Setsuko Thurlow to receive honorary degree from her alma mater Toronto University

(by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer)

The University of Toronto announced on March 1 that it will recognize Setsuko Thurlow, 87, an A-bomb survivor living in Canada and a graduate of the university, with an honorary degree. Ms. Thurlow has devoted her life to the cause of nuclear abolition and made a significant contribution toward realizing the establishment of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted at the United Nations in July 2017. The university lauded Ms. Thurlow for accepting the Nobel Peace Prize of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a non-governmental organization (NGO).

Ms. Thurlow will attend the ceremony on June 4 at the university to receive this honor, along with 12 other honorees that include a justice on Canada’s Supreme Court and a gold medalist in men’s swimming at the Olympic Games in Barcelona.

After graduating from Hiroshima Jogakuin University, Ms. Thurlow studied in the United States for a year, and in 1955, 10 years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, she went on to the University of Toronto’s School of Graduate Studies. She obtained a master’s degree there and worked as a social worker while dedicating herself to the anti-nuclear movement.

Ms. Thurlow said that her two years in graduate school, where she studied very hard to learn about social work — in English, a language she had yet to master — were days when she came to understand the importance of democracy and equality and put them into practice. She added that she was overcome with emotion when she was told about the honorary degree from her alma mater, which had helped her build a foundation on which she could pursue her efforts to advance a world without nuclear weapons.

(Originally published on March 2, 2019)