New Peace and Conflict Studies Professor provides a building block for growing program

Friday, December 23, 2011

Reina Neufeldt

Waterloo, Ontario – An expert in civil society peacebuilding, Professor Reina Neufeldt will be joining the Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) department at the University of Waterloo, based at Conrad Grebel University College, beginning July 1, 2012. Neufeldt comes to Conrad Grebel from American University in Washington D.C. where her research focuses on the intersection of identity, social change, ethics, and peace processes. Her dissertation examined Mennonite identity maintenance and change during three periods of conflict in the 20th Century. She received her PhD in International Relations in 2005, and holds an MA in Social Psychology.

President Susan Schultz Huxman stated:

In her new role as Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, Reina will bring an outstanding portfolio of teaching, research, and service expertise to the PACS program. She is well-positioned to articulate the identity, mission and values of Conrad Grebel University College in the wider community.

Bringing a well-established research background to the college, Professor Neufeldt approaches her work from the perspective of international relations and social psychology in both qualitative and quantitative methods. Neufeldt’s service and work in North America and overseas with Mennonite Central Committee, Catholic Relief Services, and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, at Notre Dame provides valuable experience in applying the scholarship and teaching of peace.

Jim Pankratz, Dean at Conrad Grebel, explained:

Professor Neufeldt adds several important dimensions to Grebel's PACS program. She has taught graduate students in the themes, methods and analytical perspectives that are foundational in peace studies. She has done significant research on Mennonite peacebuilding. And her southeast Asia field experience complements the diverse international experience of other Grebel faculty. She will be one of the core faculty members who will shape the new Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) program and provide inspiration to the innovative Mennonite Savings and Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement in the years ahead. We are very pleased to welcome her to this significant role at Grebel and the University of Waterloo.

With her decision to teach at Grebel partly tied to the introduction of the new MPACS program, Neufeldt is

delighted to join the PACS team and to help launch the MPACS program. The Peace and Conflict Studies undergraduate program at Conrad Grebel was an early pioneer in the field, and I believe MPACS builds on this superb foundation and breaks new, exciting ground.

Neufeldt is also drawn to Grebel because

the college gains inspiration from foundational Anabaptist/Mennonite values of justice and peace, while at the same time engages with leading-edge research and thinking within the larger academic and professional communities. I think this cross-fertilization and engagement is particularly important in peacebuilding and conflict transformation,

commented Neufeldt.

It presents a wonderful opportunity for me to work with students who are developing their professional and academic skills in ways that will further enable them to contribute effectively, creatively, and skillfully to building peace.

Basing her teaching approach on her non-governmental organization and academic research experiences, students taking classes with Neufeldt can look forward to tackling real-world problems and challenges in the classroom, and engaging in building peace with the larger world creatively, responsibly, and sensitively.

Neufeldt looks forward to moving to the Waterloo Region with her family and husband, Narendran Kumarakulasingam, who is currently a professor at the School of International Service, American University.

About Conrad Grebel University College
Founded in 1963 by Ontario Mennonites, Conrad Grebel University College is a Christian liberal arts college affiliated with the University of Waterloo. The College’s mission is “to seek wisdom, nurture faith and pursue justice and peace in service to church and society.” Grebel’s core values include inspired teaching, scholarly excellence, compassionate service, community building, active peacemaking and global engagement. These are expressed through the academic and student life programs.