stool and globe.The Peace and Conflict Studies department at Conrad Grebel University College envisions peace holistically as a healthy society where communities and individuals flourish. Peace involves just relationships among its members; it is a space where all people are welcome to pursue goals that enhance the well-being of themselves, their communities, and their environment. Building a culture of peace requires the efforts and responsibilities of individuals or groups of individuals who will intersect all sectors of society.

Rooted in this holistic vision of peace, the Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) program is premised on the belief that an effective and healthy society is one in which the state, the marketplace, and civil society act as equally-balancing building blocks. As the three-legged stool diagram illustrates, if one sector governs or overrides the others, like the dominant leg of a stool, the overall structure becomes unstable — unable to carry the "load" of peace. When stress occurs and the ground begins to shake, people run the risk of "falling off" or being left out of the equation. More serious yet, in times of extreme crisis or catastrophe, an unbalanced stool can collapse entirely under the dynamics of unequal weight. Not only must all three sectors of society be strong, but they must function in relationship to one another. They must work together while performing their respective functions, supporting proportions of the load in different areas of the terrain.

Why civil society?

While recognizing the importance of all three sectors in building an effective and healthy society, the MPACS program will focus on the pivotal role that civil society plays as the glue that binds a nation together across sectors and towards a common goal. Civil society institutions are sometimes described as the "long shadow of a peacemaker" as their impact and ripple effect often far exceeds the capability of any one person. While this sector is as essential in building a peaceable world as is government or business, it is often under-emphasized in academia and its role misunderstood. MPACS’ focus on civil society, then, seeks to provide a perspective on peace that is often overlooked in other graduate programs.

Program Pyramid

The MPACS program is modelled after this approach to peace, working under the influence of equal importance between state, marketplace, and civil society. Where these three building blocks meet is where MPACS courses are founded. The diagram below illustrates how MPACS courses fit into this model: 

program pyramid