For more than 30 years, humanist poet Dr. Gary Geddes has unveiled deeper truths behind war and peace in conflict zones around the world. Through his poetry and literature, Mr. Geddes has worked courageously for human rights and peace building, while generating some of the best writing of the 20th century.
His uncompromising stand for human dignity and his elegant prose has made this one-time gillnet fisherman one of Canada's most important literary figures. Authoring and editing more than 35 books across the spectrum of literature, Dr. Geddes has used poetry and prose as a medium to illuminate and uplift the human condition.
To international acclaim, Dr. Geddes has explored human-rights issues in Chile during its dictatorship, in Nicaragua during its civil war, and in Palestine and Israel after the Oslo peace accord. His curiosity has taken him across war-torn Afghanistan, through the heart of Asia and across the Pacific - a journey that prompted him to pen The Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things, a book of sweeping scope. Most recently, Dr. Geddes examined the lives lost to the catastrophic collapse of the Second Narrows Bridge in Vancouver in 1958, in his epic poem Falsework.
Dr. Geddes earned his MA and PhD in English at the University of Toronto. He has been a tireless mentor for young writers across Canada, teaching English at Concordia University, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, and the University of Victoria. In September 1998, he was appointed as the Distinguished Professor of Canadian Culture at Western Washington University.
Given the prominent place Royal Roads University holds in human security and conflict management around the world, it is only fitting to bestow an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree on Gary Geddes. The honorary degree will add to an extensive list of literary and humanitarian awards already bestowed on Dr. Geddes. These include the Gabriela Mistral Prize, awarded by the Government of Chile, for service to the Chilean people.
For shedding light where there was darkness, for using literature to attract international attention to conflict and abuse around the globe, and for advancing world peace, Mr. Chancellor, I am pleased to present this accomplished humanist, Gary Geddes, for the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.