Eric Hoskins, who grew up in Simcoe, and his wife, Dr. Samantha Nutt, are alumni of
McMaster University, where they received honorary doctor of
law degrees in recognition of their humanitarian work helping children
in war-torn countries.
From the 27 Jun 2005 Simcoe Reformer article by Daniel Pearce:
honours couple for humanitarian work
Local humanitarian heroes Dr. Eric Hoskins and his wife Dr. Samantha Nutt were honored
Friday [20 May 2005] at the university that inspired them to travel the world to help
children in war torn countries.
The couple are
international renowned for their work with children caught in the
crossfire of battle, sometimes done under great personal risk as
fighting goes on around them. They also head up War
Child Canada, a charitable aid organization based in Toronto. It
runs programs in 12 countries, including Sudan, Congo and Iraq.
On Friday, Hoskins and Nutt
appeared before 200 graduating health sciences students at McMaster
University to receive honorary doctorates in laws.
The couple, who graduated as
medical students from the school, were singled out by McMaster for their
achievements in the humanitarian field. "Not only is it great
professional recognition. It's also wonderful in a sentimental
way," said Nutt, who met Hoskins at the university. "It's the
place that pulled us together, that led us on this extraordinary
"The doctorates of laws are
recognition of the human rights work we do," she said, and will
allow the couple "to throw our opinions around with more
Hoskins, who grew up in Simcoe
but now lives in Toronto, credits McMaster with introducing him to
international development work. The school allows students to take some
electives abroad. Hoskins studied in England, the Dominican Republic,
and South America before graduating in 1985.
Both have received prestigious
awards. In 1993, Hoskins became the youngest person to be awarded
Canada's highest humanitarian award, the United Nations Lester B.
Pearson Peace medal. He was awarded the Governor General's Meritorious
Service Cross in 1999.
"McMaster was founded on a
community-oriented and people-centred philosophy," Dr. John Kelton,
vice president of McMaster's Faculty of Health Sciences, said in a press
release. "Both of these doctors are wonderful role models to young
Five days before the ceremony,
Nutt gave birth to the couple's first child -- a boy, Rhys. That means
changes for the parents, Hoskins acknowledged. "We'll keep on doing
the work we have been doing. But we probably won't take some of the risks
we've been taking."
Years ago in Eritrea, Hoskins
was trapped in an underground bunker for more than three days while
shelling went on around him.
Nutt, MD, MSc. FRCPC, a
specialist in maternal and child health in zones of armed conflict, co-founded
and is executive director of War Child Canada. An international
women’s health scholar and a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons
of Canada Fellow in community medicine, she has received numerous
humanitarian awards for her work in support of children affected by
Eric Hoskins, MD, D Phil, MSc,
FRCPC, Rhodes Scholar, president and general manager of War Child
Canada, has worked extensively with the United Nations and
non-governmental organizations in some of the world's most heavily
affected war zones, A specialist in the health of children in war zones,
public health, humanitarian relief, humanitarian affairs, human rights,
refugee health and the civilian impact of war, he was from 1998-2000 senior
policy advisor to former Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy. He co-founded
the International Study Team, and led a group of over 80 experts who, in
1991, produced the most comprehensive assessment of post-war Iraq to
date. He led the recent IST mission to Iraq in January 2003, assessing
the impact of war on children and the preparedness of the humanitarian