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As spring arrives, the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement reflects on the past winter term which was filled with events, opportunities and new journeys. As we continue to the spring term, we would like to share some of the highlights of the Centre and its Participants this winter term.  

The new Restorative Justice (RJ) Specialization for Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) Major students and Diploma for all University of Waterloo students is now available! Throughout the years the Centre for Peace Advancement has hosted many participants with restorative justice expertise, including those working with Grebel Peace Incubator start-ups and Core Collaborators, researchers, and students.  

Without support from our community, none of the Centre’s initiatives would be possible. Donations are a key source of income for the Centre for programs like the Grebel Peace Incubator and the Grebel Gallery. These initiatives allow the Centre to foster peace-centered innovation and community change.  

Earlier this month the Waterloo AI Forum Debate was organized by a student-led initiative called Effective Policy. There were spots for 40 students to share their perspectives on AI with an opportunity to take home a cash prize. Debate motions included AI taxes against unemployment, which military uses of AI should be permitted, how to deal with electoral deepfakes, misinformation and more.  Branka Marijan, a Senior Researcher at Project Ploughshares and a participant of the Centre for Peace Advancement, was one of the judges at this debate.  

Every year thousands of people across the globe go missing due to due to war, natural disasters, and migration. This causes uncertainty, fear and stress for their families and communities. Dima Aldera, the founder of Findsuri, “understands the pain of wondering where a missing family member is and waiting to hear news of their wellbeing.”

Since the inception of the Centre for Peace Advancement in 2014, student engagement has been a critical part of the Centre’s mission to advance collaborative and innovative understandings and practices of peace. The Kindred Peace Innovators Scholarship and Mentoring Program, in collaboration with Kindred Credit Union and The Ripple Effect Education (TREE), a Core Collaborator, gives high school students across Ontario the opportunity to bring their peacebuilding ideas into reality and provide a starting point for making positive change in their communities.  

Hair is an essential part of self-identity for people across the world. Whether it is through length, style, or colour, hair choices are an extension of one's self-identity. This makes places such as barber shops and salons sacred places where people put their hair in the trusted hands of professionals. Unfortunately, not everyone has this luxury, as Black women suffer from the lack of access to who know how to work with afro-curly hair. “I walked into 15 different hair salons and all of them turned me away,” explained Aileen Agada, Co-Founder and CEO of BeBlended. “From my own experience, I could not find a hairstylist because they did not know how to work on Afro curly hair texture.”

“I believe that human beings connect with one another through story” said Anandi Carroll-Woolery, a former X Page participant and this year’s co-ordinator of the program. Stories written in the X Page Workshop begin with a word or a phrase to elicit memory. The images become a space everyone can enter using all their senses, in keeping with the teaching and philosophy of cartoonist Lynda Barry. Detailed memories are written down and form the basis of the story, which eventually becomes a live performance. The X Page Workshop opens a space for refugee and immigrant women to come together and empower one another through narratives. Newcomer women are invited to register for the next workshop by February 28, and all are welcome to see their powerful performances this summer.