Advancing peace at—and beyond—Grebel

Paul HeidebrechtI love the name of the initiative that I am a part of: the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement (CPA).

Of course, everybody loves the word peace… at least I haven’t met anyone who is against the idea of peace! And centres of various kinds are rather commonplace in university settings. But not many of them are supported by a financial cooperative that is committed to putting stewardship into action.

Furthermore, I think the last word in our name—advancement—is crucial. We are not under any illusions that we are making or building something from scratch.  Everything we do is framed by the conviction that many hands are already busy with the work of peace. Our job is to advance these efforts further, and the larger project is not ours to finish. 

In addition to our name, we have an inspiring vision and an ambitious mission that is fitting for our context. Given that so many people in the world today experience the absence of peace in their lives, I think we need to find new ways to build peace, and that we need to find new ways to support these efforts. The CPA is well-positioned to address these needs.

We are able to draw on the academic strengths of Conrad Grebel, including, for example, Canada’s oldest Peace and Conflict Studies program. We are also able to tap into the University of Waterloo’s culture of innovation as we pursue our three priorities of research, incubation, and community engagement.

Most importantly, we are able to support and amplify the activities of a diverse and dynamic group of participants: students, faculty, emerging initiatives, and established peace organizations. Making use of our wonderful new space to create opportunities for learning and growth among peace scholars, practitioners, and supporters is what my colleagues and I are focused on every day.

At the end of the day, however, our measure of success will be determined by what happens beyond the walls of the fourth floor at Grebel—in other words, by the ways our participants are better able to advance peace in church and society.

We welcome your questions, your ideas, and your support!

Paul Heidebrecht,
Director, Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement and Adjunct Assistant Professor