Introducing four new Research Fellows at the Centre for Peace Advancement

Thursday, November 23, 2023

The Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement at Conrad Grebel University College is welcoming four new Research Fellows who are dedicated to cultivating peace through research. Within the Centre’s vibrant environment, their research serves as a vital bridge between academic inquiry and practical peacebuilding, augmenting the Centre's ongoing contributions to collaborative peace initiatives.

Meet the Centre for Peace Advancement’s newest research fellows and learn about their impactful endeavors in the pursuit of peace:

Rich Janzen

Rich Janzen is the Executive Director of the Centre for Community Based Research (CCBR). With a PhD in Community Psychology, his academic pursuits have also seen him assume the role of adjunct professor at Conrad Grebel University College and Renison University College as well as a part-time Associate Field Education Professor at the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University. Through his dedication to research, Janzen has been the driving force behind numerous community-based projects that tackle issues related to refugees, mental health, disabilities, family support, and more. His efforts have resulted in the publication of more than 185 technical research papers, 45 academic publications, and presentations at more than 80 conferences, aiming to emphasize the importance of collaboration in collective impact.

Eric Lepp

Eric Lepp, Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Grebel, delves into the intricate dynamics in spaces of contact, endeavoring to construct communities that include the “other” in conflict-affected societies. His focus extends to counter-cultural, resistant, and unconventional spaces where the vision of peace emerges against division. Lepp's interdisciplinary research, featured in several journals and academic publications, sheds light on the nuanced pathways to peace in divided settings. For example, he recently returned from a conference in Belfast, Ireland, where he presented his investigation into the significance of graffiti as insight into the local dynamics, power distributions, and competing imaginaries of post-conflict order.

Johonna McCants-Turner

Johonna McCants-Turner is an Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Grebel whose work examines the crossroads of restorative and transformative justice, narrative peacebuilding, and contemporary social movements, particularly looking at how Black women and youth resist various forms of violence. Her research makes inquiries into the shaping of narratives on violence and safety in public discourse and policy, as well as the impact of Christian theologies on resistance to violence and injustice in the Global South and North American diasporas. She is currently working on a book project that explores the intersections of restorative justice and womanist theology. Beyond academia, she actively contributes to social justice organizations and serves on the advisory board of Life Comes From It, a U.S.-based grantmaking circle for restorative justice and Indigenous peacemaking initiatives led by Black, Indigenous, and Women of Colour.

Reina Neufeldt

Reina Neufeldt is an Associate Professor and Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies at Grebel. Neufeldt investigates ethics, engagement, conflict transformation, and local peacebuilding in deeply divided and inequitable settings. With a diverse background in peacebuilding practice, including her role as a Peacebuilding Technical Advisor for Catholic Relief Services in Manila and Baltimore, she has co-authored two foundational peacebuilding training resources. Her current focus is on understanding Mennonites in Canadian settler colonization and decolonization processes. She has also engaged in community-based research in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti and Waterloo, alongside teaching courses that underscore the importance of ethics, reflective practice, and peacebuilding.

Engaging with the Centre for Peace Advancement provides Research Fellows opportunities to advance their work through collaborative research projects and community engagement opportunities facilitated by the Centre. Proximity to the Grebel Gallery, the Grebel Peace Incubator, meeting rooms, a classroom, and office space benefits their ability to work closely with others.

Other Research Fellows at the Centre include Brice Balmer, Nathan Funk, Branka Marijan, Ernie Regehr, and Jessica West. Explore the research highlights page on the Centre for Peace Advancement website to read some of the publications released by members of the Centre’s research community and better understand the significance of their contributions to peace research.