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Murray Thomson was born in Honan, China in 1922. His father was a United Church missionary. Thomson came to Canada at an early age. He was a student at the University of Toronto when the Second World War began. He enlisted in the air force and became a pilot although he never flew in a combat mission. Murray received a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Toronto.
As an undergraduate, he co-founded the Humanist Group, a citizen’s group for social change. His first job after graduating was a position in the adult education division of Saskatchewan’s socialist CCF government. Thomson received an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Michigan. In 1955 Thomson went to Thailand on a UNICEF research fellowship. He then spent four and a half years in India working in adult education for the American Friends Service Committee. Upon his return to Canada in 1962 he became peace education secretary for the Canadian Friends Service Committee in Toronto. In 1970 he became director of the CUSO (Canadian University Service Overseas) programme in Thailand. In 1972 he became the Regional Field Director of the South East Asia CUSO Programme. He also worked with the Canadian Friends Service Committee in South-East Asia sponsored by the Canadian Friends Service Committee, the peace and development wing of Canadian Quakers.
Thomson was the co-founder of the inter-church peace group, Project Ploughshares, a founder of Peace Brigades International in 1981 and of Peace Fund Canada. He helped establish the United Nations World Disarmament Campaign. In 1990, Thomson was awarded the Pearson Peace Medal. In 2001 Thomson received the Order of Canada. Thomson has been an active pacifist and lives in Ottawa. He died on 2 May 2019, in Ottawa, Ontario, at the age of 96.
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2015-5-26 (added to AtoM)
2019-07-03 (revision, date of death)
W. Laufs, 2015
B. Whittle, 2019