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Art WRIGHT

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Art WRIGHT Obituary
ART WRIGHT 1939 - 2019 Died January 1, 2019 of Alzheimer's disease in Victoria, B.C. Survived by his beloved artist wife of 48 years, Sylvia Bews-Wright, sister Marie Smith (Earl) and many nieces, nephews, surrogate daughters and honorary granddaughters. Educated in Political Science, Public Administration and Economic and Social Development, Art excelled in a 35 year span of Canadian public service as a Foreign Service Officer in Nigeria, Malaysia, Thailand, Tanzania and India, followed by serving as Ambassador/High Commissioner in Bangladesh, Barbados and Zimbabwe. His interdisciplinary skills in encouraging citizen participation and leadership in sustainable development were broadly admired in these diverse and challenging settings. Art reflected: 'I had this incredible privilege to work for over three decades at the delivery end of foreign policy and development in highly diverse urban and rural environments on three continents - incredibly, I was paid to learn from and work with amazingly industrious people in fascinatingly different and rich cultures.' Art's broader interests in regional development issues coincided with those of the Canadian International Agency (CIDA) where he was appointed as Vice-President of CIDA's Asia Branch. Following his posting to Barbados/Eastern Carribean he returned to CIDA as Vice President of Multilateral Branch followed by his final posting to Zimbabwe. By 1997, Foreign Service/ CIDA retirement beckoned and Art served as a director of the Foundation for International Training (Toronto), as Senior Associate of UBC's Sustainable Development Research Institute and as a member of the Advisory Board for the School of Peace and Conflict Management at Royal Roads University. When Art and Sylvia moved to Victoria, UVic's Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives (CAPI) was avidly awaiting to recruit Art as an associate. He successfully chaired a number of 'hot topic' items, using his legendary deep commitment to inclusive and participatory approaches, the importance of listening, an unflagging respect for the value of human life and a deep appreciation for the diversity and interconnectedness of the human species. Art's fondest retirement endeavor centred on his creation of a course in Sustainable Development for the Canadian Field Studies in Africa Program. The hands-on course attracted Canadian university students to travel in old army vehicles across Kenya and Uganda under Art's tutelage for a semester of living and learning in tents, often surrounded by curious wildlife. For seven years (2000-2007), this annual interdisciplinary 'safari' was the highlight of Art's restless retirement years. Before he passed away, Art willed his body to UBC for its continuing research into Alzheimer's disease. Donations toward the eradication of the terrible affliction may be made in Art's name to www.alz.soc.ca. A celebration of Art's life will be held at the at Uplands Golf Course, 3300 Cadboro Bay Road at 1 p.m. on February 2. Sylvia is deeply grateful to the Carr West staff at the Heights of Mountain View for the gentle, loving care given to Art during his time there.
Published in The Globe and Mail from Jan. 11 to Jan. 15, 2019
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