Filter by:

Limit to items where the date of the news item:
Date range
Limit to items where the date of the news item:
Limit to news where the title matches:
Limit to news items tagged with one or more of:
Limit to news items where the audience is one or more of:

Imogen Sloss, an undergraduate student who recently completed a degree double majoring in PACS and Psychology, has been awarded the Governor General’s Academic Silver Medal for the highest GPA of the 2024 graduating Arts students at the University of Waterloo. The award recognizes a student graduating from the Faculty of Arts with the highest overall average. Imogen also attained the top cumulative average of all Arts students who finished in spring 2023, fall 2023, and winter 2024— by extension, she is also receiving the Department Award for Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) and the Currie Scholarship. When asked how it felt to be recognized for such achievements, she shared, “I was shocked to be the recipient of these awards and felt rewarded for my hard work over the past four years.” Imogen continued, “I am someone who loves learning, and have so benefitted from my experience as a student at Waterloo and Grebel.”

The RJ Specialization is open to all Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) Major students looking to pursue an in-depth study of alternative, non-conventional responses to societal harms and injustices, as well as solutions to harms experienced by individuals or groups in schools, faith communities, or social settings. The RJ Diploma is available to all University of Waterloo students enrolled in a degree program or any non- or post-degree academic plan. 

Robby Szolgyemy is finishing his 4A term as a Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) and Anthropology student, but when he began studying at the University of Waterloo, PACS was not on his radar at all. It was not until he was searching for electives to fill his first-year schedule that the program caught his eye. He was drawn to the seemingly straightforward program name that described exactly what they would be studying: peace, and conflict. Robby enrolled in PACS, hoping that, if anything, he might be able to glean some wisdom from deconstructing past conflicts in his life. However, as he started taking courses like PACS 323: Negotiation Theories and Strategies, he was surprised to find just how useful these skills and concepts could be.

Robby quickly picked up Peace and Conflict Studies as his second major and began taking more PACS courses. He was impressed by the applicability of PACS courses to his professional life, especially as a co-op student. Robby has worked in several professional environments where concepts like negotiation and conflict resolution have proven useful.

“Holding space to have difficult conversations can be incredibly difficult,” said Samantha Coelho, an Advocacy and Networking Specialist at Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada. “But I think having these conversations can lead to more intimate and fulfilling relationships, allow us to build empathy, and remind us to have humility about the positions we hold.”  

Supporting marginalized communities, working for justice, and exploring creative approaches to addressing world issues have become a regular part of Samantha’s life, but her introduction to advocacy, justice, and peacebuilding began a decade ago during her undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo and Conrad Grebel University College where she studied Arts and Business with a major in Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS).

On March 13, 2024, four University of Waterloo students participated in the 50th anniversary of the C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest. Established in 1974, the contest provides a platform for Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) students and Conrad Grebel University College residents or associates to engage in discussions of peacebuilding and issues of social justice in today’s world. After four powerful speeches for an audience of judges, staff, and friends, Grebel resident Kalkidan Ararso was awarded first place and a cash prize of $1000. Fiona Lüling, an exchange student from Germany taking PACS courses, was awarded second place with a cash prize of $500. Catlyn Walsh, a third-year PACS student, and Nathan Yap, a second year Grebel resident, tied for third place with a cash prize of $300.  

For Imogen Sloss, the desire for peace has always been an anchor in her life; growing up, it was a central value in her family and her community. Throughout high school, Imogen fostered this desire for peace through her passion for social justice, and after graduation, she continued to seek out opportunities to make a difference.

As she searched for the right undergraduate program to further her studies, her passion for peace and restorative justice drew her towards the Peace and Conflict Studies program at the University of Waterloo.

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.”