Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement’s commitment to thinking differently about social change is the impetus for leading the University of Waterloo’s second foray into the Map the System competition. Student and faculty engagement is up significantly this year as we build on the success of last year’s endeavor.

Map the System Info Session

2019 Map the System participants Stephen Hogg and Hannah Hill share about their experiences at the Centre's Student Info Session.

Map the System is a global competition, organized by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, which challenges students to consider the complexity of addressing social and environmental issues. Participants draw on insights from systems thinking to research and map the underlying problem and solution landscape of a complex social or environmental challenge, and then identify gaps and levers for change.

In addition to competing for prizes at the campus finals in April, one team of students will be selected to represent the University of Waterloo at the Canadian finals in Montreal in May. Two Canadian universities will be chosen there to compete in the global finals at Oxford University in June.


Over 150 students participated in the information session the Centre for Peace Advancement hosted at Grebel last week, including a large group that joined via livestream from Waterloo’s Stratford campus.

Another indicator of the growing level of interest is that the number of faculty embedding Map the System into their courses has quadrupled from last year, with a diverse range of programs represented from the Faculties of Arts, Applied Health Sciences, and Environment. Not only does Map the System inspire and equip future social innovators, but it embraces and enables interdisciplinary approaches to addressing problems that really matter. 

Several University of Waterloo partners have stepped up to support student success in this endeavor, including St. Paul’s Greenhouse, Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment, the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation, and the Conrad School for Entrepreneurship and Business. We are also grateful for the sponsors of our campus final prizes, Kindred Credit Union, Sarona Asset Management, and W Store.

Through establishing strong, collaborative partnerships with partners on campus and beyond, the Centre has played a key role in supporting the process of bringing social innovation to the forefront of the University’s priorities. The Centre for Peace Advancement exists as a bridge between campus and community, and Map the System is just one of many opportunities it provides for students to grow as innovators, leaders, and peacebuilders. In the words of Director Paul Heidebrecht, “Map the System at Waterloo provides a gateway or an entry point into a much larger opportunity to learn and ultimately make an impact.”