Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G6
Director, Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement
and Adjunct Assistant Professor
(519) 885-0220 ext. 24225
Office: CGUC 4203
BASc '94, University of Waterloo
MTh '00, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
PhD '08, Marquette University
Coming to the Centre for Peace Advancement has brought many of the fields Paul Heidebrecht has worked in together. Bringing together the worlds of academia with nongovernmental organizations, innovation with peace and religion, Conrad Grebel and the University of Waterloo with the broader Kitchener-Waterloo region, and beyond. Paul is excited to about the ways that the CPA can build bridges between these different realms:
It will be interesting to see how this new space shapes the work of the peace partners that are filling it, and enhances their efforts to advance peace in the world.
From engineering to peace
You wouldn’t necessarily expect an engineer to be the director of the Centre for Peace Advancement, however Paul’s previous experiences make him a great fit for the role. Paul completed his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Waterloo and subsequently worked for over five years in several different engineering roles. Living at Grebel, Paul was first introduced to both peace and conflict and theological studies, which he continued to learn more about when he spent a co-op term working for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Bangladesh. Reflecting on his work in the engineering field, he feels the experience was extremely valuable in coming to the CPA:
People have great ideas and passion, however they also need the energy, hard work, and commitment it takes to make an idea work.
Understanding this, and bringing it into the context of the Centre allows Paul to help train and guide the emerging initiatives that take up residence in the CPA.
Paul went on to pursue theological studies at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and then worked for MCC once again, this time teaching peace theology in Nigeria. He later earned a PhD in theology and ethics at Marquette University, completing a dissertation on technology and moral formation – perfectly combining his knowledge in engineering with that in theology and peace.
Prior to coming to Conrad Grebel and the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement, Paul served as the director of MCC’s Ottawa Office for five years. In this role he led advocacy efforts on a wide range of international and domestic policy issues, including peacebuilding, humanitarian assistance, food security, refugee resettlement, restorative justice, Indigenous reconciliation, and mining justice. Much of this work was done in collaboration with civil society networks and ecumenical coalitions such as Project Ploughshares, an affiliate member of the CPA.
PACS 301 – Engineering and Peace
PACS 620 – Advocating for Peace
TS 635 – Christian Ethics