Institute for Community Peacebuilding (The)

Menno Simons CollegeUniversity of Winnipeg.520 Portage Ave
Winnipeg, R3C OG2MB
Phone: (204) 953-3865

The Institute for Community Peacebuilding


The Institute for Community Peacebuilding was established as a project of Canadian Mennonite University to:

Apply peacebuilding practices to conflicted communities and issues of poverty, development, oppression, public policy, and structural economic issues by

Linking the resources of the faculty with those in the broader community, in Winnipeg and around the world.

The development of the Institute was enabled through the support of a private donor and the Menno Simons College Foundation. The current funding provides resources for a half-time director, and some additional support from the staff of CMU for a period of three years, ending in December of 2008.

Purpose of the Institute

The Institute for Community Peacebuilding aims to build strong peaceful communities by promoting just and nonviolent relationships, structures and practices. The Institute pursues this goal through research, public education, informed dialogue, and long-term projects.

The institutional purpose for establishing the Institute is to give more concentrated attention and energy to, and active application of, conflict resolution and development studies programming. Four other factors or goals will normally also be involved.

To give greater public visibility, including designated donation opportunity, to CMU programming in the area of ‘peacebuilding’;

To provide greater flexibility and nimbleness in responding to program opportunities in the area of ‘community peacebuilding’;

To apply ‘peacebuilding’ principles to important global and local issues;

To provide significant interaction between the (Mennonite) community in Winnipeg and persons/institutions of international stature in the area of peacebuilding, especially related to communities in significant need.

Principles of Operation

The primary activity of the Institute is to organize non-credit programming, and it may at times engage in facilitating courses for which academic credit is available.

The principles that will inform the activities of the Institute are that the activity:

1. embodies the concept of ‘peacebuilding’
2. links peacebuilding with real needs and issues of disadvantaged communities
3. is focused at a community level
4. is innovative
5. links with faculty interests and expertise
6. is consistent with the broader institutional mission and ethos
7. contributes to a balance of local and global activities
8. finds willing partners with whom to work
9. is consistent with the heritage of the Mennonite community
10. is externally guided by the input of the broader community, including the Advisory Council and working partners
11. will involve the formation of, and significant work from, ‘working groups’
12. will find ways to leverage significantly more money to fund projects

It is an organizing principle of the Institute for Community Peacebuilding that the community is the best vehicle for overcoming the problems faced by people around the world. While it is individuals who suffer, and sometimes national policies or international systems that contribute to that suffering, it is the gathering of individuals into identifiable functioning communities that holds forth the best promise for overcoming the problems that place the individuals in vulnerable situations.

Since it is often exactly this required collective action that is prevented by the conditions that people face, the Institute for Community Peacebuilding will come alongside and provide the necessary ingredients to bring people together into peaceful communities and to strengthen already existing communities as they work to overcome the forces that drive them into conflict.

This may take the form of:

promoting an understanding of the use of collective nonviolence in disintegrating violent contexts

gathering to place mutual concerns before elected officials at an election forum

promoting retirement investments in one’s own community

providing legitimacy to a foreign elections process

linking financially-resourced communities with communities that can use those resources

organizing workshops on how to deal with conflict in a (church) community

helping people to understand democracy

or any other form that meets a need and for which we have the requisite resources

(As articulated in December, 2006)


Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies (PACTS)


For more information please visit the website.