The Cornelis Westland Humanitarian Award seeks to perpetuate the efforts of former World Leisure Secretary General Cor Westland. He was a sincere and authentic man – with a huge heart.
Cornelis (Cor) Westland (1918 – 2008) served as Secretary General of WLRA from 1984 to 1996. Westland’s professional and personal journey was remarkable. Born in The Netherlands in 1918, Westland graduated from the Royal Military Academy and later earned a bachelor of physical education from the Academy of Physical Education in Amsterdam. He served as an officer in the Royal Dutch East Indies Army from 1940 to 1951. During this period of time, he was a prisoner of war.
From 1951 to 1953 he was a member of the faculty of the Royal Military College. In 1953, he immigrated to Canada and began his professional work with leisure and recreation with the YMCA. From 1966 to 1970, he served as a recreation consultant with Fitness Canada and from 1970 to 1976 as Director of Recreation Canada. Following, from 1976 to 1984, he was an associate professor in the Department of Leisure Studies, University of Ottawa.
As Secretary General, his work was central in the establishment of the World Leisure International Center of Excellence graduate programme (WICE) initially offered by the Christelijke Hogeschool Noord Nederland, Leeuwarden, Netherlands. He provided leadership to a variety of national and international conferences including the WLRA Symposium on Leisure staged at the UN in 1982 and the World Congress on Play in Human Settlements. Westland offered many keynote presentations in countries such as Argentina, Australia, Canada, Columbia, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands and Norway.
First elected to the Association’s Board of Directors in 1977,Cor also served as its Vice Chair prior to assuming his position as Secretary General in 1984. As an author of numerous books and articles, his publications include Recreation Development in Canada; Fitness and Amateur Sport in Canada; and Playing, Living and Learning in Canada.
The Cornelis Westland Humanitarian Award seeks to recognize an individual or organization that has made significant and sustained contributions to the world wide leisure movement, advancing human concerns.