February Alumni Profile: Michael Hunter

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Michael Hunter PhotoMichael Hunter joined Peace and Conflict Studies as a mature student in 2004 to pursue an undergraduate degree, up until that point having not completed a degree during his professional career. Juggling full-time work and part-time studies through most of his degree, Michael took two years off from working to not only complete his undergraduate degree with PACS, but to pursue a Master’s degree at the University of Peace in Costa Rica. Michael completed his Masters in Responsible Management and Sustainable Economic Development.

With a BA and an MA under his belt in addition to his background in IT and the insurance industry, Michael returned to Canada and began working on projects that gave him a break from PACS and allowed him time to think about what career he wanted to channel his education into. With passions involving both peace and business Michael toyed with the idea of developing a start-up that would aid non-profits and businesses in setting up partnerships that would benefit both partners. Through this process Michael soon learned that he was “not a captain of industry, but a lieutenant”, he found much more purpose in supporting others in their projects and knew he could be much more effective in that position.

Learning this lesson led Michael back to school to complete his Research Analyst Certificate at Humber College. Through this program Michael took an internship at Toronto Foundation, a charity that works to pool philanthropic dollars and facilitate charitable donations for maximum community impact through strategic granting, thought leadership and convening within the community. After a recommendation from someone working with Michael during his internship, Michael began his current position with the Government of Ontario in the realm of Public Service. In this position Michael works to develop a performance measurement framework for the Human Resources service development area.

“The work that I’m doing now I can see relating to work I did in PACS. Part of what I do is trying to measure aspects that are difficult to measure. Within the HR community we are moving away from the idea that our interactions are transactional, and towards the idea that we provide advice. But how do we measure that?”

 Michael found himself asking that exact same question during a course in his PACS career where students worked to develop proposals for non-profits, and worked to develop ways of measuring aspects of their work that is not simple, measuring how their work changes the lives of people.

“Having taken PACS courses, it colours the way I look at news stories and information. It affects the way I talk to people and the black and white ideas people have, putting a little colour in people’s lives and thoughts and to me that is one of the biggest pieces of being a peace advocate. If I can connect with and change 5% of the people I talk to, then that is great.”

 When asked about advice for future PACS students or soon-to-be PACS graduate Michael advised,

“Don’t be quiet, engage people. That was one of the things I told my classmates in my 4th year course. I need you to use your voice so I can hear other opinions. If you want to be a voice for peace you have to use your voice.”