Comox woman earns share of Nobel Peace Prize

Comox doctor Lui Carvalho is used to early-morning phone calls, but the call he received Friday was unlike any other.

COMOX-RAISED LOUISE Carvalho poses in front of the Nelson Mandela statue in The Hague

COMOX-RAISED LOUISE Carvalho poses in front of the Nelson Mandela statue in The Hague

Comox doctor Lui Carvalho is used to early-morning phone calls as part of his practice, but the call he received Friday was unlike any other.

The 2:30 a.m. call was from his daughter, Louise Carvalho, with news her company — the Organisation of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) — received the Nobel Peace Prize.

“I have a bad habit of keeping the phone by my bed,” admitted Carvalho. “But that was quite an exciting call. It really came out of the blue; it was a magnificent day.”

Louise is the legal officer for OPCW, an organization recognized for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons, and to act as a guardian of the global ban on chemical weapons, which took effect in 1997.

Carvalho explained he and his wife received the news from their daughter, who attended Village Park, École Robb Road and Highland schools, and watched the announcement simultaneously — albeit across the world from each other — on the BBC.

“We kept getting phone and e-mails all day Friday and Saturday. Many were from her friends she went to school with, which was really wonderful of them,” noted Carvalho.

Following her graduation from Highland, Louise attended the University of British Columbia and received her arts degree, then attended law school in Calgary.

She returned to Vancouver Island to article with the attorney general in Victoria before working in London and then received a United Nations appointment in Kosovo.

Carvalho explained his daughter worked in the country for more than eight years, and two years ago she decided she needed a change and began work with OPCW in The Hague in the Netherlands.

The OPCW, which has been working for more than 16 years to eliminate chemical weapons, said in a statement the Peace Prize will spur the organization to untiring effort, even stronger commitment and greater dedication to realize the vision of a world free the weapons.

Recently, the organization deployed a team of inspectors to expand verification and destruction activities in Syria.

Carvalho credits Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama for helping bringing the organization to light recently as in late September, their agreement stopped air strikes in the country.

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The Comox Valley has not one, but two connections to Nobel Prizes, as Canadian author Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for literature Thursday.

For the full story on Munro’s Comox connection, read the full story on www.comoxvalleyrecord.com.

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