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Commitment to Peace and Reconciliation

Thursday, February 9, 2017

During recent days we have shared the widespread sorrow and concern about attitudes, policies, and actions that have resulted in suspicion, fear, violence, and death.  We have stopped in silence and prayer to grieve the deaths, wounds, and shattered families of Muslims in Quebec City who were attacked while gathered with their community for prayer. We have stood and walked in solidarity with those expressing outrage and profound concern about the statements and policies of leaders who foster suspicion, fear, division, and exclusion by closing borders and revoking visas.

We are a University College rooted in the Mennonite tradition, committed to justice, peace, and reconciliation. We offer Canada’s first peace and conflict studies program, challenging, inspiring and equipping students for peacebuilding across the borders of nationality, religion, and culture. Every year we welcome refugee students from around the world to live and study with us.  We partner with organizations that promote demilitarization, nonviolence, community-building, social activism, interfaith dialogue, reconciliation, and peace education.

We affirm and stand with many others who share our concerns and our commitments.  Our federal government has stated that Canada welcomes refugees and that reconciliation with Canada’s indigenous people is an urgent priority. Our colleagues at the University of Waterloo have declared that our campus welcomes “students, faculty and staff from around the world including those seeking refuge from violence and injustice”. Our partner Mennonite colleges, universities and churches in Canada and the United States are speaking and reaching out to support Muslims, immigrants, and refugees.

We are committed to being a community of scholarship, teaching, service and advocacy that promotes values and practices of peace and reconciliation among all people. We do this in humility. We acknowledge that we are settlers who have failed in our relationship with indigenous peoples on the land we now occupy and share. We are committed to words and actions that contribute to reconciliation, not division, on this land and across the land.

Jim Pankratz
Interim President
Conrad Grebel University College
University of Waterloo

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