Information for

Grebel Now Fall 2014

Advancing Peace is What We Do   
One Child can Change the World  
I have a Name   
The Community that Reads Together   
Student Life  
Sound in the Land   
Music News   
Advancing Peace Together  
Tools for Change  
The Groundwork for Building Peace   
Lebold Endowment reaches $1 Million   
Discovering the Secrets of Tomorrow  
Sixties Era Reunion  
The Results are in  
The Music of Life - Carol Ann Weaver   
Lighting of a Fire - Jim Pankratz   
The Dean’s Pick Essay contest
A Shameful Wound of our Time  
Disability Discourse in South Asia  
A Positive Public Image in Crises   
The Beginnings of Snapchat   
Closing the Next Chapter Campaign   
Growing your Gifts   
Grebel Team wins at MEDA   
Deepening Community  
Peace Challenge Winners   
Graduate Studies  
Faculty Activities   
Mennonite Studies   
Online Lectures       
Calendar of Events   

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Advancing Peace is What We Do  

President's photoby Susan Schultz Huxman, President

When I first arrived at Conrad Grebel three years ago and made the rounds in the wider community to introduce myself and the College, I often heard this refrain: “Oh, so, you’re with the Peace College.” If people know only one thing about Grebel, it is that we do peace. I soon came to embrace this label enthusiastically.
At a time when marketing gurus say it’s a rare and precious thing for universities to have a distinctive and attractive niche, we are lucky indeed to “have a corner” on peace education and community building in a cluttered university marketplace. Recently, we completed extensive survey research for strategic planning purposes and our consultants reinforced this distinctive quality about Grebel with numbers and testimony from folks far and wide. Their take-away? Grebel has “a golden brand” in “the golden horseshoe” and beyond, around active peacemaking, community-building, and compassionate service - intersecting core values we have long championed.
As a friend of Grebel, I know this peace edge is not news to you. And yet it’s easy to take these vital signs for granted. Here’s an illustrative story: There are two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way. He nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” The two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and asks “What the heck is water?”
Lest we take our basic sustenance—our peace message—for granted, I’d like to share with you a top ten list of ways we’ve been awash in innovative and exciting streams of peace:

1. The MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement, our new, beautiful 6,000 square foot entire fourth floor was made possible by a transformative gift of $1 million from the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union, and another half million by a lot of Grebel supporters. The Centre hosted a grand open house on September 21 with 250 people taking part in family-friendly activities to advance peace at home and around the world. The Centre’s inaugural director, Dr. Paul Heidebrecht (B.A. Engineering, Waterloo; M.A. AMBS; Ph.D. Theology & Ethics, Marquette; previously MCC Ontario Director, Ottawa) was on hand to explain the special community engagement mission of the Centre, introduce our peace partners, agencies, and start-up peace entrepreneurs and take part in a creative array of “peace offering” activities which included making art, music, media, stories, and food to advance peace!

2. Malala’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, is in discussion with Grebel on leveraging a peace partnership between Canada and Pakistan to develop curriculum for peace education in schools where conflict is an ever-present reality. With the recent news that seventeen year old Malala Yousafzai is the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace prize, her story, along with that of her father’s story, shines a brighter light on important peace initiatives for children. The connection between the Malala Foundation and Grebel would not have been possibleCPA opening without Grebel Master of Peace and Conflict Studies graduate, Jahan Zeb (MPACS 2014), who is our liaison between Grebel and Swat Valley, Pakistan on issues of global peace education.

3. Lisa Schirch (BA 1990), Research Professor, Centre for Justice & Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, received Grebel’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Service Award. A former Fulbright Fellow in East and West Africa, Lisa has conducted conflict assessments in over 20 countries, published dozens of articles and 5 books, including her most recent book: Conflict Assessment and Peacebuilding Planning: toward a Participatory Approach to Human Security (2013). Her current work takes her to the Pentagon each week to teach peacebuilding to military generals. She told students at Community Supper that life and learning at Grebel and UWaterloo was formative to the person she has become today. And that while her image has changed (from tie dye and combat boots at Grebel to suits and heels at the Pentagon,) her message has stayed the same: “Peace is both a moral and strategic necessity in our world today.”

4. We celebrated four decades of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Conrad Grebel in August. We invited all faculty and administrators who were involved in the launch and management of PACS from 1977 until now to discuss, reflect, debate and share stories of its trajectory for an oral history project. The PACS program at Grebel was the first of its kind in Canada and is now one of the largest peace studies programs in North America, averaging 1200 undergraduate course enrollments per year, with over 200 students pursuing a PACS undergraduate academic plan, a graduate program admitting 15-20 new students a year, a highly regarded Certificate Program in Conflict Management with over 500 annual enrollments, as well as the sponsor of a Peace Camp, and other periodic annual events such as the International Day of Peace.

5. We honoured our first graduating class of Master of Peace and Conflict Studies students in April. Eleven graduates walked across the stage in a milestone event in the life of graduate education at Grebel (MPACS is our second graduate program after Theological Studies), and in the reputational growth of the PACS department at Grebel and the University of Waterloo.

6. We conferred our first honorary Doctorate of Divinity to John Paul Lederach of the University of Notre Dame at Convocation. Dr. Lederach is internationally recognized for his groundbreaking work in peace and justice from a Mennonite perspective.

7. Jody Williams, the 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate known for getting governments around the world to eradicate landmines, was the keynote speaker at the international Peace & Justice Society Association conference that Grebel hosted last October. In her brazen rhetorical style, she reminded us that: “Peace work is not for wimps!”

8. The performance of Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem” was our largest 50th anniversary event of the year, and beautifully combined impressive music with artistic peace education. Over 900 concert goers came to Kitchener to hear four choirs and an orchestra, directed by new Grebel Music Professor, Mark Vuorinen. This was a momentous collaboration of PACS and Music on a large public stage for the Waterloo Region community.

9. The Grebel Gallery in the MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement opened in May, featuring the story of Bertha von Suttner, the first female recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. That exhibit was made possible by the contacts of Project Ploughshares, our partners in the Centre for Peace Advancement, and Canada’s largest ecumenical research agency, with the Austrian Embassy. An Austrian duo performed commissioned classical pieces that supported the von Suttner story and the Austrian Ambassador, Arno Riedel, came to this special peace and music program to bring greetings and congratulations.

10. A new student peace club, “Rotaract,”—a junior Rotary Chapter devoted to peace issues from a business perspective, is up and running at Grebel this year under the direction of student Tim Souza, with two dozen members. This club joins the long established undergraduate Peace Club, graduate level Peace Society, and Waterloo’s Public Interest Research Group. Several of these groups interface with the Centre for Peace Advancement.

Rotary Scholarhsip winners

Rotary Scholarship winners Shinjita Alum and Marg Van Herk-Paradis, Rotary
Member and Grebel Donor George Schroeder, Grebel’s PACS Rotary Rep
Lowell Ewert, Rotaract Members Jesse Yantzi and Tim Souza

I invite you to read other inspiring stories of our mission “to seek wisdom, nurture faith and pursue peace” from faculty, staff, and students in this, our inaugural issue of the new in-depth magazine style, Grebel Now! And please stay in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you!

I am reminded of the precious gift “free speech” is to us—a gift we sometimes take for granted. Not so for peace activists, such as the brave and articulate Malala. After being shot by Taliban extremists on a school bus for insisting that girls be educated like boys in Pakistan, she took no revenge. She said simply:

“I don’t hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hand and he stands in front of me, I would not shoot him. This is the forgiveness that I have learned from my father and my mother. My soul tells me: Be peaceful and love everyone…. I have the right of education. I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to speak up!”

Peace Quest

Emily Mininger and Jamie Swift are starting a PeaceQuest affiliate in Waterloo - a grassroots organization dedicated to stimulating conversation about peace and Canada’s role in peacemaking during the WW I centenaries

One Child can Change the World

A large framed picture of Malala has long been displayed in the Peace and Conflict Studies Department office at Conrad Grebel University College. If people didn’t notice it before, they certainly are noticing it today. The 2014 Nobel Peace prize winners, Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, one Muslim and the other Hindu, exemplify the mission of peace education, demonstrating that individuals can make the world a better place. Both Yousafzai and Satyarthi are brave visionaries struggling against the suppression of children and young people, and are fighting for the right of all children to education.

“I’m excited about the fact that Malala was named the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize,” said Lowell Ewert, Director of the Peace and Conflict Studies program. “She deserves the award because of her inspiring commitment to peace. She also is proof that young people can have an enormous impact. Secondly, over the last few months, we have been working with Malala’s father, Ziauddin. He’s a genuine peace advocate who has been talking with us about developing some collaborative work together. It’s inspiring to work with him and to be engaged in these conversations.”

Conrad Grebel is pleased to have connected with Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala’s father, on a number of occasions, including as part of a large public address in November. Ewert is currently teaching a graduate course in “Building Civil Society.” In an effort to apply their skills in a tangible way, his students are working on a major project to prepare the primary background documents necessary for possibly establishing an NGO called Global Peace Council of Canada (GPCC). This is an initiative of Ziauddin Yousafzai’s and will be affiliated with Global Peace Council of Pakistan. They anticipate that the proposed NGO will be involved in promoting peace education, primarily for schools in regions of conflict.

Recent Master of Peace and Conflict Studies graduate, Jahan Zeb has been the catalyst in bringing the GPCC project to Grebel, fully utilizing Grebel’s peace background and infrastructure. With the establishment of the MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement this year, Conrad Grebel has worked towards creating a hub of entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary collaboration, fostering new ways to advance peace in a conflict-filled world. Zeb has a desk in the Epp Peace Incubator, a vital part of the Centre for Peace Advancement that provides an open and collaborative space for peace practitioners. With the goal of bringing occupants of the floor together in an incubator space for discussion and a cross-fertilization of peace, this model is already showing fruitfulness as the GPCC begins to take shape.

Malal's Father

Lowell Ewert, Ziauddin Yousafzai, Jahan Zeb, Susan Schultz Huxman

“Malala’s Nobel Peace award means a new world of peace and hope to me, my family and our people,” remarked Jahan Zeb. “Our families in Canada and Pakistan are celebrating this historic moment of our lifetime by sharing congratulatory messages and praying for peace. This award has reinforced confidence in young people and in women and will make our world more peaceful and stable. Insha’Allah!”

“The MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement is well-positioned to incubate practical applications of Malala’s vision,” explained Paul Heidebrecht, Director of the Centre. “We look forward to helping the Global Peace Council Canada build on its connections with Ziauddin to enhance peacebuilding efforts in the Swat Valley of Pakistan.”

Conrad Grebel celebrates with Malala and her mission of peace and education for all. As Malala has said, “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” She has shown this to be true.

On November 12, Mr. Yousafzai  addressed a full house at the Theatre of the Arts on the topic "Teaching Peace in the Face of Danger." You can see this presentation on

I Have a Name...

By Lowell Ewert

Lowell EwertLowell Ewert is Director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Conrad Grebel.

The kidnapping by the Nigerian militant group, Boko Haram, of 276 young women on April 14, 2014 remains horrifying, even if ongoing negotiations eventually result in their release. I cannot imagine the fear and helplessness that Amina, Deborah, Awa, Naomi and Esther, just five of these kidnapped young women, felt as they were forced from their families, not knowing their fate or whether they would see their loved ones or homes again.

It is inconceivable not just that this kind of thing could happen in 2014, but that it was publicly justified by the leader of the Boko Haram who unapologetically threatened, when talking about Saraya, Hauwa, Ruth, Grace and Deborah – “I will marry out a female at [age] 12. I will do the same for a nine-year old girl like it was done on my own mother…. I am the one that captured your girls and I will sell them in the market. I have my own market of selling people; it is the owner that instructed me to sell. Yes, I will sell the girls, people, I am selling the girls like Allah said, until we soak the ground of Nigeria with infidel’s blood.”1

The sheer number of young women kidnapped is as hard to comprehend as the coldness of the act. Numbers are impersonal. Numbers mask the fact that behind each numeral is a person - a daughter or sister - who was raised in a family, loved by parents, relatives and friends, and whose absence is the cause of unbearable anguish. We can be forgiven to think that the accomplishments of visionary pioneers such as Bertha Von Suttner whose landmark book Lay Down Your Arms in 1889 inspired the peace movement and led to her being named the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905, have come to naught.

But something profoundly hopeful has occurred over the past century. Unlike over a hundred years ago, today the Boko Haram is not only on the wrong side of history, but is generating world-wide condemnation. The revulsion against the inhumanity of kidnapping and selling girls for $12 has crossed political divisions, national borders, ethnic, racial and religious boundaries. The growing clamor we hear today from all quarters around the world is demanding respect for the rights of these innocent girls. It was not always this way.

Early in the 20th century in Canada, Emily Murphy was repeatedly challenged as she tried to carry out the duties of being a judge in a court of law. She could not be a judge, it was argued, because only “persons” could be judges, and women were not “persons.” The Canada Supreme Court on April 24, 1928 affirmed this proposition that women were indeed not persons.2 It wasn’t until over a year later on October 18, 1929, that women were finally determined by the British Privy Council to be persons under Canadian law. 3

During the Nuremberg war crimes trials following World War II in which Nazi atrocities were prosecuted, Hermann Goering complained that his rights were violated as he alleged that he was being charged with offenses that were in fact not a crime when committed. When called to account for the abuses against civilians he participated in fostering, he stated “But that was our right! We were a sovereign State and that was strictly our business.” Although his claims were repugnant, he was technically correct as under prevailing written international law at the time, the individual was deemed to be an object, or essentially property of the country of citizenship.

The adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948, turned this notion that people were considered to be property on its head, and placed the humanity and dignity of all human kind into the center of political discourse. “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law,” Article 6 of the Declaration reads. No longer are human beings considered to be property. They are people, “entitled to inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.” Human rights treaties, with their goal to turn the peace ideals of persons like Bertha Von Suttner into reality, enshrined into international law, for the first time in international legal history, the principle that everyone, with no exceptions, is entitled to be treated with dignity. And dignity always begins with a name.

One of the most searing memories I have from the international development work I have done over the years took place in June 1999 when I visited Kosovo, following the end of the Kosovo war. During the refugee crisis that was precipitated by the war, as Kosovar refugees were fleeing Serbian controlled areas, the authorities confiscated every piece of paper that the refugees were carrying that had a name on it – passports, birth certificates, school grade reports, drivers licenses, insurance forms, etc. – and destroyed these papers. When refugees returned home following the end of the war, many returned with not one official piece of paper with their name on it.

While sitting in the Human Rights Office in Pristina, Kosovo, one day, I overheard a father explaining to a human rights worker that his son had been killed while fleeing Kosovo. The father had buried his son and now wanted to have him legally declared to be dead. The problem was that all the father had to prove his son had lived was a single photo that he showed to the human rights worker. All documentation that had his son’s name on it had been confiscated and destroyed by the authorities. How do you declare that someone is legally dead when you can’t prove that they have ever lived? How do you prove a life when you can’t prove that they ever had a name?

When we celebrate the accomplishments of Nobel Peace prize winners like Bertha von Suttner, and more recently by Malala Yousafzai, let us not forget that the work of peace is unfinished. The conflicts in the Ukraine, Syria, Nigeria, Congo, Sudan and even with our own Aboriginal communities in Canada should challenge us not to get too smug about how civilized as a global society we have become. But let us not get discouraged either. Where you stand determines what you see. If our vision is simply looking around at the violations of human rights that still happen today, we can lose heart. Too many people still suffer from violence, conflict and injustice not of their own doing. If however, we stand with history, and take the long view, the change is breathtaking. In 1905, in 1928, and in 1948, people were understood under international law to essentially be property. Today, anyone who tries to make this claim is globally condemned, and denounced as a criminal, not as a patriot. These changes in how people are viewed politically over the last 60 years have been more profound than anything that happened in the previous 600 years. This is inspiring.
And it all begins with a name – by humanizing conflicts, war, injustice – something that Von Suttner did in the early 1900s and that Malala Yousafzai has done more recently. “I am Malala,” was her response to those who tried to silence her. I would like to conclude these comments by shamelessly adapting the words of the Prophet Isaiah.

Take heart, even if you are in fear, Mary, Awa, Asabe, Tabitha, Kume and your over 200 other friends who have been taken by the Boko Haram. Because the global community knows your name. When you pass through these outrageous violations of human rights you are now experiencing, you will not be alone. The fires of evil and injustice will not erase your dignity, your humanity or memory. Your name will be remembered.
In this, there is hope. In this act of saying a name, something sacred happens.

1 “To end global poverty, educate girls,” by Maria Arana, writer-at-large for The Washington Post, Waterloo Region Record, Saturday, May 17, 2014, page A15.
3 viewed May 17, 2014.

The Austrian Ambassador Arno Riedel visited Grebel

The Austrian Ambassador Arno Riedel (right) visited Grebel this past May, to view the “Life of Peace” exhibit and listen to a commissioned concert by Austrian musicians. Over one hundred years ago, Bertha von Suttner, an avid Austrian pacifist, became the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Born in 1843, Suttner was in many ways ahead of her time as the figurehead of a world-wide peace movement. As a writer and lecturer, she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for her most famous novel Lay Down your Arms.


The Community that Reads Together

By Ally Siebert, 3rd year English Student Indian Horse Book Cover

We can all acknowledge that reading has benefit unto itself, even though many university students lament the amount of reading we do for school. But the ever-growing movement of shared reading, in which a small group, school, neighbourhood, or nation is involved in reading and discussing the same book, carries with it the ability to transport a diverse group of people into a singular, shared story.

In November of last year, a committee was formed with the task of finding a book that could act as a part of the Grebel community’s story for the 2014-2015 school year. The idea? To select a book, send it out to all residents, associates, faculty, and staff to read over the summer, and use it to reconnect when gathering again in September.

The goal of the Grebel Reads program is to provide a connection point for people at the beginning of the school year and to continue building community throughout the year by discussing larger issues reflected in the book. The selection committee, headed by Student Services, included four students, a faculty member, three staff members, and a veritable diversity of opinions. We solicited and received countless submissions of favourite novels and inspiring stories from first year and upper year students, from students on co-op (even some at placements halfway around the world), and from staff and faculty as well.

Logistically, we were looking for a book of medium length, and something accessible to many different reading and interest levels. Beyond that, we debated fiction vs. non-fiction, classics vs. new releases, and which of Grebel’s values we were interested in discussing further through the book: Peace? Social Justice? Spirituality?

In January 2014, after much discussion and review of our hopes for the book, the novel Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese was chosen for the inaugural Grebel Reads program.

Indian Horse tells the story of Saul Indian Horse, an Ojibway man reliving his traumatic childhood experience of being removed from his family and traditional way of life and taken to a Canadian Indian residential school. Between the abuse and the loneliness, Saul struggles to make it through those early years. However, in fast-moving descriptive scenes and detailed narrative, he vividly explains the moment of his salvation: not from the assimilation attempts of the school, but from the ice hockey he learns to play on the school’s outdoor rink. Hockey serves as an escape from his everyday neglect and abuse but also acts as a release for the anger built up in Saul because of his disconnectedness from family, home, and identity. It proves to be something at which he excels, and he makes it as far as an NHL team. But while hockey may be used to stave off the anger, it can’t take it away. Eventually, he winds up in a rehab treatment program working through an alcohol addiction; this is where the novel begins.

The Grebel community has really soaked it in. First year science and business student Sarah Wright says, “Though at times it was a heavy read, I enjoyed Indian Horse and the insight it gave to a dark, but very real, part of Canadian history.” It is a powerful story, but does not leave a reader feeling hopeless. As Sarah puts it, “The message of true healing being found in community was also very relevant and provided hope even in the midst of all his adversaries.” Other students have said that it was the first time they had been able to put a face to the history that has only recently started to be understood.

And it’s true. The importance of storytelling cannot be underestimated. In the past few years, accounts have been emerging from the survivors of Canadian Indian residential schools and what we are hearing is often unspeakable. Saul Indian Horse may be a fictional character, but the story is full of truth. Even as far as the connection to hockey goes, famous NHL players like Fred Sasakamoose learned the game in a residential school, as did Willie Littlechild, commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that is responsible for much of the work in bringing countless testimonies into public consciousness. We hope that in reading Indian Horse, the Grebel community can also share in the experience of reconciling Canada’s shameful past with what we hope will be a very different future.

Already this year, the Grebel community has had time for shared reading and some introductory conversation about the novel and about the issues that surround it. These conversations will continue in the next few months with a dessert night hosted byStudents Reading faculty and staff, and a winter term weekend of exploring history from an alternative perspective, learning from speakers who can bring the story to life, and perhaps even playing a little hockey.

It is our hope that the community that reads together not only sticks together, but also learns to enter the story and become part of its next chapter.

Music News

Tim Corlis
New to Grebel’s Music faculty, Tim Corlis was invited as a guest artist to compose and direct a commissioned work for the Songs of the Soul Concert in New York City. The commission celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the (1) Gandharva Loka World Music Stores. The performing ensemble was the Gandharva Loka Orchestra, a consortium of professional musicians from all over the world who come together to perform music honouring the life and legacy of peace visionary, composer, musician, and spiritual leader, Sri Chinmoy.Tim Corlis and choir

Tim also anticipates an interesting bicultural collaboration on November 15 where his commissioned piece for the Mennonite Central Committee Manitoba’s 50th celebration will feature the Faith & Life Men’s and Women’s choirs and a First Nations group called the Buffalo Gals.

Maisie SumGamelan concert
In her second year as a Music faculty member, Maisie Sum has continued to showcase the Grebel Gamelan, introducing it to many new audiences. The crowds that gather after each concert indicate a strong desire to know more about this Balinese set of instruments, and audience members are always welcome to test it out. With great success, Maisie has also taken over the task of arranging free Noon Hour Concerts held in the chapel throughout the year (2).

Mark VuorinenMark during choral day
Also in his second year as Assistant Music Professor at Grebel, Mark Vuorinen has expertly seized the baton and consistently shows his proficiency at conducting. As director of the Chamber Choir, he most recently took the group to Toronto where they performed at Church of the Redeemer with the Cardinal Consort of Viols. (4) Mark also led a group of 300 high school students for their region wide Choral Day.(3)
For music students and alumni who graduated 3 years ago or less, Mark is running a Trio Prize contest, which entails setting to music a suite of sonnets from the forthcoming collection Trio by Sarah Tolmie.

waterloo choir

Discovering the Secrets of Tomorrow

“May you dream and may you live now by way of the dream,” commissioned John Paul Lederach, keynote speaker at Grebel’s 2014 Convocation. His inspiring words encouraged over 100 graduating students to live in the here and now. “So here you are, ending and commencing,” he continued. “Before you the choice: To beautify and soften, to touch the moral imagination of the poet dreamer, to live into the here and now, surrounded by a cloud of witness. To bring into existence that which does not yet exist. To be true to yourself, to let the dream fly, to live the eternal now, the moment where you see and touch the human character you have been gifted.”

John Paul Lederach was the recipient of Grebel’s first honorary doctorate, given in the 50th year of the College’s existence. Lederach is Professor of International Peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, and concurrently Distinguished Scholar at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, VA. “Lederach is an exemplary scholar and innovative peace practitioner on the world stage,” said Grebel President Susan Schultz ConvocationHuxman. “He is a natural fit for Grebel’s first honorary doctoral degree because he embodies the best of our signature academic areas, as well as emphasizing the importance of Anabaptist/Mennonite education, and is an inspiring teacher and storyteller.”

As always, Convocation was a joyous event, as the Grebel community celebrated the achievements of undergraduate resident students, Peace and Conflict Studies students, and Music students. The beloved tradition of sharing each student’s future plans brought laughter and accolades, with students getting married, traveling, returning to school, starting careers, or job hunting. Music grad, Jane Honek represented the class as valediction, asking her fellow graduates to “Think about what Grebel has taught you over your years here.” She continued, “Things that Grebel has taught us will help us on this next journey we take as young adults. We may be moving on but that doesn’t mean Grebel has to be left Jane Honek, the class as valediction behind. It wasn’t the fieldstone walls or carpeted floors that inspired us - it was the people. The faculty, staff, students, friends - everyone who became a part of the community and taught us new things to help us on our journey. And we will thank those people every day as we continue to carve our own paths. As you start your next chapter you will learn and grow and become part of something new to create and nurture. Your new journey will lead you to many wonderful and imaginative places. And on these journeys we will discover those secrets of tomorrow.”

Degrees were conferred upon students graduating with a Master of Theological Studies and the first graduates from the Master in Peace and Conflict Studies were acknowledged. Rachel Reist represented the grad students as valedictorian, describing our “community of love, friendship, intellectual discussion, mutual growth, and shared experiences. This is the spirit of studying at Grebel,” she continued, “and it models a paradigm for engaging with the communities that we might find ourselves in, in the future. I have learned more from my classmates than any book we read, and I am constantly in awe of the wisdom, experience, fire, passion, and beauty of my colleagues – my colleagues who are now more family than anything. And now, as this chapter ends – I am truly inspired and excited to see what we will become, where we will go, the challenges we will take on, the impact we will have, and the world that we will create.”


The Music of Life

Carol- AnnThis June, Carol Ann Weaver concluded 29 years as a music professor at Conrad Grebel University College. A prolific composer, lively teacher, and avid nature lover, Carol Ann has made her distinctive mark on the College in courses of composition, theory, women in music, jazz, popular music, African music, and has led music and culture study trips to Durban, South Africa. As a consummate performer, she has played in many parts of the world including parts of Africa, Europe, Korea, South America, the USA, and Canada. Prior to her career at Grebel, she taught at Eastern Mennonite University, at Concord College, and Wilfrid Laurier University. Carol Ann has also been the artistic director and founder of three Sound in the Land conference festivals. She has been described in the media as “a genre-bending musician who fuses art, history, ethnicity, social justice, and environmentalism together in a kaleidescope of images, sounds, and feelings.” She is the author of seven CDs that include songs about struggle and hope, victims of war, our beautiful planet, songs of whimsy and playfulness, and songs that tell compelling life stories that need to be told.

“She goes deeper....functioning as an artistic grand connector,” described President Susan Schultz Huxman. “She brings disparate disciplines together - musicians, scientists, environmentalists, peace scholars, sonic artists, theologians, historians, poets, and writers from far-flung places, to fuse unique sounds and to form a new trans-disciplinary community that explores the role of music in human life from new perspectives. Thank you, Carol Ann, for your commitment to community building in the life of the College. And for the shear breadth and boldness of your musical career in both substance and style.”

Carol-Ann and students

2004 Music and Culture trip to South Africa

“Carol Ann’s style is inimitable,” remarked Nathan Funk. “One might say that she takes Mennonite non-conformism to new and surprising heights. She is truly one of a kind.”
According to Reina Neufeldt, “Carol’s willingness to stand out, take risks, play piano furiously, and be herself is always apparent and something I appreciate since, like good spice, it made things more flavorful, created contrasts and packed a zing.”
“I have been inspired by how she uses music to express underlying and overarching values of peace, justice and dignity for all,” explained Lowell Ewert. “When exposed to the make poverty history movement, she wrote a song lamenting the fact that every three seconds a child dies from a preventable cause. When the loss of hope impacted a family member, she responded with music. Her enthusiasm for music as a source of reconciliation was evident in what students told me about the trips Carol Ann led to South Africa. They told me that they found her, as well as the South African musicians, to be a source of inspiration. Where there is hope there is music. Carol fostered both.”
“We have all been fortunate to have worked with you, learned with you, laughed with you and have been transformed by you,” mentioned Maisie Sum.

As Grebel faculty reflected on their relationships with Carol Ann, it became clear that she has touched each person in the Grebel community. In the words of Ken Hull (and in the style of Carol Ann): “Surely we wish you and Lyle the longest and happiest retirement in the world!”
Carol Ann has been named Professor Emerita.

Lighting of a Fire

Jim Pankratz

This summer, Conrad Grebel University College celebrated Jim Pankratz’s career as he completed 8.5 years as a gracious and encouraging Dean.

At his retirement dinner, faculty expressed their deep appreciation for Jim’s very thoughtful counsel. “He is unflappable and is willing to spend the time needed to sort through various issues. He is supportive by nature, and has been committed to the vitality and integrity of the College.”

Many words of affirmation were offered for Jim’s excellence as a profoundly committed and relational leader. Jim cared deeply about both his colleagues and the institutional mission. His daily practices embodied community and connection, as well as conviction and willingness to stretch himself to address whatever he determined to be the overriding priority of the moment. His tenacity and endurance during a time of transition were indispensable to the well-being of the Grebel community.

When Jim arrived at Grebel in 2006, he took on many responsibilities in addition to his regular duties. He led Grebel’s Theological Studies program in to a full conjoint-degree partnership with the University of Waterloo. He supported four major program reviews - in PACS, Music, Mennonite Studies and Theological Studies. And in the past three years alone he led the faculty searches that resulted in six new hires. In fact, in his career at Grebel, Jim hired and supported more than 40 faculty and senior academic and administrative staff, supervising, mentoring, encouraging, and evaluating them.

Prior to his service at Grebel, Jim served as dean or president at 3 other colleges and universities spanning 28 years before that: Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Fresno, California, Concord College in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Mennonite Brethren Bible College in Winnipeg. Clearly, Jim was destined for successful senior administration!
Beyond academic posts at universities in Manitoba and California, Jim served as Director of Mennonite Central Committee in Bangladesh, and Regional Personnel and Program Advisor for MCC, South Asia, India, and Nepal.

He’s also served as dean of students, boys basketball coach, officiated at many weddings of college students, wrote a bimonthly column for 20 years for the MB Herald, started a mini church for children, taught Sunday School, built houses for Habitat for Humanity, presented former President Jimmy Carter with a peace award, hiked in New Zealand, climbed Half dome in Yosemite park, developed the Outtatown program for Canadian Mennonite University, and preached regularly in churches across Canada.
“Jim you have been a wonderful colleague, a valued administrator and mentor, and have become a very good friend,” wrote Professor Emeritus Len Enns. “I expect much will be said about your gifts, and the way you have returned those gifts through your generous and seemingly tireless contributions as ledean's pyramidader of our faculty; but I want to thank you particularly for the way your feet have followed your words of support. It has been deeply significant, supportive and affirming to see you and Goldine at so many of the musical performances of our department…I am deeply grateful for your enthusiasm, your comments and insights and your inquisitive engagement.”

The Dean’s Pick

Dean's pick essay winners

Kenny Hildebrand, Trevor Bechtel, Sandrine Uwimana, Anna Cullar

The Dean’s Pick is an essay contest open to all Grebel students. The winners are chosen by Trevor Bechtel, Dean, who also writes the introductions to the papers and edits them for Grebel Now. These papers showcase the student work that happens at Grebel across the University’s many disciplines.

This issue’s essays were difficult to choose from among the many worthy entries. Especially notable were essays on Introversion, Pastoral Idioms in Music, Standards in Science, Environment Justice and the Cheran in Mexico. Originally I had intended to select one graduate essay and one undergraduate essay but two very strong short pieces demanded inclusion and so I now have four pieces of writing to share with you. For concerns of space in print all scholarly apparatus has been removed. The essays are edited for length but not for writing or content. The papers appear in full on the Grebel Now website.

The graduate winners

are a powerful short piece on the plight of refugees and an introduction to disability studies in Nepal. Both are excerpted here. Disability studies is currently a very active field across numerous disciplines in Western thought. This essay is particularly compelling owing to its strong counter-intuitive argument about the reality of disability in places like Nepal.

Disability Discourse in South Asia & Global Disability Governance

Brief disability overview:

Disability studies, although an emerging discipline, has already advanced in the West compared to the Global South in that the discourses pertaining to the disability movement and scholarship have shifted their focus from mere survival debates of the disabled people to more subtle and nuanced forms and manifestations of disability existence. This paradigm shift from the corporeal to the ontological dominates much of the disability discourse in the West. In this connection, Anita Ghai observes that “the discourse in the developed world has progressed from the issues of service delivery and rehabilitation to an engagement with the multiple nuances/meanings of disabled existence”. In the present article, I am interested in exploring some of the pressing issues confronted by the people with disabilities in South Asia in general and Nepal in particular. While doing so, I try to situate the locus of the disability praxis in South Asia in the light of the global disability governance and the Western disability discourse that underlies the governance …
Disability is a global phenomenon affecting the entirety of the world. It is not specific to any one particular country, creed, color, age, or race. Anyone can become bodily or mentally dysfunctional at any point of time in life. In the present industrially and technologically driven society, people are far more likely to succumb to disabilities. Moreover, when people advance in age, the chances of being disabled remain high. According to one report, most people are not born disabled; they acquire disability at some point in life as only 15 percent of the people with disabilities were actually born with a disability. That means the remaining 85 percent of the disabled population comprises of those people who acquire disability later in life.
People with disabilities in any part of the world are made scapegoats and have to bear the brunt. However, the situation of the people with disabilities in the developing countries has become further complicated and compounded due to pervasive poverty, discriminatory legal and institutional apparatuses, lack of awareness, lack of accessible infrastructures, and the unavailability of proper and timely health care facilities. 85-90 percent of the global population of persons with disabilities is estimated to be residing in the developing countries. The United Nations estimated that more than 1.3 billion people live in abject poverty in the Global South, 600 million of which are disabled. The fact that such a large segment of the disabled population resides in the developing world implies that they are living their lives in a vicious circle of disability and poverty.
My understanding of the status of the disabled people partly emanates from my own lived experiences back in Nepal – I witnessed how the people with disabilities, especially in the remote parts of Nepal, were dehumanized and stigmatized as “wretched,” “worthless” and “sinful” lot both in their families and in society at large. I myself had to live through the stigma of being disabled in my childhood when people would jeer at me when seeing me walking with a limp. In my view, the way the people with disabilities are stigmatized, humiliated and stereotyped engenders far-reaching wider psychological ramifications and repercussions that are far beyond the gaze of the States, activists and even civil society organizations working in the areas of disability. My passion for the disability issues became further robust when I was working for the BBC World Service Trust in Kathmandu for a radio-cum-television program called Sajha Sawal (The Common Question) that aimed to bring about a transformative change through exposing and exploring the hidden issues and grievances of the voiceless marginalized and minoritized vulnerable sections of society. In one of its episodes on the state of disability in Nepal, Indra Maya Gurung - even though she was a Member of Parliament then – revealed how she has to fight against myriads of prejudices and discriminations for being disabled, poor and a woman - triply jeopardized. What could the situation of the uneducated, poor women be like in remote areas of the country if an educated female parliamentarian herself is victimized and discriminated against?  
When I familiarize myself with the Western disability discourse in academia and its praxis as manifested on the governments’ actions of taking full cognizance of the rights of the people with disabilities here in the North, I realize that a huge gap exists between the South and the North. The issues pertinent to the disabled people in the developed world may not be the concerns of paramount importance to the disabled people in the developing world. When researchers, activists and scholars in the West are raising the issue of the disabled people as a “human rights” issue, the people with disabilities in the South are still struggling for mere survival with their deteriorating physical and mental deformities and impairments in the absence of timely proper medical interventions…

Read the complete essay

Hari KCHari KC BahadurI was born and brought up in western Nepal and has an MA (English) from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu. He has worked for the BBC World Service Trust, Carter Centre and the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu. While at the BBC, he traveled to remote parts of the country and observed the varied forms of social injustice and wounds of the Maoist war. He is an MPACS student at Grebel.

Growing Your Gifts

“If I make a gift to Grebel to an endowment how is it invested?” This is a question that Development Director, Fred Martin loves to answer. First of all it means that a donor is ready to make a substantial gift and secondly it means that students or programs will receive financial support for years to come.

The annual report shows that Grebel’s endowment portfolio was just shy of a Fair Market Value of $6 million as of April 2014. These are almost evenly split between award endowments and progrwinners of the Good Foundation Scholarshipam endowments, such as the Lebold Endowment for Leadership Training. In addition there are a variety of awards that are managed, with donor direction, at the Mennonite Foundation and are worth over $350,000.

John Good with Ingira Reimer and Rachel Trites, winners of the Good Foundation Scholarship

There are over 40 award funds and 15 program endowments invested by Grebel’s Finance and Development committee. These gifts are pooled and invested according to policy guidelines that require 40% of the funds to be in fixed income investment tools (i.e. Guaranteed Investment Certificates) and 60% in equities.

The policy also states that “The College gives priority to Socially Responsible Investments (SRI).”

Rick Shantz, who recently served as chair of this committee, noted “The Board of Governors sees SRI investments as an important part of our investment portfolio. With an investment policy that has a 60% equity target, we want to ensure we seek opportunities for financial return that are aligned with our values as board members of a Mennonite college.”

For many years Grebel has turned to Meritas (now a part of OceanRock) for its equity investment needs. Director of Finance, Sara Cressman says, “Meritas has provided good service, reasonable returns, and aligns with our mission to pursue justice and peace in service to church and society.” Meritas uses a variety of ethical screens including the Jantzi Social Index which is now part of Sustainalytics to select companies in which to invest.

Winners of the Robin Coupland Jutzi Award

Winners of the Robin Coupland Jutzi Award: Robyn Gossen,
Tim Souza, Jesse Yantzi with Calvin Jutzi and Judy Gascho-Jutzi

Once a year, Gary Hawton, President of OceanRock Investments, visits with the Finance and Development committee to report and provide advice on investment strategies. He also updates the committee on Meritas’ Shareholder activism. This means that through Meritas, Grebel’s voice for justice is heard on issues like executive compensation packages, worker safety issues or environmental concerns at the Annual General Meetings of large corporations.

So how do our annual earnings compare? For the last 3 years we have been generating returns of 3.5% which has compared well to other universities that have been lower. Sara Cressman is anticipating a 4% draw in 2015-16 which means that an endowment of $100,000 will generate $4,000 for award or program revenue. 

Using a lower draw in recent years has also meant that there are some deferred funds that can be used if there is are low investment returns.

In addition to endowments the college also provides budget resources for student awards and bursaries.  This year we anticipate giving out 250 awards and bursaries to 200 students totaling $350,000. A large portion of this budgetary support comes from revenue for the Master of Theological Studies and Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies programs.

New programs also create new needs and opportunities. The Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies has many applicants from overseas who have significant financial needs with travel expenses and international tuition.

Director of Student Services, Mary Brubaker-Zehr observes that “While we have a good variety of upper year residential scholarships, we do need more entrance awards.”

“Endowed award funds aAlumnus Ed Penner (BASc ‘86) (left) established a new award for engineering students called the Marpeck Leadership Award. The inaugural recipient was Trevor Kuepfer (right).re a wonderful way to support students and make a gift that lasts forever,” notes Fred Martin, Director of Development. “Donors can choose to support specific parts of our program and I’m always happy to discuss these ideas.”

Alumnus Ed Penner (BASc ‘86) (left) established a new award for engineering students called the Marpeck Leadership Award. The inaugural recipient was Trevor Kuepfer (right).

2014 Grads Head out into the World

Master of Peace and Conflict Studies
Preparing students with the knowledge and practical skills needed to contribute to nonviolent peace building efforts is the goal of the Master of Peace and Conflict Studies program. Our first group of graduates is already making their mark on the world! Ellen Sikorksi and Melody Chen are pursuing  further education, Melody is attending the Singapore Management University School of Law Juris Doctor programme and Ellen is begun a PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Manitoba. Rachel Reist and Kelly Brown both recently started working in the PACS office at Grebel. Rod Friesen is the Network Manager for Community Action Program for Children at the Carizon Family and Community Services. Noe Gonzalia is a peace building consultant. Ben Bauman is farming and Brent Charette is the Church Engagement Minister at Mennonite Church Canada. Patty Dorsey  is the co-founder of Unity Canadian International School, Pakistan. Jahan Zeb is working on building a Canadian branch of the Global Peace Council Pakistan.

MPACS graduates

Theological Studies

The Graduate Theological Studies program focuses on the study of Christianity and the mission of the Christian church in the world from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective within an ecumenical context. Students usually pursue this degree for personal enrichment, to prepare for church ministry, or to go on to doctoral studies. The 2014 graduating class represents all of these areas of interest and we’ve gathered current activities of some of these recent grads. Kyle Wijnands is working at a personal care home, Ben Cassels is pastoring at Waterloo North Mennonite Church, and Chris Brnjas will be Grebel’s interim Chaplain for 7 months starting in January.  Sean East is the pastor at West Hills Mennonite Fellowship and Kevin Guenther Trautwein is the associate pastor at Lendrum Mennonite Brethren Church in Edmonton. Melanie Kampen will be pursuing a PhD next year.

TS graduates

The Conrad Grebel community congratulates each of our graduates on their achievements and wishes them all the best as they pursue their vocation.

Graduate Studeis

Faculty Activities

Pacs conference

All faculty and administrators who were involved in the launch and management of the Peace and Conflict Studies program from 1977 to today, were invited to discuss, reflect, debate and share stories of its trajectory for an oral history project. Guests included Lowell Ewert, Tom Yoder Neufeld, Mary Lou Klassen, Dean Peachy, Ron Mathies, Hildi Froese Tiessen, Conrad Brunk, and Ernie Regehr.

Reina Neufeldt was a feature speaker for the Network for Peacebuilding Evaluation’s Thursday Talk webinar series, speaking on “Better Strategies for Analyzing Narrative Data.” The maxed-out audience was a mix of field-based peacebuilding personnel, NGO members, students, and people who do evaluation for a living. Watch it at

derek suderman

Derek Suderman was the 2014 Benjamin Eby Lecturer, speaking on “Seeking Peace as the End of Lament.” In this lecture, he explained that “the Christian tradition has long been uncomfortable with the articulation of lament. For some, Jesus’ call to love enemies is even seen as a rejection of this genre, given the prominence of violent wishes or imprecations against enemies found within it. Over time praise and confession have come to dominate the liturgical experience of many worshiping communities, while lament has largely disappeared.” Watch the lecture at ann

Carol Ann Weaver, Professor Emerita traveled to Kinshasa, Congo this fall with medical Doctor Margaret Loewen. They attended the first graduation of the class of medical students at Congo Protestant University in Kinshasa. As well, Margaret and Carol visited rural and urban health clinics, visited classes and met professors and students at the university, explored Kinshasa, and heard as much live music as possible. Carol worked on an electroacoustic composition based on field recordings and spoken word, which will serve as part of a longer piece to be premiered at Mennonite/s Writing in Fresno, California, March 2015. To the right she is pictured with Mama Swana and Mama Kadi at the MCC office in Kinshasa.

Tom Yoder Neufeld, Professor Emeritus from Conrad Grebel, spent two months this fall in the United Kingdom on a peace tour sponsored by The Anabaptist Network. He and his wife Rebecca are spoke at numerous events and interacted with many communities linked to the Network. As a final event called ‘Who would Jesus shoot?’ Tom debated Professor Nigel Biggar on the theological ethics of war.

Arnold Snyder sculptureArnold Snyder, Professor Emeritus who taught History and Peace and Conflict Studies at Conrad Grebel from 1985-2011 was honoured with a sculpture commissioned by Perry and Doris Snyder Wydman, celebrating the seeds planted during his career. Perched at the top of the main Grebel entrance stairs, the sculpture entitled “Bloom,” was created by Jo-Anne Harder. With outstretched petals rooted in a strong foundation, the corroded textured surface reflects on the past while the more polished ‘reaching’ pieces explore what lies ahead.

As is our pattern, this has been a busy fall for Grebel faculty. We have been involved in attending conferences and lectures, conducting concerts, writing essays and of course in teaching our courses. We have preached in area congregations and been involved in supporting the academic and communal life of our college and the university. Of particular note are new compositions by Tim Corlis, highlighted elsewhere in this issue of Grebel Now, and new books by Alicia Batten and Derek Suderman.

Alicia Batten is the co-editor of Dressing Judeans and Christians in Antiquity which was released in August. The connection between dress and identity has advanced significantly in the past two decades. This volume considers the religious aspects and use of dress. Alicia’s essay, “The Paradoxical Pearl: Signifying the Pearl East and West” considers the significance of pearls in relation to the places where pearls were harvested, valued and traded.

Alicia has also just published a book entitled James, 1 & 2 Peter, and Early Jesus Traditions with John S. Kloppenborg. This book studies comparisons and possible trajectories between three ‘catholic’ epistles, and traditions associated with Jesus. The book is an important contribution to scholarship on source criticism, ancient rhetoric, and the influence of Hellenistic, Judean and Roman traditions on early Christianity.

Derek Suderman’s commentary on the book of Psalms appears in The Fortress Commentary on the Bible: The Old Testament and Apocrypha which was released in October. The pattern of this commentary considers the text in its ancient context, in interpretive tradition and in contemporary discussion.


girl runner coverCarrie Snyder (BA ‘97) has released a new novel called Girl Runner. The book was listed by CBC Books as one of their top ten fall picks and short-listed for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Award for Fiction, 2014. “Part historical page-turner, part contemporary mystery, Girl Runner is an engaging and endearing story about family, ambition, athletics and the dedicated pursuit of one’s passions. It is also, ultimately, about a woman who follows the singular, heart-breaking and inspiring course of her life until the very end.”
In honour of the International Day of Peace, Grebel hosted “The Art of Peace” as an enrichment day for high school students. Led by Johnny Wideman (BA ‘09) and Kimberlee Walker (BA ‘12) from Thepeace dayatre of the Beat, students enjoyed a day of engaging comedic sketches, facilitated discussion, role playing scenarios, and interactive simulation games that empowered participants to harness their own creative potential for a more peaceable world. Distinguished Alumni Service Award winner, Lisa Schirch also spoke to the attentive group.

familyCameron Morland (BASc ‘03) and Karen Yeats (BMATH‘03) along with big brother Russell welcomed Alfred Jules into the world on January 12, 2014. Karen’s tenure andgrebel alumni gathering promotion to Associate Professor in the math department at Simon Fraser University has been approved. Cameron continues teaching in the SFU math department.

kristen bergenFred Martin hosted a Grebel Alumni Gathering in Winnipeg, Manitoba in November. The turnout was great, there was lots of visiting, and a number of current Grebel students, faculty, and administrators participated as well. Duane & Gloria Eby visit with retired Grebel Music professor Helen Martens and Moria Sommers (BA ‘85). Congrats to winners of Grebel swag, including Kristen Bergen (BSc ‘04).
Victoria Leenders-Cheng

As a top contender in the interactive television series, Canada’s Smartest Person, Victoria Leenders-Cheng (BA ‘04) is a mother to two children, the full time editor of McGill Law School’s Alumni magazine, a classically trained musician and an accomplished athlete. Victoria won the fourth round of the show this fall, and will participate in the series finale wjan brubacherhere eight finalists will go head to head to earn the title of Canada’s Smartest Person.

Jan Brubacher who lived at Grebel back in 1983, is currently living in Tofino, BC. She stopped by with her parents and daughter Lucy to visit and see the new Grebel building.

Brad Simpson (BSc ‘78) changed jobs this year after 34 years at KW Habilitation. He now works at KidsAbility Centre for Child Development where, as a pediatric kinesiologist, he provides service to preschool aged children who have issues with movement. Since kinesiology is now a regulated health profession in Ontario, he is a member of a team that provides a variety of services to help children optimize their functioning level. Brad still has ties to the University of Waterloo as he supervises students for Dr. Eric Roy’s Kin 493 practicum. Liz and Brad live in Waterloo and have 2 adult children.

This summer, an amFrisbee teamazing Ultimate Frisbee team won the Canadian National Club Ultimate Championships for the Mixed Division. There were 9 people with Grebel affiliations on the team: Dan Johnson, Jake Redekopp, Brad Froese, Amanda Froese, Neil Thomas, John-Eric Pardys, Lindsey Pardys, Yaacov Iland, Jon Hines. “It was loads of fun playing with people I knew in the community while I lived at Grebel and with people who I had heard stories about,” remarked Neil Thomas. “We brought Grebel’s wonderful Frisbee tradition to the national stage and ended up doing pretty well. G-R, G-R-E, G-R-E-B-E-L!!!!!”ronald sawatsky
Former Vice President Administration at Conrad Grebel during the 1990s, Ronald Sawatsky passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at his home on June 28th, 2014, at the age of 64. His curiosity, ability to engage with people, and commitment to education has been an inspiration not only to his children, but to the many others whose lives he has touched.

grebel tourIn July, we treated Grebel alumni who work on the UWaterloo campus to a quick tour and tasty lunch. It’s always a pleasure when our alumni come to visit!
Diana Burrowes (BA ‘10) graduated from Grebel’s music program. Since then she has spent her time traveling and teaching. After graduating, she spent four months teaching music to under-privileged kids in Guyana with the Tina Insanally Foundation, and continues to do so forking about a month each year. After getting her MSc of Education from Niagara University, she spent six months traveling Europe and recently got engaged. Diana is now working in the Special Education Department at a high school in the York School Board. 

On November 12, 2013, the Japan Tennou Emperor Akihito conferred on Dr. King Yasuyuki Horiguchi (BASc ‘69), the Fifth Grade Order of Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays at Shunju-no-ma Room of Spring and Fall at Imperial Palace, Tokyo with his wife Yoshiko.

Alumni "Coming Home"

This year, Grebel has welcomed quite a number of new faculty, staff, and administrators to the College. It it particularly gratifying to note so many Grebel alumni and former students among the new hires.

Trevor Bechtel

Trevor Bechtel (lived at Grebel in the 80s)

Chris Brnjas

Chris Brnjas (BA ‘12, MTS ‘14)
Interim Chaplain
Jan. - July 2015

Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown (BA ‘12, MPACS ‘14) PACS Admin Officer, Grad Studies Coordinator

Tim Corlis

Tim Corlis (BSc ‘98)
Assistant Professor of Music

Paul Heidebreacht

Paul Heidebrecht (BASc ‘94)
Director, MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement

Caleb and Michelle Jackett

Caleb (BA ‘10) & Michelle Jackett
Campus Hosts

MIchelle Jackett

Michelle Jackett
(BA ‘11) Coordinator, Centre for Peace Advancement

Rachel Reist

Rachel Reist (BA ‘12, MPACS ‘14) PACS Undergrad Academic & Admin Officer & Field Studies Coordinator

Jessica Scott

Jessica Scott (BA ‘13)
Recruitment and Conference Coordinator

grebel now back cover


Student Life

The fall season always brings energy and vigour to the Grebel community as we welcome new and returning students to the University of Waterloo campus.

Students running

This year, students and parents were greeted on Move-In Day at Grebel’s new and welcoming front entrance!

students and parents

This 2014-15 cohort is the first group of students to enjoy the College’s new facilities. With a bright and spacious library, residence and academic students alike are already making use of this renovated and expanded space. Music students are practicing diligently in the new music studios and practice rooms, and classes are regularly meeting in the three new classroom and seminar rooms.

students performing
Mixers, campus tours, cooperative group games, and faculty/staff/student challenges, are all part of Grebel’s orientation week traditions of making every person feel comfortable and welcome. Most notably, the entire Grebel community participates in a commencement service during the first week. President Susan Schultz Huxman explained to students that “wherever and whenever we plant seeds in our life, be they figurative or literal, we are positioned to commit acts of faithfulness.” Expanding on the theme of “Get your hands dirty,” everyone moved outside to plant a tulip bulb.

Students planting tulips

The next year will be full of anticipation, waiting for the spring flowers to grow, just as students grow in their personal relationships, in their studies, and in their faith.

Sound in the Land 2014

Sound in The Land Logo

Thanks to our generous sponsors:

Music Plus Corporation

Community Energy Development Co-operative

Korean Foundation | Marpeck Fund

Sound in the Land 2014 took place June 5 to 8, focusing on music and the environment from Mennonite perspectives. With guests, performers, and scholars converging at Conrad Grebel from all over the globe, this truly was a musical extravaganza. The orchestrator of this festival and conference, Professor Emerita Carol Ann Weaver, delivered a weekend that explored ecomusicology from various perspectives, locally and globally. It brought together composers, speakers, performers, sonic artists, and writers, from Korea, South Africa, Europe, USA, aR. Murray Schafer nd Canada. Keynote speakers were (1) R. Murray Schafer who is a well-known Canadian composer and founder of World Forum for Accoustic Ecology, and Gus Mills who is a foremost South African environmentalist and researcher.

 The Dawn Concert

Participants were treated to many concerts of newly composed or commissioned works and honoured by the presence of many of the composers during the performance.(4)


(5)Renowned Korean media artist Cecilia Kim presented her multi-media Earth Songs.

Korean Media Artist

(2)The Dawn Concert was an especially moving time for many, and the final choral concert featured the local groups: Inter-Mennonite Children’s Choir, Rockway Mennonite Collegiate Combo, Tactus Vocal Ensemble, (3) Festival Choir, and Grebel Gamelan. As a particular source of pride for Conrad Grebel, a number of pieces were debuted that were written by UWaterloo Music students or grads.

Vocal Ensemble

Sound in the Land was organized by various Grebel faculty and staff, as well as Bryan Moyer Suderman, Tilly Kooyman, Ann Schultz, and Doreen Klassen. Proceedings from the conference will be published in a special (Fall 2015) edition of The Conrad Grebel Review.

Advancing Peace Together

signing a peace pledge

Grebel celebrated a major milestone on the International Day of Peace this year - the opening of the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement. At its inception, MSCU and Grebel envisioned a peace centre that would be a hub of entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary collaboration, fostering new ways to advance peace in a conflict-filled world. With a one million dollar gift from the MSCU, plus gifts from other generous donors, the CPA took shape and is now a beautiful fourth floor space at Grebel.

story circle and peace art

As a way of introducing the CPA to the community, the opening service was called “Let’s Advance Peace Together!” and featured interactive family friendly activities that combined peace art makingpeace with the arts. Guests tried out the gamelan, (5) (7) created a group art piece, signed a peace pledge, (4) participated in a story circle, (3) and viewed the Ray Dirks art exhibit called “Road to Freedom” that is hanging in the Grebel Gallery until January 18.

Ray Dirks gallery

Grebel Alumnus, (1) Paul Heidebrecht began as the Director of the MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement on September 1. He spent 5 years as Ottawa Office Director of Mennonite CentrPaul Heidebrechtal Committee (MCC) Canada. There he guided MCC’s efforts to shape government policies on behalf of program partners in relief, development, and peacebuilding. Heidebrecht has completed an MA in Theological Studies at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and a PhD in Theological Ethics at Marquette University. Peace and Conflict Studies graduate Michelle Jackett began in the position of Coordinator for the CPA. She has an MA in Conflict Transformation and has co-authored a book on restorative justice and sexual abuse.

Heidebrecht plans to spend “significant time and energy introducing the CPA to the University of Waterloo, the local community and to the broader academic church and civil society networks in Canada and globally.” He says “in addition to collaborating with familiar partners like (2) Project Ploughshares and MCC, I’m looking forward to establishing a whole host of new relationships.”

Project Ploughshares

Epp Incubator Hot Desk Inhabitants

  • Global Peace Council Canada
  • WPIRG - Waterloo Public Interest Research Group
  • IDI - Intercultural Dialogue Institute Waterloo
  • Timothy Obaje as a visiting scholar

Tools for Change

By Mary Lou (MTS ‘10) and Dave Klassen

“Reina has been a wonderful reservoir of experience and education, striking the right balance between practice, research, and academics to help enhance best peacebuilding practice,” wrote one participant at the end of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) sponsored “Theory of Change and Reflective Practice” workshop for peacebuilders in Plateau State, Nigeria. The workshop was held in Jos in May 2014 with 25 participants and was facilitated by Dr. Reina Neufeldt, Assistant Professor, Peace and Conflict Studies, Conrad Grebel University College.

Workshop participants included people like Boniface Anthony who coordinates the activities of 270 active, trained and experienced volunteers spread throughout Plateau State. Interfaith Emergency Preparedness and Response Teams monitor potential conflict and provide early warning information to the secretariat and to appropriate security services. Boniface provides training support and leadership to this active group. Their work involves monitoring all forms of conflict including the potentially violent federal election period in 2015.

Tony holding a balloon

An informal consultative relationship with Reina Neufeldt on Reflective Peacebuilding has been in place with MCC in Nigeria since Mary Lou and Dave Klassen returned in February 2013. As part of this ongoing connection, Reina visited Nigeria, joining an MCC-sponsored conflict prevention tour a week before the workshop to familiarize herself further and to visit partners of MCC in the field. The culmination of her visit was her facilitation of a workshop with MCC partner, AWAAN. AWAAN is a grouping of over 36 individuals who have been sent by MCC for peace training to Africa Peacebuilding Institute and West Africa Peacebuilding Institute (WAPI) since 2001.

A great deal of laughter and energy was generated on the first day when participants formed teams to develop and test a Theory of Change. Teams were given limited materials and asked to create a “device” that would prevent an egg from breaking when dropped onto a concrete floor from a 2m height. They were required to explain to the group their “theory” of why their device should protect the egg. The process of dropping the egg in its carrier ensured there was an immediate opportunity for the teams to test their theories. In the end only one in five devices was successful, yet the activity formed the basis for much fruitful reflection on how the best-laid plans do not always work. In parallel with the current peacebuilding project orientation one participant ruefully observed that one can have a “beautiful design that doesn’t work.”

Peacebuilders see themselves as change agents. Violent conflict produces many changes in social relationships in a society. Peacebuilders seek to understand those changes and create space for relationships to be transformed and restored - another process of change. The complex nature of peacebuilding means that it takes place over long periods of time. Yet today’s peace work is often guided by project planning criteria and short cycles that can feel disconnected from experience. Reina’s facilitation helped participants to reflect more concretely on their experience by working in a group to develop a Theory of Change based on a realistic scenario. The concept of “Most Significant Change” provided further tools to assess their work and learn deeper lessons about peacebuilding. The power of a good story as the basis for learning was explored. “In the … simplest way and most dramatic, PME [Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation] was brought forth and clearly understood for me.”
Margaret Ahmed is an example of a change agent whose work with women over the past 19 years does not always fit project-planning modes. She is the founder of Homemakers, a women’s network focused on fighting poverty by providing income generating skills to over 2,000 women across West Africa. Attending the WAPI training in 2010 opened Margaret’s eyes to the problems of youth, recognizing that drug addicted youth provide conflict’s foot soldiers. She set up a program in Jos to get them out of drug use and into meaningful (self) employment or education.

Key to the workshop experience for participants was learning that our theories should change over time as they are tested, and that failure is as instructive as success – these are boxes that are seldom available on project logical frameworks. “One’s Theory of Change does not always work out exactly, … there is always room for adjustment. I only fail when I refuse to try it again,” reflected one participant.

Mary Lou and Dave Klassen are working with MCC in Nigeria.


Alumni Award Winner lays Groundwork for Building Peace

The Alumni Committee of Conrad Grebel University College is pleased to announce the selection of Lisa Schirch (BA 1990) as the 2014 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Service Award.

Lisa came to Grebel in the fall of 1988 from Mechanicsville, Virginia. After two years studying at Goshen College in Indiana and a service trip to Central America, Lisa was looking for a bigger range of classes to take. She found a rich variety of courses at Grebel and the University of Waterloo, as she worked toward a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Political Science with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies. She describes the experience of studying at Grebel as “taking courses that had a ‘heart’.”

As an active member of Grebel’s Peace Society, Lisa began working on stopping NATO air flights from testing on Innu land in Labrador. A Mennonite Central Committee study tour to Labrador the summer after graduation led to Lisa’s first job as MCC Ontario’s Native Concerns Coordinator. Lisa worked on First Nations land claims and toward building better relationships between Mennonites and Indigenous people. “Strangely enough,” Lisa comments, “today I work closely with NATO to develop training for them on how they interact with civilians and the people indigenous to the areas where they work. So I’ve come full circle from protesting NATO’s action to directly engaging with NATO with the goal of fostering change.”

Lisa Schirch recieving the award

President Susan Schultz Huxman, Lisa Schirch, Katie Cowie-Redekopp

After completing a Master and Doctorate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, Lisa joined the faculty at Eastern Mennonite University where she is a Research Professor in the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. She is also Director of Human Security at the Alliance for Peacebuilding. In this role, Lisa connects policymakers with global civil society networks, facilitates civil-military dialogue and provides a conflict prevention and peacebuilding lens on current policy issues.

A former Fulbright Fellow in East and West Africa, Lisa has conducted conflict assessments and participated in peacebuilding planning alongside local colleagues in over 20 countries in conflict prevention and peacebuilding. She has published five books and dozens of chapters and articles on a range of themes including the design and structure of a comprehensive peace process in Afghanistan, civil-military relations, and the role of the media in peacebuilding. Lisa is currently working with a global network to write a curriculum on security sector-civil society relations. Her most recent book is Conflict Assessment and Peacebuilding Planning: Toward a Participatory Approach to Human Security published by Kumarian/Lynne Reinner Press in May 2013.

Reflecting on her time at Grebel, Lisa believes that “Grebel was the perfect place for me, with professors like Ron Mathies and Dean Peachey, who provided not only the theory of conflict resolution and peacebuilding but also could share in class their real-life experience.” Lisa credits one of the many PACS guest speakers, John Paul Lederach, for remembering her 10 years later and extending to her an invitation to teach in EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.

The Distinguished Alumni Service Award recognizes alumni who have made a significant and unique contribution to the church, community, nation, or world. “Grebel Graduates need to see alumni who follow their passions and volunteer their time in important social issues and for furthering God’s kingdom in the Church,” said Wendy Cressman Zehr, former chair of the alumni committee.

On September 25, Conrad Grebel celebrated International Day of Peace with a lecture by Lisa Schirch. From a human security perspective, she shared challenges and opportunities in her quest to bring peace to the Pentagon. “Every person in society has an active role in promoting human security,” she explained. “We need to learn new skills, moving from protest to proposal, changing security forces from predators to protectors.” Lisa also spoke at community supper and a peace day for high school students that was hosted at Grebel.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Service Award. Contact Fred W. Martin ( or Katie Cowie-Redekopp ( to nominate someone!

Lebold Endowment for Leadership Training reaches One Million Dollars

Theological Studies Class

It was a joyful atmosphere on June 26, as 130 guests attended the Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment for Leadership Training Fundraising Banquet. Not only was the crowd looking forward to a delicious meal and a thought-provoking keynote, but this tenth annual event marked the achievement of an important milestone as the endowment surpassed one million dollars.

Since the Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment for Leadership Training was established in 1997 by Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (MCEC) and Conrad Grebel University College, its proceeds have been used to fund the ministry training component of the Theological Studies program at Grebel. Ralph Lebold served as the third president of Grebel from 1979 to 1989 and he has been a long term conference leader and minister. He and Eileen have faithfully supported this endowment and attended each banquet.

More than $152,000 in profits from the annual fundraising banquets has been added to the endowment in the decade since the first Ontario Mennonite Bible School/Institute Reunion banquet in 2004.

At its gathering in April, MCEC announced a $250,000 gift to the endowment from the Harold and Enid Schmidt Estate. Harold was on the original fundraising committee for the Lebold Endowment in 1997, and this gift boosted the endowment over the one million mark.

2014 Lebold Banquet speaker Roberson Mbayamvula stands  with his wife, Caris Bango, as well as Ralph and Eileen Lebold.

2014 Lebold Banquet speaker Roberson Mbayamvula stands
with his wife, Caris Bango, as well as Ralph and Eileen Lebold.

“We have a new sense of direction and want to turn the Lebold Endowment into a tool that will serve the needs of the church long into the future,” explained Executive Minister at MCEC, David Martin. “We need to support both our existing pastors and our lay leaders to grow in their continuing education. Our vision is to partner with church and college to develop a program around a certificate in church ministry to bring all our Mennonite Church cultures together around the same table. Let’s work together as a college, as a constituency, and as a church, to make our church thrive, grow, and adapt to meet the demands of the future that is coming our way.”

“In Theological Studies, we are rooted in tradition – Biblical tradition, Anabaptist tradition,” explained Theological Studies Director, Jeremy Bergen. “But we are always asking, what do these traditions mean for the contemporary world, the contemporary church, and for the many expressions of Christianity? We have a practical orientation, and we should increase our connections globally and inter-culturally. As we develop a certificate in Theological Studies, we will take the classroom to where ministry leaders are.”

Matthew Bailey-Dick as been hired in a quarter-time, one-year contract to develop a concrete proposal for a TS certificate and to move the project towards implementation.

Theological Studies is a two year graduate program that focuses on the study of Christianity and the mission of the Church in the world from an Anabaptist- Mennonite perspective within an ecumenical and inter-religious context. Established in 1987, TS became a conjoint program with the University of Waterloo in 2008. The TS program is designed for students preparing for ministry, further graduate work, or studying for personal enrichment. It offers Applied Studies (which focuses on ministry), Coursework, and Thesis options. The program works closely with MCEC and is greatly enriched by the pastors and leaders who teach courses or supervise students. To date, 42 of our 109 grads have gone on to provide leadership in Mennonite congregations or church institutions.

Sixties Era Reunion

60's Alumni Reunion

Homecoming weekend this year brought a jovial crowd of Grebel’s sixties era alumni back to the College on September 27th. This group of 30 reunited in the atrium, enjoyed a tour of the new buildings, visited over a delicious dinner, and delighted in stories from 50 years ago, deftly woven together by host Eric Friesen. As planner of the event, alumni rep Esther Etchells hand selected the menu and put together a display of memorabilia that included casual and official photos, letters to home, and even an old Waterloo beanie.

60's alumni reunion

One of the stories Eric recalls is how his roommate John Willms wanted to get into the women’s dorm late at night. “We all decided that we would lower him down the garbage chute to get to the second floor. True story. All we had was this thin rope that wasn’t very strong, but we tied it to his belt. I remember that as his head went down below the opening on the third floor, he kind of panicked....and all of the sudden, the senior don, Al Sherk shows up. Al suggested that we not let John stop on the second floor but drop him all the way to the garbage bin in the basement. And so we did. And I remember a very red faced and stinky John Willms picking his way up out of that full garbage bin and coming back to our room ready for a shower. There was no hanky-panky that night.”

John Williams

Listen to more of Eric’s program on the Grebel YouTube channel at

The Results Are In

By Katie Cowie-Redekopp, Chair of the Grebel Alumni CommiKatie Cowie-Redekopp, Chair of the Grebel Alumni Committee ttee

At the end of April the Alumni Committee sent a survey to alumni in order to gain perspective on how to improve Grebel programs for current students, and also how to create a more vibrant alumni program. The results are in, and there were some very interesting findings and suggestions made by alumni.

Did you know that even though Grebel alumni are mainly concentrated in Ontario they are also spread across the country and around the world? We have alumni in Kuwait, Hong Kong, and Germany just to name a few. The trend of Grebel alumni living globally is likely to increase as the years go on. It is important to work to link alumni geographically.

As you may or may not know, Grebel has ventured forth into the social media world (Facebook, and Twitter), which has provided a wonderful opportunity to connect more casually with alumni through things like flashback photos and alumni updates. It was clear from the survey that alumni really enjoy connecting in this way and would like to see more photos and updates. We need your help to get flashback photos and stay current with alumni updates – if you have updates or photos you would like to share please send them to Jen Konkle at

Many people had very creative suggestions about ways to engage more with alumni. A few of these suggestions revolved around the delicious food of Grebel that we all know and love. One such suggestion was to send every alumni a meal ticket to the Grebel cafeteria, this way they could enjoy the food they loved while visiting and re-connecting with Grebel. Who knows, maybe one day you will find a meal ticket in the mail.

Another creative suggestion for alumni engagement centered around an important part of Grebel life for many past students – athletics. There is already a staff vs. student patio hockey game, why not an alumni vs. students sporting event? Keep an eye out for volleyball, patio hockey, or possibly ultimate Frisbee events coming up in the future.

Several respondents mentioned that they would like to be more involved with creating a vibrant alumni program (organizing events in your area, being on the alumni committee, etc). If you are interested in being more involved please let us know! We welcome everyone’s involvement as we work to continue building a vibrant community of Grebel alumni.

Alumni Survey winners: Joel Keller, Erik Streufert, Stephanie Zwart, Sharon Lamont, Valerie Laengert

The Dean’s Pick


Growing up surrounded by a fence, caged like an animal, stripped of dignity, with no freedom, no home of your own, overcrowded, traumatized, having lost your beloved, isolated from other people, yet still having courage to face each day with hope and determination for a better tomorrow. This is what it means to be a refugee and one of the costs of war. As defined by the 1951 Convention, a refugee “is any person who, owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

There are many refugees across the world but specifically, I am talking about refugees from that blessed and yet seemingly forsaken continent, Africa. Although natural disasters have contributed to refugee problems, most refugees are the product of man- made disasters. There are are about seventeen million refugees, of which 90 percent and above are found in Africa. This is more than a statistic, these are our brothers and sisters who are suffering due to our unjust actions. 80 percent of the world's refugees are women and children who are the most vulnerable to their unstable conditions.

From refugees of Syria in Jordan and Mali in Niger to internally displaced persons in DRC, in Liberia, in Sudan and you name it, refugees share the same story. A story of rape, injustice, suppression, oppression, repression, compulsion and uncertainty of the future. Most refugees or internally displaced person in Africa are denied freedom. They live in dehumanizing conditions, with few basic needs supplied. They are mostly housed in camps where sometimes women have to sell their bodies in order to obtain food. Most of the young people do not have education, while the world sings that education is the key to liberty. As human beings we have failed the refugees everywhere in Africa. We have allowed these refugees to be defined by poverty, high illiteracy, high morbidity rates, HIV pandemic, etc. We have failed to recognize that Africa can never be developed nor can it move forward when these large groups of people are left out of participation. We have failed to acknowledge that, if were are to build a peaceful Africa, we have to replace guns and the helpless life of refugees with education. In the midst of all this disaster, there has a been a tremendous increase in the number of humanitarian organizations, and I leave it to the reader to debate about their successes and failures. 

The stories of refugees are told, not to arouse pity but to call World leaders especially Africans to adopt a non-violent and harmonious way of life. Africa can be developed if the so-called leaders are tasked to accountability by their own people and by those from outside who are providing aid in the name of international development. 
We want a blood-free world . We want human rights to be respected, we want the word “refugee” to disappear from the continent of Africa and the entire universe. We want war and crimes against humanity to stop. We want a generation of hope and a bright future. It's everybody's responsibility to try and create a peaceful environment, since every region today has refugees.
“You understand something when you go through it.”

Sandrine Uwimana is originally from Rwanda and came to Canada in 2010. Her personal journey in Africa is tragic; she saw her family killed and hid with her brother in the bush as a child for fear of being killed as well. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto and is active as a poet and a dancer. She is an MPACS student at Grebel.

The undergraduate winners of The Dean’s Pick

are a winsome short piece reflecting on the social app Snapchat–a very popular app through which people can send each other pictures or video which expires after a few seconds, and a longer essay which is excerpted here on positive public image and the Isla Vista Killings. The full essay explores the crisis in communication that Peter Rodger faced when his son went on a killing spree. The paper is careful to detail the situation and the responding strategies and is excellent in suggesting further considerations.

Creating a positive public image in crisis

Welcome to Isla Vista

In the classic novel, Frankenstein, the Monster laments: “I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel...” (Shelley, 1818) Centuries after this tale was written the father of Elliot Rodger would discover the monster inside his own son (Reuters, 2014) and mourn his own fallen angel. On May 23, 2014, Elliot Rodger killed four men and two women (Serna), injured thirteen more and took his own life (Bello). Prior to the killings Rodger posted a video and a manifesto online describing his motives, sending it to both his parents and therapists (Duke). This incident is known as the 2014 Isla Vista Killings. The perpetrator’s father, Peter Rodger, is perhaps best known as the second unit assistant director for The Hunger Games movie (ET News). Due to his high profile profession, the media has the capacity to represent Peter Rodger as a contemporary Viktor Frankenstein: the creator of a monster. Through his media responses it will be observed how a Hollywood professional avoids this negative reputation and establishes a positive public image during a heartbreaking family crisis.

To understand the impact the crisis had on Rodger, one must understand public image. Public image can be likened to organizational reputation, because both are “evaluative, with organizations being seen as having favorable or unfavorable reputations” (Coombs, 2014, p. 12). This stakeholder perception of an organization or individual, known as public image, is founded on the entirety of a stakeholder’s interactions with it: through direct interactions or mediated representations, such as the media (Mendelson, 2007, p. 172). The media’s impact on Rodger’s public image is particularly important. According to philosopher and social critic Søren Kierkegaard, an essential bridge exists between public opinion and media (Stivers). It is important to keep in mind that mass media is a significant avenue through which public opinion is formed: without media reporting, the majority of stakeholders that have not personally met Rodger would not be aware of his public image.

In order for public image to be established, stakeholders need to be influenced by interactions with the organization or individual. This influence on others is known as performance (Mendelson, 2007, p. 172). Performance of this public image can be understood in two parts: “First is the front region, the area where emphasized characteristics are seen or where the performance occurs. Second is the back region, the place where unemphasized or inconsistent characteristics are kept hidden.” (Mendelson, 2007, p. 173) The ideal is for an organization or individual showcase traits consistent with the desired public image, allowing them to pervade the public arena, and hide any inconsistent traits.

Celebrities and Hollywood professionals, in particular, should be aware of this art of self-promotion. “Many authors argue that celebrities are all image, that there is nothing real there at all.” (Mendelson, 2007, p. 174) The argument follows that celebrities are merely fabricated commodities and, through their image, sell themselves in order to advance professionally (Mendelson, 2007, p. 174). Whether or not this is true, it does articulate the need for celebrities and Hollywood professionals in the limelight to take seriously the impact of their own public image.

Read the complete essay

Kenny Hildebrand, from St. Catharines, Ontario is president of the Grebel Student Council. A psychology major, he wrote this essay for Speech and Communication 431: Crisis Communication

The Beginnings of Snapchat

Hand holding phone with snapchat screen

It was that, in recent history, Love and Time were greatly infatuated with one another. The two of them were inseparable. Time had never felt this way about anyone before. Love made Time want to dance around, flip over backwards and occasionally just stand still.  And Love, she had never known someone to be so faithful and consistent. How beautiful it was to see them together! Though Love was blind, she would take Time to smell the roses and they would often be seen, hand in hand, strolling aimlessly.

Unfortunately, no character is complete without a flaw, and Love can be a fickle woman.  Time’s dedication, steady as it was, began to bore her. Love started dreaming of more glamorous things and before long she ran out on Time to chase after Wealth, quickly forgetting Time’s commitment to her.

But Time, passive as he seems, is powerful and jealous.  Angrily confronting her, he demanded that she give up her frivolous dreams and return to him.  It wasn’t right, he said, to argue in this way. They needed each other.

Love’s only reply was that all’s fair in this kind of war, and she had moved on.

Well Time wouldn’t heal these wounds she had caused him.  Intent on vengeance, he decided that if he couldn’t have Love, no one could. Whenever Love would write letters or send photos to other friends, Time would swoop in and snatch them away within a matter of seconds, so that they could never be seen again.

He didn’t stop there. In a vow to destroy all sense of communication akin to Love, he now preys on strangers, stealing their pictures and captions. It is this quick form of snap chatting to which people have had to grow accustomed.

And that’s how he passes his days, just waiting to steal away other people’s conversation. Like Love, he has also settled for another, and in his free time he nurses his new, yet unhappy, relationship with Nostalgia and they both dream of the better days before this Snapchat era.  Love, unable to communicate with anyone fully, flits between Lust and Humour without making up her mind. And the people of the world distort their faces in the messages they send with the hopes that Time will find them unworthy of stealing away.

That’s how it went, to the best of my knowledge.  Though I think if you ask him, Time will tell you a different story.

Anna Cullar, from Columbiana, Ohio is a Grebel Don. She wrote this fable for English 292: Contemporary Issues in Language, Writing, and Rhetoric.

Closing the book on the
Next Chapter campaign

The next chapter

Fred Redekop, Susan Schultz Huxman, Fred W. Martin, Kenny Hildebrand, Paul Penner, Laureen Harder-Gissing, and Rick Martin cut the ribbon in Grebel’s new building on June 22, 2014.

It was very appropriate that event number 49 of Grebel’s 50 anniversary events was the Dedication Service and Open House for our new academic facilities. This capital project was 5 years in the making, with meetings beginning in 2008 as part of the 2007 strategic plan. There were a variety of components that were part of the dreams for a new facility.
“We are thrilled with the results,” said Paul Penner, who coordinated the construction project as chair of the Building committee. “Students, visitors, and our faculty and staff members appreciate the new spaces and we are discovering that the facility enhances our sense of possibilities.”
The project came in at just under $9 million. This included many expenses related to the remediation of the existing academic building. “In the end we really got a building and a half,” quipped Paul.
A Campaign Advisory, led by board member Scott Beech, provided the leadership for the College’s largest fundraising endeavor to date. Initially a 3-storey project was envisioned with a $3.7 million dollar fundraising target. However, with a strong response and the late-breaking gift of $1million from the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union, the planned for additional 4th floor became an immediate reality and a long awaited peace centre was created. “It has been incredibly gratifying to see the response from over 1200 donors who contributed more than $6.3 million to this bold project,” said Director of Development, Fred Martin.
The balance of the expenses are covered from reserves, operating revenue from graduate teaching, and borrowing. (See chart)
“We are truly blessed to have such a beautiful building that will not be a financial burden,” stated president Susan Schultz Huxman. “This is a testament to the strength of support we have in the Grebel community.”

The next chapter logo

Next Chapter Campaign

Expenses                 $8,900,000

Donations                 $6,319,287
Reserves                  $700,000
Grad revenue           $877,000
TOTAL                       $7,896,287
Required Borrowing $1,003,713

Fred and Paul

Grebel Fund

“Revenue from tuition and residence fees only goes so far,” commented director of finance, Sara Cressman. Each year, alumni and donors contribute $327,000 to the budget revenue to ensure that our programs have the resources needed to “make Grebel, Grebel.” Please use the fund appeal mailer or fill in the donation card at the back of Grebel Now or visit

Grebel Team Wins at MEDA

Elliot Parke, Anneke Pries-Klassen, Jono Cullar, and Sarah Steiner

Elliot Parke, Anneke Pries-Klassen, Jono Cullar, and Sarah Steiner

In only our second year of competition, a Conrad Grebel student team won the Business Case Competition at the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) convention in Winnipeg on November 8.

The team, headed up by 4th year Jono Cullar, International Development major, beat out five teams from other Mennonite colleges and universities from across North America.

“Our team was well rounded in our academic programs,” noted Jono “Not only did we have students in Business and Arts, but also in Peace and Conflict Studies, Accounting, and Environment and Business.” This was a broader skill set than other teams with primarily business students.
This year’s case competition was an actual MEDA project called “Grow” in Ghana that is working to empower women in soy bean production. The team was fascinated to see the priority that MEDA has placed on women in economic development and eager to provide ideas for increasing yields and building community. With a month to prepare, each team was asked to provide analysis and recommendations on MEDA’s partnership with 5 local NGOs.

In their presentation the Grebel team told a story through the voice of an entrepreneurial Ghanaian woman to make it personal. “But we also backed the presentation with a lot of research,” said Jono.

“I’m so proud of these students,” remarked President Susan Schultz Huxman, who watched all the university teams compete. “The competition is a wonderful way to expose students to the good work of MEDA. It also showcased how our students creatively combine the best of Waterloo’s social innovation with Grebel’s active peacemaking and global engagement values. The foursome really articulated a smart, inspiring plan to help make the world a better place!”

Expenses for the team’s registration and travel were supported by the Waterloo MEDA chapter, a donation from Murray and Yvonne Martin and donations to the annual Grebel Fund.

Deepening Community

By Taylor Neufeld

First-year Grebel students Michael Born and Matthew Steinman (along with friend, Nathan Martin) recently won first place in a United Nations-sponsored video contest, Plural Plus Youth Video Festival, with their video “Deepening Community.” The rap was inspired by the first three chapters of Michael’s father’s book Deepening Community: Finding Joy Together in Chaotic Times by Paul Born.

Matthew and Michael believe that students need to think about the importance that community has in their lives: “Deepening community to us is all about developing positive relationships with the people around you. It starts with telling our stories, enjoying life together, caring for everyone in your life, and making the world a better place for everyone.”

As part of winning the award, Matthew and Michael will be heading on an all-expense-paid trip to New York City to attend the PLURAL+ 2014 Awards Ceremony and be awarded their $1,000 prize.

Watch the video here:

youtube video

Peace Challenge Winners

It is a pleasure to announce the winners of the 2014 MSCU Peace Advancement Challenge at Grebel. In this contest, undergrad students who are enrolled in Peace and Conflict Studies or are residents at Grebel are invited to explore creative peacemaking by submitting practical peace ideas for local or international implementation. After submitting their ideas, students were ranked by a jury to settle on five finalists. These finalists then met with the jury to explain their submission and answer questions about how they would implement their ideas.

Rachel Kruger was awarded $2,000 for her project to resource teachers in Zambia with alternate strategies and tools for corporal punishment through interaction with peace clubs. Michelle Crevits was awarded $2,000 to further her ideas for urban fruit trees being part of the local food system. Timothy Souza was awarded $1,000 to develop a video using humour to highlight practical steps people can take to advance peace. Each winner was connected with a mentor from the jury to take their ideas to the next stage.

Mennonite Studies

Mennonite History Professor Marlene Epp and  Archivist/Librarian Laureen Harder-Gissing have been arranging numerous events on behalf of the Institute of Anabaptist Mennonite Studies. The most visible of projects is “Along the Road to Freedom” - a collection of 26 original paintings by Winnipeg artist Ray Dirks. Dirks is director of the Mennonite Heritage Centre art gallery and also curated the “Just Food” art exhibit that came to Grebel in 2011. These paintings tell the stories of Mennonite women and their families who fled the Soviet Union after the Revolution and during the Second World War. Families across Canada commissioned the paintings and provided Ray with images and information to inspire the paintings. Some of these profiles are close to home, sharing the stories of several of our residents’ great-great-grandmothers.


Laureen Harder-Gissing in the
Mennonite Archives of Ontario Gallery

Resident Michael Born stands with the painting  of his great-grandmother, Maria Redekop Wall.

Resident Michael Born stands with the painting
of his great-grandmother, Maria Redekop Wall.

Students Adrian Neufeld and Noah Janzen stand with the painting of their great-great-grandmother, Maria Neufeld.

Students Adrian Neufeld and Noah Janzen stand with the painting of their great-great-grandmother, Maria Neufeld.

To complement this exhibit, there is a Mennonite Archives of Ontario display called “We are named, We name ourselves,” detailing Russian Mennonite immigrant & refugee records of statehood & community, 1924-1962.

Exhibits are on display until January 18, 2015

Mennonite/s Writing events

Online Lectures

Each year, Grebel hosts numerous special lectures on different topics of interest to the Grebel community. We have recorded most of the recent lectures and they are hosted on our youtube channel: Lectures include past Bechtel, Eby, and Sawatsky Lectures, the Mennonite Writers series of 2012 and now 2014-15, plus lectures by Ziauddin Yousafzai, Lisa Schirch, and Ernie Regehr. Find them on our website at or our YouTube channel

Rudy Wiebe siging books

On Wednesday, October 29th, two-time Governor General’s Award winner Rudy Wiebe read from his newly released novel Come Back. Wiebe’s powerful new book follows Hal Wiens—a character first introduced as a teenager in Wiebe’s 1962 novel Peace Shall Destroy Many, now a retired professor in Edmonton—as he grapples with the ongoing legacy of his son’s suicide.

Calendar of Events