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“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.”

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.

Navigating a gunpoint situation in Kenya. Camping near the flaming Darvazaa gas crater in Turkmenistan. Manually flagging down a train in Sicily. Co-creating a Great Lakes funding program with Ontario Indigenous groups. Relaxing in hot springs in Iceland. Developing a climate peace and security policy for the Canadian government. Grebel alumnus Patrick Quealey (BES 2002) enjoys regaling friends with stories of his adventures – anecdotes collected during his extensive personal travels and experiences from his career with Canada’s government. Patrick shines while trying new things, exploring unknown territory (both physically and in policy), and creating connections.

 

“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.

Kristin moved into Grebel and the University of Waterloo in the fall of 1995 initially to pursue her first love – acting. She enrolled in the theater program but transferred after her first year as she developed a keen interest in her Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) electives and decided to keep acting alive as a hobby. After graduating in 1998, she ventured off alone to the United States for work, where she quickly began missing her friends. “I decided I needed one day in my life where everyone I’ve ever met in the entire universe could get together and just party and celebrate life together,” said Kristin. “And so that’s when the 2010 party was born.”

Six Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) students from Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo were selected to attend the Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) United Nations (UN) Office Seminar on November 1-3, 2023. The three-day event held in New York City invited student delegates from across Canada and the United States to gather with one question in mind, does the UN matter? 

In this journal, I reflect on my experience working with the Mennonite Central Committee’s partners in Rwanda - Transformational Leadership Center (TLC), an organization that runs the peace library where I was placed as an intern. 

Liv Miller is a student graduating shortly at the end of this fall term. She shared some reflections and thoughts on the PACS program, how it helped their career and extra-curricular service activities, advocacies and initiatives, and how they imagine it will help her career moving forward after graduation.

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.

When Devon Spier, a Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) Alumni, was asked to summarize their experience with the program, and to talk about what take-away they carried forward with them, they talked about the need to exist in difficult spaces and celebrate differences. Experiences from studying PACS to where they are now are all linked by the importance of finding strength through your differences.