Peacebuilders' Inspiration Toolkit

Blue circle with peace sign and "Peacebuilders' Inspiration Toolkit" text

Dear peacebuilders,

In these anxious, overwhelming times, we all need a bit of inspiration.

The Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement is thrilled to present our contribution to Kindred Credit Union's #12Days4Good campaign: the Peacebuilders' Inspiration Toolkit! Kindred has chosen 12 organizations to become "Do Gooders" and do acts of good in the community over 12 days. The Centre kicks off the 2020 campaign, releasing this toolkit on December 7.

You may be saying to yourself, "But I'm not a peacebuilder… I?" If you are working toward making the world a better, more peaceful place, whether that is in seemingly small or big ways, you can benefit from this resource!  

The Centre for Peace Advancement has decided to gather together sources of inspiration from participants to create a collective resource for changemakers needing encouragement in these uncertain times. Be inspired by the poems, songs, art pieces, photography and more, recommended by those working to build peace in our community. May this resource—made by peacebuilders, for peacebuilders—bring you encouragement as you work for peace and justice in your profession and/or everyday life.

Warm regards,

Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement

Download a PDF version of this guide to share with friends and colleagues!

Table of Contents:

For the Anxious Trailblazer

For the Burnt Out Activist

For the Overwhelmed Empath

For the Frustrated Changemaker

For the Joyful Labourer

For the Anxious Trailblazer:

Katie Gingerich portrait on blue circle


Katie Gingerich offers a poem

Executive Director of The Ripple Effect Education (TREE)

Source of inspiration: “Untitled,” Clarice Goetz (unpublished and shared with permission of the author)



“Sometimes the inner work required in peacebuilding feels ever-changing. There is always something to learn or somewhere to grow. This poem reminds me to embrace my whole self through that process; where I've been and who I'm becoming.” – Katie Gingerich

For the Burnt Out Activist:

Marlene epp portrait on blue circle


Marlene Epp offers a song

CPA Research Fellow, Professor of History and Peace and Conflict Studies

Source of inspiration: “Shine Your Light (Song By Refugees) | Ricky Kej | United Nations Refugee Agency | UNESCO MGIEP,” Ricky Kej


“This year is the 75th anniversary of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Included in an hour-long celebratory concert on YouTube, this song composed and performed by refugees titled ‘Shine Your Light’ is a reminder of the resilience, courage and hope that refugees exemplify. I shared this with my students in the last week of a course on Refugees and Forced Migration. It is good inspiration and advice for all of us entering a pandemic winter.” – Marlene Epp


Ben Skinner portrait on a blue circle


Ben Skinner offers a poem

Multimedia Content Creator & Website Manager at Project Ploughshares, Master of Arts in Global Governance student

Source of inspiration: “Caged Bird,” Maya Angelou  



“One of my favourite poems, “Caged Bird,” is an incredible artistic manifestation by a brilliant person of colour that stands strong as our world grapples with questions of equity, reconciliation, and decolonization for groups who have traditionally been oppressed and silenced. As a transgender, indigenous person of colour, I imagine the release of the caged bird as a metaphor for the triumph of equality which people like myself await - a freedom for people to live as our authentic selves, without fear, without regret, and without obstacle. An important aspect is the metaphor of the cage; cages are made with a door to be opened, and this is my point of hope. Freedom in the poem remains possible for the caged bird, and so too does freedom remain possible for us. I look forward to this dream coming true.” – Ben Skinner

For the Overwhelmed Empath

Portrait of Thomas in front of blue circle     

Thomas Fraser offers a poem

Map the System Campus Lead, Master of Peace and Conflict Studies Student

Source of inspiration: Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved, Gregory Orr



“Through such poems I am reminded of one of the deepest possible wellsprings of human renewal: the ever-present promise of redemptive love, of life sprung green from the fallen seed and truth distilled from the depths of suffering.

May we together discover the Great Way.

May peace prevail upon earth.

May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

Amen.” – Thomas Fraser


Michelle portrait on a blue circle      

Michelle Jackett offers a poem

CPA Coordinator, Adjunct Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies

Source of Inspiration: “The Peace of Wild Things,” Wendell Berry




“This poem reminds me to continually give attention to the peace of wild things and to remember where my freedom is found. I was first introduced to Wendell Berry when a friend dragged me to hear him deliver a Jefferson Lecture in D.C. in 2012. I was immediately struck by his prophetic words. Although he read off a page for an hour and a half, I had never been so engaged in a lecture. Since then, I have continued to nourish myself with the words and ideas of Wendell Berry, through both his poetry and prose.” – Michelle Jackett


Victoria Lumax portrait           

Victoria Lumax offers an interview

CPA Communications Assistant, Honours Arts Student (Majors in Peace and Conflict Studies and English)

Source of Inspiration:  “Sam Is Autistic. Matt Aged out of Foster Care. They're in Love and Homeless,” Invisible People



“In my studies, it’s easy to get stuck in talking about justice as an abstract concept or virtue. Interviews done by the YouTube channel Invisible People, which shares the incredible stories of people who are homeless, bring me back to earth, both breaking my heart for the way systems can make people vulnerable and inspiring me for the way humankind can make meaning despite unbelievable hardship. We’re all not so different, and this reminder of a shared humanity I constantly need as I strive to work for peace well.” – Victoria Lumax

For the Frustrated Changemaker:

Branka's portrait on a blue circle


Branka Marijan offers quotes

Senior Researcher at Project Ploughshares, CPA Research Fellow

Source of inspiration: Writings of Seamus Heaney




“Peacebuilders are often seen as naive. For me Heany's quotes capture that this isn't the case. It's just that peacebuilders know that all the effort is better than the alternative and understand that to work together for more peaceful relations though challenging is worthwhile. It's not easy work but it is necessary. So indeed, to hope in Heaney's sense is to have a sophisticated sense of how to be political.” – Branka Marijan


Paul's portrait on top of a blue circle    

Paul Heidebrecht offers a podcast

CPA Director, Adjunct Professor in Peace and Conflict Studies

Source of inspiration: “The Inner Landscape of Beauty,” On Being with Krista Tippett (Podcast)



“One of my favourite poets is John O’Donohue—his poems have both consoled and inspired me at some of the most challenging moments of life. The depth of O’Donohue’s insights around imagination, creativity, and spirituality are also found in his prose, but I was introduced to his writing through (not surprisingly, for those who know me) a podcast. Once you start listening to this entrancing interview, I don’t think you will be able to stop! During these interesting times I am especially appreciative of O’Donohue’s ability to bring ancient mystical wisdom to my modern confusions and longings.” – Paul Heidebrecht

For the Joyful Labourer:

poratit of hannah superimposed on a blue circle


Hannah Bernstein offers a photo

PeaceTech Living-Learning Community Peer Leader, Nanotechnology Engineering student

Source of inspiration: “Rings” (Photo credit: Hannah Bernstein)


       11 tween girls extending their arms to form a circle, each wearing a titanium ring

“I took this photo after leading a group of grade 11 girls interested in STEM in a titanium anodization workshop. Remembering this moment makes me feel inspired and empowered, thinking about the motivating experience I had learning from and teaching this group of young women. We all shared the common desire to pursue STEM and use Tech for Good, despite the individual challenges we faced. When I feel discouraged, I think back to this moment and remember why I strive for Peace while pursuing Tech.” – Hannah Bernstein



Michelle portrait on a blue circle


Michelle Jackett offers a performance

CPA Coordinator, Adjunct Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies

Source of inspiration: “The Schuyler Sisters,” Hamilton




This song, and Hamilton in general, reminds me that I am part of history in the making in my small way. It reminds me not to waste my chance to advocate for and live into important social change for fear of standing out. Angelica Schuyler’s character seems to know what this was like, as she is portrayed to be a feminist who desires to see women part of the national narrative. – Michelle Jackett


Portrait of Joseph superimposed on a blue circle


Joseph Tafese offers an art piece

PeaceTech Living-Learning Community Peer Leader, Software Engineering Student

Source of Inspiration: “He is Risen. Empty Tomb With Shroud. Crucifixion at Sunrise,” copyright Tatyana Sidyukova



Rags on a stone on the tomb. In the distance, out the tomb, 3 crosses can be seen surrounded by light."’Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ John 15:13 NIV

I find the calling to love so deeply to be a prime inspiration to go the extra mile, even when it storms, and the image shows us one such example. It changes my perspective on why I strive to do good from having to do good, to wanting to do good.” – Joseph Tafese