Lester Bowles Pearson
Born: 23 April 1897, Toronto, Canada
Died: 27 December 1972, Ottawa, Canada
Residence at the time of the award: Canada
Role: former President of the 7th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, former Secretary of State for External Affairs of Canada
Field: negotiation, world organizing
Prize share: 1/1
In 1956, Great Britain, France and Israel launched an attack on Egypt aimed at removing President Nasser. The United States had not been informed, and the Soviet Union threatened to use atomic weapons against the assailants. The "Suez Crisis" found its solution when the Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs Lester Pearson, who had served as President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1952, won support for sending a United Nations Emergency Force to the region to separate the warring parties. This gained him the Peace Prize for 1957.
Lester Pearson was a historian. In the inter-war years he was employed in Canada's Department of External Affairs. He was sent to Europe, and witnessed both the breakdown of the League of Nations and the outbreak of World War II. During the war he was stationed in Washington, where he worked on preparations for the founding of the United Nations. Many wanted him to be the first Secretary-General, but the Soviet Union was opposed. Instead, Pearson headed the UN committee that recommended the division of Palestine into a Jewish part and an Arab part.
In 1948, Lester Pearson became Canada's Secretary of State for External Affairs, and he ended his career as Prime Minister in the 1960s.