16 leaves ; 28 cm. International project booklet 0703-8976 no. 7
John Conway was born on 31st December 1929, in London, England and educated at Sedbergh School and St John’s College, Cambridge, where he gained both his undergraduate and graduate degrees. In 1955 He emigrated to Canada, and taught for two years at the University of Manitoba. In 1957 he married Ann and they moved to Vancouver, where he joined the Department of History and International Relations at the University of British Columbia and served as a full-time faculty member for 38 years before reaching retirement age.
Successive generations of students found him to be a stimulating professor, who encouraged them to challenge received opinions and to make up their own minds. His research interests were focused on the affairs of the European churches during the Nazi era. This resulted in his book The Nazi Persecution of the Churches, 1933-1945, first published in Britain in 1968, and then translated into German, French and Spanish, which has been reprinted in more recent years. His frequent research visits to Germany led him to get to know the surviving members of the Confessing Church, such as the biographer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Rhineland pastor Eberhard Bethge. Subsequently he became a founding member of the US Scholars’ Conference on the German Church Struggle and the Holocaust, which has done much to focus attention on the changes in Christian-Jewish relations. In this connection, he has actively engaged in the debates about the policies of the Vatican during the Second World War and the controversial personality of Pope Pius XII. He subsequently wrote numerous publications on the role of the churches, the Holocaust, and the diplomacy of the Vatican. As a result he was appointed to serve on the editorial boards of two prestigious international journals in the field of contemporary history.
After retirement, he continued for several years to accept invitations to give lectures and seminars, and in 1998 was appointed Smallman Visiting Professor at the University of Western Ontario. He also lectured to audiences in Britain, Germany, Israel, Scandinavia and Australia. He was a frequent lecturer for UBC’s Continuing Education Department, giving courses annually for the ‘Ageless Pursuits’ programme. As well he has been associated with Regent College, where his scholarly books and papers are now deposited for research purposes in their Library’s Special Collections. From 1995 onwards he edited a monthly on-line Newsletter for his Association of Contemporary Church Historians, which gained a world-wide audience.
Besides teaching, he devoted much of his time to voluntary agencies: on campus, such as the Student Christian Movement, and the World University Service, for which he was a long-time Faculty Advisor. In the wider community, he was a former chairman of the Vancouver branches of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs and the United Nations Association. In the 1970s he served for ten years as the director of the Tibetan Refugee Aid Society, and in that capacity visited India on several occasions to meet the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan refugee community there. In 1977 he was awarded the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal for these services. Subsequently he was, for several years, chairman of the Refugee Unit of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, arranging for the sponsorship of refugees to start a new life in Canada. He also played an active role in the life of the Anglican Church and was latterly a member of St James’ Church. To mark this church’s 125th birthday in 2006, he published a small book of essays To Saint James with Love: Reflections on History and Theology.