Philip John Noel-Baker

(1889—1982) politician and Nobel prizewinner

Quick Reference

(1889–1982) The son of a Canadian-born Quaker industrialist, born Philip John Baker, adopting his wife's surname, ‘Noel’, on their marriage in 1915, and hyphenating his surname in the 1940s. Noel-Baker was born in London, England, educated at the Quaker institutions of Bootham School, York, England, and Haverford College, Pennsylvania. He then entered King's College, University of Cambridge, in 1908, studying economics and law, also acting as president of the debating society and, from 1910 to 1912, as president of the university's Athletic Club. He represented Great Britain in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, and captained the British athletics team at the Games of 1920 (Antwerp) and 1924 (Paris).

Noel-Baker was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1959, for his tireless work in international diplomacy, and his pacifist writings that included condemnation of the international arms race; he had worked in ambulance units during World War I. Noel-Baker was involved in the setting up of the League of Nations (its covenant drafted during 1918–19, at the Paris peace conference) and the United Nations (drafting its charter at San Francisco in 1945). Throughout a career also embracing productive academic positions, and a political career (elected as Member of Parliament for Coventry 1929–31, and for Derby 1936–70), he sustained his commitment to high-level performance sport, championing its positive internationalism. He was commandant of the 1952 Olympic team in Helsinki in 1952, and in 1960 founded and became the inaugural president of the International Council of Sport and Physical Education (later called the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education), the sport-based body established by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

From A Dictionary of Sports Studies in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

Reference entries