Two doctors share Thakore award

Sep 18, 2003, vol. 28, no. 2
By Marianne Meadahl

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As doctors who have worked extensively in war zones, Eric Hoskins and Samantha Nutt know the human toll taken by war, especially its effects on children.

Their efforts to help war's youngest victims through their organization, War Child Canada, are being recognized by this year's Thakore Foundation visiting scholar award. The award is co-sponsored by SFU's institute for the humanities, in cooperation with the Thakore charitable foundation and the India Club of Vancouver.

Hoskins has just returned from war-torn Iraq, where he led a team of humanitarian workers to assess how children were faring under post-war conditions.

“All Iraqis, including children, need a drastic improvement in the country's infrastructure, including guaranteed safety, water and electricity,” he reports. The team also delivered medicine and medical textbooks to a hospital it established in Karbala two years ago.

Earlier this summer, Nutt travelled to Afghanistan, where the organization has launched a women's literacy and vocational training program.

War Child Canada was established in1999 and has projects under way in war-affected countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

The organization also promotes awareness of human rights issues and war-affected children among North American youth, and works with the music industry to help raise funds, including $100,000 from sales of the recently released CD Peace Songs.

Dr. Hoskins, the organization's president, has 15 years experience as a physician working in war zones and specializes in the health of children in war zones, public and refugee health, humanitarian relief and the civilian impact of war.

He was the senior policy advisor to former Canadian foreign minister Lloyd Axworthy.

A Rhodes scholar, he was the youngest recipient of the United Nations Lester B. Pearson peace medal (Canada's highest humanitarian award) in 1993.

He was also given the Governor General's meritorious service cross in 1999.

Dr. Nutt is executive director and a founding member of War Child Canada. She has worked for nearly a decade in war zones, helping children in some of the world's most violent areas.

Dr. Nutt is a specialist in maternal and child health in zones of armed conflict, family medicine, and public and refugee health. She is also on staff at Toronto's Sunnybrook hospital and women's health science centre at the University of Toronto.

The Thakore award was created in 1991 by the late Natverlal Thakore, a former member of SFU's education faculty, to honour individuals who show creativity, commitment and a concern for truth, justice and non-violence in public life, qualities that Mohandas Gandhi valued.

The presentation is held in conjunction with the celebration of Gandhi's birthday on Oct. 2.

The award ceremony celebrating the work of Dr. Hoskins and Dr. Nutt, who are married, will be held at SFU's Images theatre beginning at 7:30 p.m., following the Gandhi commemorative ceremony at 6:45 p.m. at the Gandhi bust, located on the south side of the academic quadrangle.

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