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Prior to attending the University of Waterloo, MPACS student Fatoumatta Camara intended to pursue a career in diplomacy and international relations. However, The Gambia’s 2017 political impasse, during which half of the population was displaced, changed the trajectory of her career path. This experience sparked her desire to better understand why conflict turns violent, and to explore alternative methods of conflict resolution. In her search for a graduate program, she was drawn to MPACS because of its interdisciplinary approach and the many opportunities offered by the department.

For decades, MPACS student Afnan Aleem has situated himself in the center of some of the world’s most critical humanitarian crisis zones. As a Risk Management leader at Save the Children, he has spent most of the last decade supporting humanitarian assistance in war zones of Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Ukraine, Gaza, and Afghanistan – just to name a few. From being posted in Pakistan during the 2010 floods to negotiating humanitarian access with the Houthis in Yemen, he has gained deep knowledge and practical experience in the domain of peace and conflict.

“When I was in Hebron, heading through checkpoints meant our Palestinian guide had to show his ID while I breezed through,” said Jessica Dyck, 2015 graduate of the Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) program. “He wasn’tpermitted to walk down certain streets in his hometown while I could. I was struck by how this mirrored what I have read and learned about apartheid South Africa.” 


Her grandfather was forced to flee from Palestine. Religious persecution chased her father out of Cuba. Growing up in a refugee and immigrant faith community in Kitchener, discussion and tales of hardship became a recurring sound for MPACS graduate, Kaylee Perez. “Surrounded by these conversations growing up, I grew to love the aspects of cross-cultural communication,” she said of her upbringing, which led her down a path of peace work that spanned not only cultures, but continents.

For Darren Kropf, the foundation for equity starts from the ground up, quite literally. As the City of Kitchener's Manager of Active Transportation and Development, he explained that “A transportation network that’s predominantly functional for motor vehicles privileges a certain demographic.” While this may be a foreign idea to some, Darren’s mantra is simple, “we must not privilege one group over the other in our transportation planning.” 

“The world of work today is defined by disruptive business models, flattened hierarchies, integrated networks of teams, and global hiring practices. As a result, the workplace is more diverse than ever before,” explained Grebel alumni Wali Muhammad, who studied in the Master of Peace and Conflict Studies program at University of Waterloo, based at Conrad Grebel University College. "When people from diverse backgrounds try to work together as teams, it creates a huge potential for conflict. Simple misunderstandings often result in wasted potential and depleted team performance.” For more than 10 years, Wali has worked to fix this persistent problem of cultural incompatibility.

Valeria Navarrete is a final-year Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) student who recently completed an internship at The Space Court Foundation, an organization committed to elevating space law and policy education. With the ongoing global race to increase human space presence, Valeria is interested in the potential conflicts this might produce, something that MPACS speaks to directly. In this article, Valeria expands on her interest in space law, its intersection with peace and conflict studies, and her experience as an MPACS student.

The third Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference and Festival (GMP) took place on June 15-18, at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, VA. A diverse range of scholars, Mennonite practitioners, artists, and theologians from around the world were invited to share about their work for peace and listen to each other’s stories.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

MPACS Society: Meet the Team

You have most likely received emails from, or attended events hosted by, the Masters of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) Student Society. This is a student-led group that focuses on building community, running events, establishing connections with related organizations in the field, and advocating for MAPCS students.  

Before studying at the University of Waterloo, Rebaz worked in development and human rights law, gained his Ph.D. in Law, and worked with various non-profits in the Middle East. He decided to join the Master's in Peace and Conflict Studies program as a way to re-learn many of the systems he took for granted and to connect past lessons in new ways. In addition to development and human rights law, he also worked campaign design, humanitarian work, and program development. However, when working in these areas, he noticed that something was missing about whose responsible to change the system, and realized that “the somebody to do anything about [these issues around us], is everyone”.