An internship combines rigorous scholarly reflection with experience and should invigorate, prepare, and mobilize you to be a more active global citizen guided by the values of global engagement, life-long learning, and compassionate service.

The goal of an internship is to develop practical competencies necessary for peace work in a setting in which you can observe agencies at work and be mentored to develop your own approaches. In addition to improving your own skill base, you will be required to deepen your own research capacity by engaging in projects directed by or related to your host agency. You will also be challenged to see linkages between the host agency and organizations performing relevant work in other sectors (i.e., government, civil society, and the marketplace).

Learning Objectives

The purpose of an internship is to integrate on-the-ground experience with reading, research, and writing. It is meant to provide you with practical experience in an organization related to your interests in a local, national, or global context. An internship offers you an opportunity to develop personal, professional, and community engagement skills.    

  • Personal development involves critical thinking, an ability to look at issues from multiple perspectives, the development of communication skills (oral and written), learning team work, and benefitting from coaching/mentoring/supervision. It is a chance to further “know yourself” as a peace practitioner.
  • Professional development for peace practitioners may involve anything from a more loosely structured experience observing and participating in the daily ebb and flow of peacebuilding practice to a more “highly structured and sequenced set of experiences” with clear activity goals and outcomes within a professional context. The professional context may not focus on “peacebuilding” per se (e.g. it might be in an environmental law office or poverty alleviation program), but is one that welcomes and affirms efforts to incorporate civil society-based peacebuilding practices and perspectives that you bring from your MPACS training.
  • Community engagement focuses the “development of personal and professional knowledge, skills, and values” on tasks and experiences related to building a more peaceful world. It means that one’s personal and professional development occurs within a community and is ‘about’ that community. It means that the full human context of the work is taken into account and your own growth interacts with, and develops out of, this larger context.

Furthermore, an MPACS internship may not provide a specific career path, but it should expose you to professional options and will specifically prepare you to both understand and be involved with the development of civil society’s role in creating healthy, resilient, and more peaceful and just communities. The internship provides an opportunity to:

  • Apply principles of conflict analysis and transformation at community, institutional, and/or systemic levels.
  • Develop practical competencies necessary for effective peace building work.
  • Have a vision for advancing peace in practical and meaningful ways locally, nationally, and globally.

Preparing for your Internship

The MPACS Internship program is self-directed where students seek out placements that align with their individual professional and academic goals. The Internship Coordinator is available to help you identify an appropriate placement, assist you as you negotiate specific aspects of the internship with the mentor in the partner organization, creation of the proposal, and can serve as a logistics advisor throughout the internship development process as well as during the time you are in the field. 

Criteria for an Internship

  • The placement must be at least 50 working days (350-400 hours). These hours can be completed full-time during one academic term, or on a part-time basis over multiple academic terms.
  • The substance of the work to be completed is consistent with the goals of the MPACS program and provides a level of rigor that is consistent with a graduate level course credit. It is ideal to have opportunities to understand the organization’s internal structures and dynamics, how your organization operates within the government-civil society organization (CSO)-marketplace triangle that is core to the MPACS worldview. The internship should also involve opportunities for you to develop an understanding of how the organization works, and not just to complete important day-to-day tasks. This will ideally mean exposure to management meetings, visioning sessions, and board or committee meetings (if a CSO), or to bodies of similar function if you are working in a business or government context. These expectations are in part communicated through a letter from the Internship Coordinator and can be sent as your plan develops. Throughout this process and during the internship, be on the lookout for specific research projects to which you can contribute that will benefit your host while also advancing your own learning goals.
  • Organizations will appoint a local mentor, typically this will be your work supervisor. While your Faculty Advisor will be your primary contact, developing a check-in relationship with someone “in the field” for whom you work is equally important. You will include a copy of this person’s CV/resume in your proposal. Ideally they will have a Master’s degree and five years of experience or a Bachelor’s degree and ten years of experience.

Academic Requirements

For details on the academic requirements of the PACS 625 Internship course and further details on the approval process, please review the PACS 625 syllabus (PDF).

Previous Student Experiences

Since the beginning of the MPACS program, students have found exciting placements all around the world in a wide variety of organizations. You can read profiles of past student experiences in detail on our Student Experiences page.

We have also had students complete internships with the following organizations:

  • Article 36 in London, England
  • Border Peace School in Cheorwon, South Korea
  • Centre for Equity Rights in Accommodation in Toronto, Canda
  • Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Christian Blind Mission in Toronto, Canda
  • Circles of Support and Accountability Nova Scotia in Halifax, Canada
  • CIVICUS in Johanesburg, South Africa
  • Community Justice Initiatives in Kitchener, Canada
  • FCJ Refugee Centre in Toronto, Canada
  • Free the Children in Toronto, Canada
  • Ghandi Peace Festival in Hamilton, Canada
  • Global Peace Centre Canada in Waterloo, Canada
  • Healing of the Seven Generations in Kitchener, Canada
  • Hope Story in Cambridge, Canada
  • International Bridges to Justice in Geneva, Switzerland
  • International Peace Initiatives in Meru, Kenya
  • International Teams Canada in Elmira, Canada
  • KAIROS in Ottawa, Canada
  • Kawartha Lakes Food Source in Lindsay, Canada
  • Keepers Alert in Harare, Zimbabwe
  • Lakeside Hope House in Guelph, Canada
  • Mennonite Central Commitee Ontario in Kitchener, Canada
  • Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support in Kitchener, Canada
  • Mercy Corps in Port Au Prince, Haiti
  • Peace Club Zambia in Lusaka, Zambia
  • Polaris Institute in Ottawa, Canada
  • ProDialogo in Lima, Peru
  • Refugee Alliance in Meheba, Zambia
  • Residential Energy Efficiency Project in Kitchener, Canada
  • Salvation Army in Brampton, Canada
  • School of the Americas Watch in Washington, United States
  • Search for Common Ground in Washington, United States
  • Sembrando Paz in Sincelejo, Colombia
  • St. Jerome's University College in Waterloo, Canada
  • St. Stephen's Community House in Toronto, Canada
  • The Ripple Effect Education in Waterloo, Canada
  • The Working Centre in Kitchener, Canada
  • UN Women's Initiative in Beijing, China
  • United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction in Bangkok, Thailand
  • United Nations Office of the Director General - NGO Liaison Unit in Geneva, Switzerland
  • United Nations Population Fund in Geneva, Switzerland
  • United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment, and Health in Hamilton, Canada
  • Walk with Me Canada in Hamilton, Canada
  • World Vision Canada in Ottawa, Canada