to an array of good causes, including peace education, Burma, and secular humanism…. She was a staunch defender of principled journalism and free speech, never cynical. – Robin Collins

In the 1990s the World Federalists ran an educational project, called “Our Planet in Every Classroom” which entailed distributing posters of the image of Earth from space (the famous NASA photo) and an accompanying global education resource guide.

Penny provided lots of useful advice for the guide and helped campaign to get many teachers to incorporate peace education in their social sciences curricula. – Fergus Watt

In the early 2000’s Penny worked with a small group in Ottawa to press the new Canadian War Museum (CWM) to “make room for peace” while it prepared to build and open the new $136 million museum in 2005. Penny minced no words in talking about the obligation of a ‘war museum’ to educate about peace, offering excellent suggestions, including the hosting of a lecture on peace and security by a high profile individual. She also provided concrete examples like the superb anti-war exhibition at the UK’s Imperial War Museum. After many stops and starts, the CWM did go on to develop and mount “Peace – the Exhibition” in 2013.

The Make Room for Peace group, of which Penny Sanger was a founding member, undoubtedly helped make that space for peace at the CWM. – Debbie Grisdale

Penny was a true activist. Some of us wrote and talked about the deplorable military rule in Burma,  Penny actually  went out there at a dangerous time, crossed a fast-moving river on a raft as she publicly identified with the resistance. –  Murray Thomson

Rest in peace, dear friend.

Click here for the Globe and Mail obituary.

There will be a celebration of Penny Sanger’s life on September 24 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Glebe Community Centre in Ottawa.

Photo credits – family and friends.

Tags: Blind Faith, Canadian chapter of the International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa, Canadian War Museum, Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, Friends of Burma, Glebe Report, Group of 78, Make Room for Peace, Murray Thomson, peace education, Port Hope, Voice of Women for Peace, World Federalist Movement-Canada