Bertha Lawrence Memorial Award

About Bertha Lawrence

Bertha Lawrence was born in England, but came to Edmonton as a young child. During World War II she interrupted a 35-year teaching career to serve in Britain in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, but returned to the classroom in 1946. Bertha retired from teaching in 1964, but to her the term “retirement” meant only having more time to spend at her many community activities, which are almost too numerous to mention. She was a very active member of I.O.D.E. and also the Professional Women’s Club. Her desire to respond to the needs of others was demonstrated by her years of participation in the United Nations Association, where her many activities included over 10 years service with UNICEF and being Edmonton representative to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Bertha’s wartime experiences sowed the seeds of pacifism and led to a lifetime dedicated to promoting peace. She was rewarded for decades of promoting peace when she won a three-month UN fellowship to study its inner workings in 1965. She spent time in the General Assembly and Security Council, hearing speeches by then-Secretary General U Thant and the Aga Khan. She was again recognized in 1976 when then Premier Peter Lougheed presented her with an Alberta Achievement Award. – Throughout her life Bertha maintained faith that the UN will fulfill its mandate and stake its claim to the future when it finally achieves its role as peace maker. In her words “there is no other hope for mankind unless we have a body that cares and is prepared to do something about it.”

Bertha Lawrence

There is no other hope for mankind unless we have a body that cares and is prepared to do something about it.

– Bertha Lawrence

Bertha Lawrence Memorial Award

The board of the United Nations Association in Canada (Edmonton Branch) is pleased to announce the establishment of the Bertha Lawrence Memorial Award to fund a high school student to attend the Seminar on the United Nations and International Affairs ( on an annual basis. The award covers participations fees for the award recipient. Interested students may contact the branch directly or through SUNIA.

To apply for the Bertha Lawrence Memorial Award: Please contact SUNIA.

Board Guidelines for the Bertha Lawrence Memorial Award

In the context of the overall mission of the branch to engage Edmontonians on global issues, the board has identified the centrality of youth in this respect. The resources bequeathed by the late Bertha Lawrence, who emphasized the importance of youth in the work of the branch, has given the board the unique opportunity to carry out this important objective on a long-term basis. To attain this outcome the following approaches will be utilized:

  • The current, and future boards, will use the Bertha Lawrence estate funds only for youth-oriented programs.
  • The branch has agreed to establish the “Bertha Lawrence Memorial Award;” essentially, the goal is to support a Northern Alberta student annually to enable them attend SUNIA.
  • As UNA-Canada is vigorously promoting the UN and global issues to youth through the WKOW program, the board has agreed to support this program in Northern Alberta by providing for incidental expenses, when required, to enhance the effectiveness of the program.
  • At the discretion of the Edmonton board, support will be offered to youth in Northern Alberta to attend youth-oriented conferences, and also provide “Bertha Lawrence memorial prizes” to students participating in Model UNs held in Edmonton and Northern Alberta.

Grant MacEwan University Bertha Lawrence Memorial Bursary Presented by The United Nations Association in Canada, Edmonton Branch

In 2008 the United Nations Association in Canada – Edmonton branch also established the Bertha Lawrence Memorial Bursary at Grant MacEwan University. A bursary of $1000 is awarded annually on the basis of financial need to a full-time student at Grant MacEwan University in their 3rd or 4th year of studies in the Bachelor of Arts Degree with a declared major in Anthropology, Philosophy, Political Science, or Sociology.

To apply for the Bertha Lawrence Memorial Bursary: Please visit