Tag: John Foster

George Cramm (1938-2018), Canadian Humanitarian: Veteran of the Latin American Working Group

“Besides the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, George Cram served a number of refugee advocacy organizations, and successfully pushed for the granting of Canadian visas to released prisoners in Chile during the rule of dictator Augusto Pinochet. Photo: General Synod Archives, from the Anglican Journal, March 20 2018”


To honour George Cramm, who died last month, we publish below the notes of the speech he gave five years ago, to commemorate a unique moment in the history of refugees in Canada which he led, the Political Prisoner Program.  We also reproduce the text of the obituary prepared by the Anglican Journal, which highlights the many institutions which benefited from his commitment to ecumenical social justice.  We thank his close colleague and member of the CNHH, John Foster, for sharing these documents as well as the obituary published by the Toronto Star published an obituary on March 21. John first met George via United Church youth work in 1961, and was best man at his wedding.


Notes from a talk given by George Cram about […] The Political Prisoner Program

CASA Salvador Allende 40th Anniversary Remembrance, Toronto, September 7, 2013

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Latin American Working Group (LAWG) library opens at CERLAC’s Resource Centre

On Thursday February 16, CNHH member John Foster was at York for the launch of the LAWG collection.   He wrote: “The event was quite wonderful. I attach the ribbon cutting moment, with Prof. Liisa North of York and Caese Levo, former LAWG librarian, both of whom have been instrumental in organizing the collection.  We are so lucky that CERLAC negotiated space and is hosting.

IMG_0061 16 Feb. 2017 archives inauguration

Photo: John Foster

John presented the archives at Carleton University today at the Workshop on Canada’s Past and Future in the Americas in the session on “Historical Perspectives on Canada’s Relations with Latin America”, in a paper entitled” “Life Beyond Death: The Story of the Latin American Working Group (LAWG)”

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Photo: Julia VanDrie

Here is the official announcement of the archives opening:

Latin American Working Group (LAWG) library opens at CERLAC’s Resource Centre

Latin American Working Group (LAWG) library opens at CERLAC’s Resource Centre:

We are pleased to announce the opening of the LAWG (Latin American Working Group) Library, part of CERLAC’s Resource Centre, thanks to the efforts of Liisa North and Caese Levo.  As Liisa explains, LAWG “played a leading role in sustaining Canadian solidarity with human rights and women’s organizations, peasant and worker unions, ecumenical groups, refugee agencies, and others in the southern hemisphere during some of its darkest hours of war, military dictatorship, and US intervention, as well as the bright moments of popular and revolutionary breakthroughs.”

The LAWG library is a unique collection of ephemeral publications, pamphlets, posters, letters to the public, reports, and other publications dating from 1965 to 1990. It consists of thousands of documents organized and labeled in 120 “banker’s boxes.” The collection is particularly strong on (from north to south) the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. Simon Granovsky-Larsen, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of Regina, who examined the Guatemala collection, found that it contained “rare and important material on the relatively obscure Guatemalan organization that I happen to be interested in” and that the collection as a whole “would attract visiting researchers from across Canada and beyond, as well as graduate students from a number of disciplines” if it were publicized more.

More information on the LAWG Library, as well as other collections at the CERLAC Resource Centre is available on our website (under “Resources”). The collection can be consulted by contacting CERLAC Coordinator Camila Bonifaz (bonifaz@yorku.ca).

To read John’s blog on the recognition of the LAWG by the Chilean government in the fall of 2016, click HERE.