Uniting peacebuilding and social innovation

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Paul and other panelists speaking at the Ashoka U Exchange Dr. Andrew Blum, Dr. Paul Heidebrecht, Dr. Amit Kakkad, Karen Henken, and Dr. Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick speaking on a panel at the Ashoka U Exchange 

The Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement is at the forefront of efforts to unite peace and social innovation, and Director Paul Heidebrecht had the opportunity to speak about this movement in a panel presentation at the 2019 Ashoka U Exchange in San Diego, California.

The Ashoka U Exchange is a learning lab that gathers educators, students, and other higher education professionals from around the world to spark collaboration. “The Exchange brings together leaders who want to inspire and equip changemakers—there is always much to learn and, increasingly, it feels like our experiences in the Centre for Peace Advancement provide us with much to contribute,” noted Paul.

Most obviously, the Centre is home to the Epp Peace Incubator, which provides peace-related startups with the opportunity to receive resources and support, as well as mentorship from established peacebuilding organizations. This unique program was featured as a case study in a presentation on systems change leadership at the Exchange.

Furthermore, the Centre for Peace Advancement’s efforts to elevate PeaceTech ventures related directly to a series of sessions and workshops on “Tech and Changemaking,” an emerging area of focus for Ashoka.

Finally, this semester Paul is piloting a new course called Peacebuilding and Social Innovation for the Peace and Conflict Studies program at Conrad Grebel University College. The aim of the course is for students to learn how to apply social innovation resources to peacebuilding challenges, and to enrich the efforts of social innovators with insights from peacebuilders.

“Like my fellow panelist Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick from the University of San Diego’s Kroc School of Peace Studies, I think that social innovation and peace and justice people should be talking to one another more. It was great to collaborate on a session that made that possible,” Paul said.

Field-building efforts such as this involvement at the Ashoka U Exchange underscores the potential reach of the Centre for Peace Advancement’s approach to catalyzing collaboration with our participants and partners.

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