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Monday, November 28, 2022

Reflections on MEDA Convention 2022

Earlier this month, Emma Kirke packed into a van along with 5 other Grebelites of varying years and programs and headed down to Lancaster Pennsylvania to attend MEDA’s annual convention. Focused on “Celebrating Entrepreneurship,” the convention highlighted the past successes of the organization, as well as exciting new developments to watch for in the coming years. The Mennonite Development Associates organization has been a part of the international economic development arena for nearly seventy years, working in over the same number of countries. Beginning as a collective of Mennonite businesspeople, the organization focuses on creating business solutions to poverty. 

The Union Co-operative recently took ownership of two apartment buildings, marking their first property purchase as a collective! By protecting these 58 two-bedroom homes Union Co-operative is helping maintain affordable housing in the KW region. Union Co-operative is the first community real estate co-operative in Canada to leverage local investments to preserve affordable housing stock, serving as a model for other communities.

Friday September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, an occasion to publicly commemorate and re-commit to the important work of building towards reconciliation with the diverse First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples who have called Turtle Island home since time immemorial. As a citizen of the settler state, living, working, and studying here, I am reminded on this National Day of Remembrance of the progress made but also of the distance we still have to go as we continually work to meaningfully address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action published in 2015.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Demine Robotics: Where are they now?

Demine Robotics, a former Grebel Peace Incubator start-up stationed in both Cambodia and Canada, has left its mark around the world. With the goal of accelerating the clearance of landmine-infested land, Richard Yim, CEO & co-founder, Jared Baribeau, CTO & co-founder, have safeguarded 100,000 m2 (25 acres) of land containing explosive weapons in Cambodia.

On Sunday, July 24, 10 refugee and immigrant women from the Waterloo Region performed their personal narratives in front of family, friends, and community members in the Chapel at Conrad Grebel University College. By developing their writing and performance skills throughout a 12-week workshop facilitated by local, professional artists, these women were given the opportunity to showcase their narratives in front of a live audience.

As COVID restrictions have lifted, the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement has become a livelier place with old faces returning and new ones joining. Among them are a number of students hired for co-op, internship, and volunteer positions by the Centre for Peace Advancement and its participants, particularly The Ripple Effect Education (TREE), Project Ploughshares, and ESGTree.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) starts from the ground-up. This is why community-based research is vital in working toward these 2030 goals, as outlined by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement has teamed up with the Centre for Community-Based Research (CCBR) to create resources on localizing the SDGs for grassroots communities, small start-ups, and community-based organizations.

When the COVID-19 pandemic drove people around the world to shelter in their homes, building closures prompted reflection about what it means to be a church when the congregation is unable to gather. Systems mapping research developed in summer 2021 by Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (MCEC) and the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement reveals that faith-based relationships extend well beyond the structures that house them.