Turbulent times like ours call for people who understand systems of violence and conflict, and who are prepared to build peace with justice. This involves identifying and transforming systems of violence, marginalization, and oppression, including racist, gendered and colonial violence at home as well as around the world. Whether working locally or globally, Peace and Conflict Studies is committed to imagining, educating, and ongoing learning that equips our graduates to pursue justice and peace.
PACS as a department is located on territory that is governed by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum and land promised to the Six Nations Confederacy in 1784 as part of the Haldimand Declaration. For more information, see Conrad Grebel University College's land acknowledgement and read about decolonization at the University of Waterloo's Office of Indigenous Relations.
Why Study Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS)?
Learn diverse ways to promote peace, equitable justice, and social change through a vibrant interdisciplinary program that combines the study of history, political science, sociology, and psychology to understand better the causes and impact of interpersonal, communal, and international conflicts and violence in different societies. You will explore theory, research, and practice in classes taught by leading peace and justice scholars and practitioners. As an arts student, you will bring a unique perspective and set of skills to peace and conflict studies. Your creativity, critical thinking, and empathy can help contribute to finding new and innovative solutions to the complex challenges of peacebuilding and conflict resolution.
Take courses on conflict mediation, non-violent social change, gender and peacebuilding, religion and culture, environment, community transformation, human rights and social justice, refugees and forced migration, negotiation strategies, trauma, healing, and restorative justice.
Prepare to become a peace practitioner, community leader, or entrepreneur in conflict management programs or work with community and international development organizations, education systems, law firms, social services, refugee resettlement program support agencies, and more after graduation.
The annual C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest, established in 1974 by the directors of the C. Henry Smith Trust, offers Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) students and Grebel residents/associates an opportunity to discuss peacebuilding and social justice issues on campus and beyond. The intercollegiate competition is administered by the Peace and Justice Ministries of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Undergraduate students from every Mennonite and Brethren in Christ college in North America, including Canada, are eligible to participate.
Henry Smith was an American Mennonite historian and professor at Mennonite colleges and the University of Chicago. Overall, he taught history for nearly 50 years at the collegiate level. He is well-known for his many books on Mennonite history and his attention to the peace commitments of the Mennonite tradition.
On March 13, 2024, from 7 pm to 8 pm in Grebel’s Community Education Room, the PACS Department and the Grebel Chaplaincy’s Offices are organizing a speech performance and inviting you to participate. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of this peace speech competition, and for that reason, we have increased the cash prizes for the winners. The stakes have never been this high! The contest winners will be rewarded with cash prizes of $1000 for first place, $500 for second place, and $300 for third place. For more information, reach out to the PACS Academic Advisor.
To learn more about the contest and meet previous PACS or Grebel resident participants, visit this link here.
Application deadline - February 29, 2024.
Are you planning to attend the event? Fill out this registration form.
It is a cliché story—the one where the hopeful, career-hunting traveller stumbles into New York City and discovers it is the promised land of opportunity—but for Kenny Hildebrand (BA 2015), the story is all too real. He laughed when summarizing his journey from St. Catharines to New York City; it started with an old friend jokingly suggesting he move there and ended shortly after with an offer to work at one of the largest law firms in Manhattan. “Moving here was an inside joke that went a little too far,” he mused.
“Growing up, I was–and still am–terrified of conflict. I run away from conflict, which is hilarious considering what I do,” shared Hannah Redekop (BA 2011), who has facilitated meetings between warring groups in Colombia, documented the Israeli occupation's human rights abuses against Palestinians during a year spent in Palestine, and now shares the stories of those who bear conflict's violent burden.
“Openness to possibility has been really important to me and my journey,” shared Katie Gingerich (BA, 2015), a Grebel alumna who founded The Ripple Effect Education (TREE) – a non-profit peace education organization, during her undergraduate studies. “Stepping out and starting this organization didn’t just happen overnight,” explained Katie. “Grebel’s opportunities are what made me who I am.”