Director Named to Lead MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement

Friday, June 20, 2014

Director Named to lead MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement at Conrad Grebel.

Paul Heidebrecht has been named Director of the new Mennonite Savings and Credit Union (MSCU) Centre for Peace Advancement at Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo.Paul Heidebrecht

Heidebrecht spent 5 years as Ottawa Office Director of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada.  Here he guided MCC’s efforts to shape government policies on behalf of program partners in relief, development, and peacebuilding. This involved building relationships with  government officials, Non-Government Organization (NGO) partners, and churches.  

Prior to that Heidebrecht completed an MA in Theological Studies at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) and a PhD in Theological Ethics at Marquette University.

Jim Pankratz, Dean at Conrad Grebel and chair of the search committee, praised “Paul’s deep commitment to building peace through partnerships. He has strong relationships and credibility among Canadian churches, NGOs, and government leaders. His academic preparation is diverse and deep.  He has been a successful leader at MCC. We are pleased to welcome him to this leadership role at the CPA and Grebel.”

The position with the CPA will be complemented with other teaching and research work at the College. 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 Project Ploughshares and MCC, I'm looking forward to establishing a whole host of new relationships.”

“It's amazing to see how this initiative at Grebel has come together,” noted Heidebrecht. “And it is evidence of a wellspring of commitment to the advancement of peace that I'm looking forward to drawing on.”

“Dr. Heidebrecht is superbly positioned to flourish in this new role at Grebel,” says College president Susan Schultz Huxman. “As an academic, diplomat, peace advocate, and Mennonite agency representative, he can give leadership to the three goals of incubating peace in the MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement: research, training, and community engagement.

Paul and his wife Carmen Brubacher are alumni of Conrad Grebel and are parents to 4 children ages 8 to 14. Paul completed a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1994 and Carmen a BA in Social Development Studies, followed an MDiv at AMBS.

In 2011 a $1 million gift from the MSCU was announced to add the peace centre to the academic building expansion, just opened on June 22. The MSCU CPA at Grebel embraces an expansive view of peacemaking and brings together bold new partners from the business, government, church, civil society and academic sectors.

“The CPA is already buzzing with activity,” notes Fred Martin the College’s development director who has been managing the start-up activity in the CPA. The fourth floor of the new building is now home to Project Ploughshares and the Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement. The Frank and Helen Epp Peace Incubator is a setting for individuals and start up organizations that already includes a video producer, a researcher from Africa, a recent MPACS grad starting a new charity, and actors researching stories of emigration and conscience. The Grebel Gallery in the CPA is currently hosting an exhibit on the life of Bertha Von Suttner, the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

The MSCU CPA will celebrate its opening on the International Day of Peace, Sunday September 21.

Founded in 1963 by Ontario Mennonites, Conrad Grebel University College is a Christian liberal arts college affiliated with the University of Waterloo. The College’s mission is “to seek wisdom, nurture faith and pursue justice and peace in service to church and society.” Conrad Grebel’s core values include inspired teaching, scholarly excellence, compassionate service, community building, active peacemaking and global engagement. These are expressed through the academic and student life programs.

For Further information

Contact Susan Schultz Huxman

519 885-0220 x 24223

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