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).
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.
- 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.
Students in the MPACS program gain valuable skills, experience, and networks through internship placements. These experiences range from local to international, and help students prepare for their professional goals.
Interested in learning more about MPACS internships? Below are a few snapshots of past and present MPACS students' internship experiences, to help you get a better sense of what an internship with MPACS could look like.
Gabrielle McInnis - Kitchener, Ontario
For her internship placement, Gabrielle McInnis worked with a local not-for-profit organization in Kitchener called Community Justice Initiatives (CJI). CJI focuses on Restorative Justice which is a way of addressing conflict and crime that engages both the person who caused the harm and the people who were affected by the harm. As an Intern in the Elder Mediation Service, Gabrielle was tasked with piloting the Home Share Program which seeks to reduce the impacts of the current housing crisis in K-W by promoting the exchange of affordable housing. She was also responsible for organizing clientele, facilitating mediation processes, and supporting her Elder Mediation team in developing and providing programming to older adults in the region.
CJI offered Gabrielle the opportunity to implement programs that diverted conflict from the criminal justice system in ways that put victims and offenders at the center of peacebuilding, accountability, and healing processes. Getting to work with older adults helped Gabrielle to understand the complex ways in which conflict, trauma, and needs have an impact on people’s lives and how people relate to those around them. Gabrielle remains an active volunteer mediator with CJI and hopes to continue investing her skills in her community.
Raphael Freston - Waterloo, Ontario
Raphael Freston’s internship was with The Center for Community-Based Research (CCBR) and Community-Based Research Canada, in Waterloo. CCBR is a grounded, ethics-focused organization that gives voices to communities by making them active participants of their research. At CCBR, Raphael was a Junior Researcher in a social inclusion project where he did a literature review on the concept of social inclusion to guide future research projects.
In his role, he grappled with the questions: “What is social inclusion?” and “How could we measure it?” Raphael also facilitated workshops, wrote blog posts, developed infographics, and aided with fundraising for the organization. One key takeaway for Raphael was how important reflective principles taught in the MPACS program are for community-based research. He found CCBR to be a fertile place to apply the skill sets developed in his MPACS studies.
Bethany Serengheu - Oakville, Ontario
After graduation, Bethany Serengheu worked at The Meeting House in Oakville, Ontario, as a Way of Peace Developer. Through the MPACS program, she had been researching the role of spirituality and religion in conflict transformation and peacebuilding.
In her role, Bethany was part of an advisory group that reviewed and redeveloped a peace curriculum for the church organization. Working with a team of staff, she synthesized. ideas to create and present lesson plans, and she wrote scripts for videos to incorporate into the redeveloped peace curriculum. In her time at The Meeting House, Bethany learned about different theological perspectives on peace, relationships, self-hood, and gained more tools for transforming conflict towards peace.
Amir Locker-Biletzki - Toronto, Ontario
Amir Locker-Biletzki worked at Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) in Canada as a Scholar in Resident. IJV is committed to the struggle for bringing peace in Palestine/Israel and dismantling the Jewish-Zionist privileged power structure. In his role, Amir gave lectures to members of IJV, organized guest speakers, wrote content, and started a research and archive project surrounding the history of IJV.
Kaylee Perez - Hamilton, Ontario
Kaylee Perez worked for Walk with Me Canada Victim Services in Hamilton, Ontario in the Spring of 2014. Walk with Me is a 24-hour mobile victim care unit and a short-term safe house for victims of human trafficking in Canada which currently provides immediate care to the largest number of human trafficking victims in the country. It was founded by Ms Timea Eva Nagey, a human trafficking survivor. During her internship Kaylee designed marketing packages, outlined basic information about human trafficking, the organization, and how donors could help.
Allie Bly - Ottawa, Ontario
Allie Bly worked for the Polaris Institute in Ottawa, ON, Canada, full time for Spring term of 2014.The Polaris Institute was launched in 1997 and is designed to enable citizen or peoples’ movements to re-skill and re-tool themselves to help them bring about democratic change and challenge public policy. Allie worked as the research assistant intern, researching Canadian pipeline corporations so that the Polaris Institute could further support front-line activists.
Yelena Gyulhandanyan - Washington D. C., USA
Yelena Gyulhandanyan worked for Search for Common Ground in Washington D.C., USA in the Spring of 2014. Search for Common Ground is an organization that works to transform conflict worldwide by providing tools needed to find solutions and work together on both sides of a conflict. Yelena was the Forums and Special Projects intern, responsible for the promotion of Under the Same Sun, a film co-produced by Common Ground Productions, and organized the monthly Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum and the annual Common Ground Awards.
Cris Fox - Kitchener, Ontario
Cris Fox worked for Community Justice Initiatives (CJI) in Kitchener, ON, Canada from the Fall of 2014 to the Winter of 2015. CJI is a non-profit organization known world-wide for starting the first modern Restorative Justice program. While working there Cris had the opportunity to take on a variety of different tasks such as co-facilitation, mediation, perfecting administration skills, as well as having the opportunity to speak at two conferences.
Maijana Tomic - Toronto, Ontario
Marijana Tomic worked for FCJ Refugee Centre in Toronto, ON, Canada during the Spring of 2014. FCJ Refugee Centre helps up-rooted people overcome the challenges of rebuilding their lives in Canadian society. The Centre offers an integrated model of refugee protection, settlement services and education, including shelter for women and their children. Marijana worked as a legal aid support worker, assisting refugee claimants, by compiling their cases for the Immigration and Refugee Board in Toronto, and was also involved in organizing conferences and roundtables.
Soroosh Vafapoor - Toronto, Ontario
Soroosh Vafapoor worked for St. Stephen's Community House in Toronto, ON, Canada, during Spring Term of 2014. St. Stephen's Community House works with individuals and communities primarily in downtown Toronto to identify, prevent and alleviate social and economic problems by developing and delivering a range of programs. These programs include: child care, employment and training centres, and conflict & resolution training. Soroosh spent his internship as a case manager within these services.
Rachel Anderson - Washington D.C., USA
Rachel Anderson worked at School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) in Washington D.C., USA, full time for the Spring and Fall Term of 2013. SOA Watch is a nonviolent grassroots movement working to close centers that train state actors such as military, law enforcement and border patrol. Rachel worked as the Organizing Intern during her time at SOA Watch. Her work involved developing, coordinating, and promoting the SOA Watch campaign and events.
Babina Kharel - Waterloo, Ontario
Babina Kharel worked for Residential Energy Efficiency Project (REEP) in Waterloo, ON during her Spring Term in 2013. REEP is an environmental charity that helps people in Waterloo Region and across southwestern Ontario live sustainably. They work to do this through empowering the community with practical tools and knowledge to make change. In her role, Babina evaluated ongoing projects and their social and environmental impacts, developed fundraising plans, and explored the possibilities of networking and collaboration with international organizations working in similar areas.
Rod Friesen - Kitchener, Ontario
Rod Friesen worked for Compass Refugee Centre in Kitchener, Ontario, part time for 10 months during 2013. Compass Refugee Centre has been welcoming people who have come into the Waterloo Region from all around the world. Rod's work involved him assisting the Executive Director of Compass with strategic planning, organizational development, human resources management, volunteer resources development, operational planning, and conflict and peace building training.
Jahan Zeb - Waterloo, Ontario
While at the Security Governance Group, Jahan worked as the Research and Communication Intern. In this position he wrote monthly blogs for SGG, researched and wrote country snapshots, as well as policy briefs for the Security Sector Reform Research Centre.
At Gandhi Peace Festival, Jahan was the Coordinating Team Leader. He worked to organize the Gandhi Peace Festival, managed the social media and communication aspects of the Festival, and through these avenues focused on raising awareness about missing Indigenous women in Canada.
Patty Dorsey - Kitchener, Ontario
Patty Dorsey worked for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Circle of Friends in Kitchener, ON in the Spring of 2013. The MCC Circle of Friends supports individuals and families transitioning from homelessness and shelter-living back into the Kitchener-Waterloo community. Patty worked in the volunteer recruitment sector of the organization. Her energy was focused towards planning and implementation of volunteer training sessions, and facilitating circles of support.
Adam Moreash - Waterloo, Ontario
Adam Moreash worked with Global Peace Centre Canada (GPCC) in Waterloo, ON, an organization founded at Conrad Grebel University College with the assistance of the MPACS Program. Adam was with the organization during the Winter Term of 2016. GPCC works to advance education by developing and providing curriculum and training programs on general diversity, tolerance, acceptance, communication and conflict resolution skills for students and educators. Adam's position at GPCC allowed him to evaluate peace curriculums of education on a local and global level. In addition Adam worked to design peace curriculums with GPCC himself and observed how they were administered in an education context.
Jackie Boychuk - Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario
Jackie Boychuk worked within the Hacienda Sarria Market Garden Program with The Working Centre in Kitchener-Waterloo, ON during the Spring of 2016. The Hacienda Sarria Market Garden is a volunteer-driven community enterprise that demonstrates, promotes, and shares knowledge about sustainable local food production. Jackie's interest in the internship stemmed from her desire to study how grassroot programs can address systemic issues such as poverty and unemployment through community and capacity building of both individuals and the larger society.
Aislynn Cooper - Guelph, Ontario
Aislynn Cooper worked for Lakeside HOPE House in Guelph ON, during the Spring Term of 2016. HOPE House provides immediate relief to those who live in poverty and teaches life skills workshops to help the community thrive, despite their circumstance by offering services and programs that challenge the stigma surrounding poverty. Aislynn worked as the Development and Communications Coordinator, working with digital communication platforms to raise the public profile of HOPE House to the general public. This internship allowed Aislynn to develop non-profit planning skills through her researching of growing opportunities for the organization.
Reza Ali Chaudhry - Hamilton, Ontario
Reza Ali Chaudhry worked for the United Nations University - Institute for Water, Environment, and Health (UNU-INWEH) in Hamilton ON during Fall 2016. UNU-INWEH acts as the “UN Think Tank on Water” and contributes to the resolution of the global water challenge through a unique programme of applied research and education. They work to conduct research on the impact of water, ecosystems and sustainable practices on community develop. Reza worked on assisting in the development of the Water Security Training Course curriculum with the Water Learning Centre (WLC). In addition, Reza worked on analyzing the outputs from UNU activities, projects, and programs to determine the relevance to the Water Security Training Course. Reza also developed a module on Water Security in Conflict and Disaster Zones based on his ground experience and employing available data, information, and knowledge.
Amin Khan - Ottawa, Ontario
Amin Khan worked with World Vision Canada in Ottawa ON. in the Winter of 2017. World Vision is a global relief, development and advocacy organization that focuses on changing the lives of children around the world by building up communities, responding to the root causes of poverty, and creating resilience. Amin's interest in the organization stemmed from his desire to look at conflicts at a local and communal level as a place to begin his career and gain experience. Working with World Vision, Amin learned firsthand conflict/problem resolution techniques in non-armed and community settings, and learned about sustainable peace and resolution. Amin worked to carry out research about conflict management/resolution, mediation, and peacebuilding.
Jacob Gaudaur - Elmira, Ontario
Jacob Gaudaur interned with International Teams Canada in Elmira for six months in 2017. International Teams Canada, or iTeams for short, is a Christian international development organization dedicated to fostering holistic transformation in the lives of the world's most marginalized: widows, orphans and refugees. They do this through partnering with local initiatives who are already doing valuable work and adding velocity to their work by connecting them with supporting communities here in Canada. During his internship, Jacob was involved in a monitoring and evaluation process at one of iTeams' partership locations in Romania. In addition to this, Jacob was also responsible to fund-raise for the Romanian program he worked at as well as prepare program reports and grant applications for various iTeams programs.
Elena Tkacheva - Toronto, Ontario
Elena Tkacheva was a part of the Migrant Justice team at KAIROS Canada in Toronto, ON in the Spring of 2018.
KAIROS Canada is a Canadian ecumenical organization that is famous for its Blanket Exercise, a participatory history lesson about settler and Indigenous history in Canada developed in collaboration with Indigenous Elders. KAIROS work in four main areas — migrant justice, ecological justice, gender justice, and indigenous rights. While working with KAIROS, Elena focused on helping create a workshop, advocacy campaigns and informational resources on migrant justice in Canada. She also did research and worked on developing a resource for migrant workers in crisis.
Stephanie Schreuders - Kitchener, Waterloo
Stephanie Schreuders worked with the Refugee Resettlement team at the Mennonite Central Comittee(MCC) in their Kitchner office over the 2019 spring term. By providing information regarding Canadian policies, legal support, sponsorship, and advocate for fair legislation, MCC helps support incoming refuggees to Canada throughout the entire settlement process.
For the duration of this internship, Stephanie held the position of Refugee Program Assistant, where she was able to work with various sponsor groups across ontario to prepare and welcome incoming refugees from around the world. Stephanie had the opportunity to partner with Silver Lake Mennonite Camp to organize the first ever newcomer camping weekend to show the 83 newcomers the Canadian outdoors.
Noe Gonzalia - Sucre, Columbia
Noe Gonzalia worked at SembrandoPaz in Sincelojo, Sucre, Colombia during the Spring of 2013. Sembrandopaz is an organization that promotes, peace, justice, reconciliation,and holistic human development by helping conflict-affected communities to create spaces for community participation within their political structure. Noe supported the work of SembrandoPaz during his internship, focusing in the area of community building, achieving sustainability through new forms of integration and mutual work to mark a safe route to overcome ignorance, inequality, poverty, and hunger.
Fiorella Rojas Jaramillo - Lima, Peru
Fiorella Rojas Jaramillo worked with ProDialogo in Lima, Peru during the Spring Term of 2016. ProDialogo is a civil society formed in 2006 to promote a culture of dialogue, in order to bring sustainable development and peacebuilding in Peru. The organization seeks to improve the relationships between various stakeholders who share a social setting, fostering confidence building, collaboration and reaching agreements through creative and mutually satisfactory solutions, turning the problems into opportunities.Fiorella's interest in working with the organization came from her passion for working in armed-conflict, including terrorism, settings. This opportunity to work in non-armed conflicts offered her a starting point for her career and a way to gain experience. Fiorella was able to learn firsthand conflict resolution techniques in non-armed and community settings, as well as learn about the creation of sustainable peace.
Riyaz Basi - Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Riyaz Basi worked with Mercy Corps in Port-au-Prince, Haiti for six months in 2017. Mercy Corps is an international NGO that operates in complex crises providing emergency relief and programming to help communities transition into resiliency. Riyaz worked on a program aiming to increase community security and reduce violence through a community-based research project. She worked closely with the Centre for Community-Based Research and Community Justice Initiatives, local Waterloo organizations, who were partners in the project. Her work primarily entailed co-managing and supporting research teams, facilitating trainings, and tackling the challenges that come with the relationships between locals and NGOs. Riyaz also contributed to the program evaluation led by MPACS Professor Reina Neufeldt by collecting and analyzing field data.
Rose Ongech - Turkana County, Kenya
Rose Ongech interned at ACME Development Organization, a peace and development organization in Kenya. ACME provided Rose an opportunity to interact with the immigrants of the Kakuma Refugee Camp, which she found to be humbling. At ACME, Rose worked in various projects ranging from environmental sustainability, cultural preservation, and peacebuilding.
Rose wrote project reports and created concept notes, proposal development PowerPoint presentations, virtual/in-person meetings, and training workshops. As an intern, she also worked on a research proposal that focused on exploring strategies to enhance meaningful participation of women in development processes, which is an area of interest of ACME and its partner organizations. She had the opportunity to interview women leaders in the local development sector. Working at ACME challenged Rose to grow in her career and increased her passion for community work.
David Eagle - Tanzania
David Eagle worked for Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) in the Spring of 2014, spending time Waterloo, ON and Tanzania. MEDA is an international economic development organization whose mission is to create business solutions to poverty. Their work most often focuses on women, youth, and the rural poor. MEDA offers a number of economic development tools including financial services, improved technology, and business training. David worked as a Consultant on an agriculture-based project, travelling to Tanzania multiple times to train staff and farmers on business and marketing practices in order to increase their capacities in business.
Issa Ebombolo - Meheba, Zambia
Issa Ebombolo worked with Refuge Alliance in Meheba, Zambia during Spring 2015. Refuge Alliance is an international Norwegian nonprofit and non-government organization working as United Nations High Commission for Refugees implementing partner in Maheba refugee camp in Zambia. The organization focuses on three areas which include capacity building, poverty reduction, and peacebuilding. They work to strengthen existing refugee support, support child soldiers to integrate into civilian life, and give hope to victims of torture through peace education, microfinance, entrepreneurship and conflict management. Issa worked organizing and facilitating workshops, and participating in day to day field work activities of the organization such as mediation, preliminary counselling and conflict management. This work allowed Issa to learn from people who have been exposed to violence and help them identify their own struggles and find appropriate solutions.
Jessie Castello - Johannesburg, South Africa
Jessie Castello worked with CIVICUS in Johannesburg, South Africa during the Spring of 2017. CIVICUS is an international alliance focused on strengthening citizen action and civil society globally. Their mandate includes protecting of the rights of civil society and strengthening civil society's influence. As a Policy & Research intern, Jessie worked with the ‘Advocacy & Campaigns’ and ‘Civic Space Research’ clusters within CIVICUS. Her work involved assisting with research updates for the CIVICUS Monitor, an online platform that tracks the state of civic space in 195 countries across the world. She also assisted with a range of other research and advocacy projects focused on the protection of civic freedoms.
Michael Southcott - Geneva, Switzerland
Michael Southcott worked for United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Geneva, Switzerland during the Spring of 2015. The UNFPA is the lead UN agency that works in over 150 countries to ensure that pregnancies are wanted, childbirth is safe, and young people's potential is fulfilled. They work with national, regional and intergovernmental organization to establish and promote policy development and provide support for field-level operations.
Michael worked under the Humanitarian Fragile Context Branch of UNFPA, which covers many humanitarian disasters, including Nepal, Ukraine, Syria and Yemen. Michael attended Member States Briefings, created and edited reports, summarized humanitarian disaster situation reports, assisted with UNFPA’s presence in many events and conferences within and outside of Geneva, and coordinated with UNHCR in order to develop a response plan for the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe.
Apolline Montoya - Geneva, Switzerland
Apolline Montoya worked at the Office of the Director-General (ODG) at the United Nations Office in Geneva for the NGO Liaison Unit. This Unit is the focal point in Geneva for NGOs wishing to begin or continue to increase their participation within the UN mechanisms as defined by the 1996/31 ECOSOC resolution. During her internship, Apolline worked on various tasks such as: conducting background researches on NGOs, attending important meetings such as the Human Rights Council 39th session and drafting reports on them for her supervisors, helping in the drafting of speeches, and the general day-to-day activities of the Office.
Catherine Leblond - Geneva, Switzerland
Catherine Leblond interned at International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) in Geneva, Switzerland during Spring 2018. IBJ is an international NGO that is dedicated to protecting the basic legal rights of individuals in developing countries. It works to guarantee all individuals the right to competent legal representation, the right to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment, and the right to a fair trial.
As an intern, Catherine worked on project and grant proposals, helped develop the Defense Wiki platform, and contributed and participated to the organization of a UN event that was part of the 38th Human Rights Council.
Menke Meijer - Beijing, China
Menke Meijer worked for UN Women in Beijing, China during the Spring of 2015. UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. They support UN Member States in setting global standards for gender equality within the designing of laws, policies, programmes, and services to ensure this equality.
Menke worked with UN women Beijing as a Research Assistant. Menke worked on a variety of different tasks such as creating speeches, organized visas for international consultants, led discussions, and organized press conferences and events – tackling the serious subjects of gender violence and LGBTQ rights. Menke's big project was working with the military peacekeeping officers on protecting civilians from gender-based and sexual violence.
Darren Kropf - Cheorwon, South Korea
Darren Kropf worked at Border Peace School in Cheorwon, South Korea during Spring 2014. Border Peace School works to nurture Peacemakers who work towards peace within the Korears. Darren taught peace education at the school and advised members of the school on their program development of within this new peace school seeking reconciliation and reunification of the Koreas.
Melody Chen - Bangkok, Thailand
Melody Chen worked for Ethnos Asia Ministries in Bangkok, Thailand in the Spring of 2013. Ethnos Asia Ministries exists to aid Christians who have been persecuted for their faith in areas of the Middle East and Asia. Melody was the Research and Communications Intern. She researched and documented issues related to ethnic groups living in the border regions of Asia through compilations of interviews and oral history.
James Janzen - Siem Reap, Cambodia
James Janzen worked for the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in Siem Reap, Cambodia during the Fall Term of 2014.CPCS is a Cambodia-based non-governmental organisation working in the field of peacebuilding and conflict transformation in Asia
He was the General Support Intern for the CPCS's Peace Processes Team based out of Cambodia. Duties included data and media analysis, program planning, and logistical support for conflict transformation workshops with civil servants in Myanmar.
Wali Muhammad - Pakistan
Wali Muhammad worked for Peace and Education Foundation (PEF) in Pakistan, full time during the Spring Term of 2014. The Mission of Peace and Education Foundation is to work to prevent, mitigate and transform conflicts stemming from ethnic, religious and political identity through education and engagement of opinion leaders in peacemaking and developing new systems that support tolerance across Pakistan. PEF runs capacity-building programs, organize cultural exchanges, and conduct research that helps promote peaceful coexistence.
While working there Wali conducted interviews of Muslim and non-Muslim religious leaders to gain an understanding of the current state of sectarian and interfaith relations in Pakistan.
Vik Suagh - Bangkok, Thailand
Vik Suagh worked for United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reducation in Bangkok, Thailand in the Fall of 2015. This United Nations organization is the focal point for strengthening disaster resilience in the Asia-Pacific region. While on his internship, Vik was engaged in a wide range of tasks and projects which allowed him to travel to several countries, including: Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam and India. Throughout his internship, he worked on the development of reports, conducted research, carried out data analysis and participated in many seminars, workshops and conferences.