Oratorical Contest Winner

Abi Kowalski and Tim Peters, two Grebel residents, participated in the C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest on March 2, 2022. This contest offers students from Mennonite and Brethren in Christ colleges and universities across Canada and the United States an opportunity to discuss peacebuilding and social justice issues on campus. Abi’s poem entitled “Peacemaker” critiqued the notion that peace is a passive process, and challenged listeners to reframe biblical womanhood and peacemaking. Focusing on the biblical character Leah as the object of her poetry, she observed that peacemakers are not those who ignore wrongdoings to avoid conflict, but rather, those who use their voices to speak out against injustices. Abi urged women to have an active role in peacebuilding processes. Tim used the story of biblical actors in 1 Samuel 25 to highlight our humanity and brokenness, and noted that there is room for disagreement and dialogue within peace. Abi placed first with her speech on women and peacemaking, and will go on to represent the Peace and Conflict Studies Department and the Grebel community at a bi-national competition later this year.