t the age of 71, Alex Morrison shows no signs of slow-
ing down. The former military colonel says that retiring
is what you do when you go to bed at night, so you can get
up and go to work the next day.
Born in Sydney, nS, Morrison was posted to Mount Allison in
September 1967 as the Resident Staff Officer to look after the
Canadian Officer Training Corps (COTC) Army officer cadets.
While posted, he finished his undergraduate degree and moved
on to the Headquarters of the United nations Peacekeeping
Force in Cyprus to continue what would be a successful 40-year
"My biggest career accomplishment is being able to command and
lead soldiers who have volunteered to serve their country," says
Morrison. "The rest are very good, but they are built on my relation-
ships with soldiers."
He says that leading a team of 45 soldiers at a young age, many of
whom were older and more experienced, taught him lessons that
he would carry with him throughout his career.
In 1983, Morrison began what he calls one of the defining
moments of his varied career, as Minister-Counsellor for the
Permanent Mission of Canada to the United nations in new York.
This is where his military life met diplomacy.
He worked for the Canadian Ambassador to the Un in arms control
and disarmament manners for negotiating with the United nations,
and with representatives of other countries in regards to Canada's
peacekeeping obligations and matters of security in the Indian Ocean.
"This combination of military and diplomacy prepared me well for my
teaching career. I could then educate students based on my experi-
ences in the real world and how things actually happen in an inter-
Morrison has been teaching at the university level for 20 years,
most recently during a 15-month stint as the director of the School
of Peace and Conflict Management at Royal Roads University in
"Teaching to me is about sharing the experiences I have been fortu-
nate enough to have had," he says.
In 1994, Morrison was asked by the federal government to open the
Pearson Peacekeeping Centre in Cornwallis, nS. During his seven-
year term as founding president of the organization, Morrison trav-
elled the world to entice other countries to send their military and
police officers and non-governmental organization staff members
to nova Scotia for peacekeeping education and training.
Eight years later he received the Pearson Peace Medal from the
United nations Association in Canada for his efforts.
Morrison is now back in Cornwallis, where he is co-writing a book
with his wife Elizabeth McMichael. He has authored and co-
authored several books during his career, including
The Voice of Defence:
The History of the Conference of Defence Associations (1982) and The
Breed of Manly Men: the History of the Cape Breton Highlanders (1994).
"I have never had a job I didn't like," he says. "Or if I did, it did not
last very long."
by Melissa Lombard
Governor General Jeanne Sauvé
presents Alex Morrison with the
Meritorious Service Cross in 1989
20 / Winter 2012 / RECORD