Friday, 13 March 2015

A Broader Understanding through Vine

3 new Peace Vines involving Eryl Court, Cheshmak Farhoumand-Sims and Danielle David were released today.
So far a total of 13 Peace Vines are now out, floating the internet and hopefully providing thought about what peace is and what it means to anyone and everyone who encounter the definitions.
I has occurred to me that as varied as these Vines can be they are all striving for the same thing just in a different capacity. Understandably, there is only so much that can be said in a 6 second window. This is exactly the point. If you were to take the enormous category of
"peace" and cut it down to one breath what would it look like?
This is what these Vines are intended to do.
You may not agree with some of the definitions, you may agree with all of them or none. The perspective of this project is to create a space where you ask yourself about your definition of peace. Do you define your peace differently than Romeo Dallaire? Do you agree with Eryl Court? If you define it differently then why? How has your experiences shaped what peace to you means? How has it shaped what you feel world peace should look like? Is it done through diplomacy or something else? Is peace only the absence of war or is it something more specific like the ethical treatment of the disenfranchised members of society? Is it economic peace and if so what does it entail? Is it Democracy? Is it Socialism? Is it Communitarianism?
Our Peace Vines are intended to be the beginning of a greater discussion. This can only happen by viewing, sharing and talking about each of these definitions and finding how they fit into your perspective of peace and others understandings of peace.


Please share these posts. Comment on them. Discuss them with others.



Friday, 6 March 2015

Spring into Peace

I feel like we've reached the point where Spring finally feels like it is on the way to arriving. With the last week and a half being exceptionally cold it is a welcome relief to finally see some nicer weather. That isn't to say the cold has disappeared and all the snow is melting but it doesn't seem like it is that far off compared to last week.

Leading into this sense of Spring NUPRI is proud to announce the release of a new book by Dr. Toivo Koivukoski and Dr. David Edward Tabachnick titled The Question of Peace in Modern Political Thought. It is a collection of essays devoted to, as the title suggests, the question of peace. At this point I have only had a chance to skim the collection but there is a lot that has immediately grabbed my attention as far as contributors and titles involved. It also should be noted that along with editing the collection Dr's Koivukoski and Tabachnick are also contributors. They have also gathered together work from other Nipissing faculty such as Herminio Teixeira and David Borman. With some perspectives looking at Hegel, Spinoza, Heidegger, Arendt, Rousseau and Kant (among many others) this is a collection  I look forward to getting some time to sit down and immerse myself in.

More information and for purchasing options you can follow the below link to the publisher's website:
The Question of Peace in Modern Political Thought

In addition to the release of a new book NUPRI has released another 3 Vines concerning the definition of peace. Today's Vines include Brandon Salo, Althea-Marie Rivas and Bill Bhaneja. All of these and more can be found on the NUPRI Vine page (as well as on the Twitter page).

Brandon Salo Vine

Althea-Marie Rivas Vine

Bill Bhaneja Vine

More Vines will be out next week. Until then please share what is on our Vine page as much as possible. The more people these definitions reach the greater a discussion we can have about what peace is and what it means to each of us as individuals.



Thursday, 26 February 2015

3 New AoP Vine's Released

I am happy to announce 3 more Vines have been released over on the NUPRI Vine channel (simultaneously posted to Twitter). The new Vines showcase definitions of peace from:

- Saul Arbess, co-chair of the Department of Peace Initiative (Victoria BC chapter).

- Marc Kielburger, co-founder of Free the Children with his brother Craig. Marc is a major proponent in the creation of We Day which is based on the belief that every young person has the power to change the world.

- Peter Singer, a trained health professions who has spent the last decade working to finding creative solutions to many of the world's most pressing health problems. He is a professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

There are plenty more Peace Vines to come in the following weeks.

Our primary goal with these distilled versions of the "definition of peace" is to generate a discussion on the broader topic of peace. As more Vines are released you will see greater overlap in definitions, in a few cases almost word for word mirroring. This is not done intentionally. My work in trimming videos found on YouTube to fit the 6.5 second Vine format is merely to grab the clearest definition of peace put forward by the interviewee.
The choice of interviewee for the Vine project was partially random and partially based on name recognition.
It also must be noted the Vine project, at this point, does not encompass the entire 'Agents of Peace' archive it is a sampling of what is contained on the YouTube page and on the drives the project is housed on.

Thoughts and discussion are always welcome regarding the Agents of Peace project and the current Vine spin-off.



Thursday, 12 February 2015

Expanding Horizons

The Vine format has become incredibly popular in the short time it has been around (2 years). It provides short snippets of storytelling that can be watched, digested and shared incredibly quickly. It is truly amazing how something so short can create an impact and in such a clever and concise way.

Over the last few months NUPRI has been working to expand its horizons and its presence on the internet and across the study of peace. Vine is seen as an ideal format to help promote and quickly expand the horizons of peace. The limited nature of Vine forces us to synthesize the the clearest definition of peace from the numerous accounts we have in our archives.

This is the true challenge of Vine. How do you create something that is crystal clear in its message? How do you create something that is, at most, 6.5 seconds long from a definition that might run for over 2 minutes?
In some cases the definition is clear. The subject might have a definitive moment in defining peace and so it is a simply audio grab.
In other cases it is challenging. Sometimes it requires splicing between several different accounts of peace in order to bring the clarity Vine forces you into.

NUPRI is kicking off its Vine presence with 4 videos from Romeo Dallaire, Megan Campbell, Gordon Teti and Nestar Russell.

This is only the first few of a number that will begin appearing over the coming weeks. The intention is to start by releasing a few at a time with the hope that they will generate discussion on the topic of peace and how it is defined. Over the coming weeks you may notice some similarities in certain definitions. These first few are deliberately designed to provide 4 different aspects of peace but even in their difference there are some similarities.

Once more are released we are looking at setting up a narrative by collecting several different definitions together to allow for a sustained commentary on them.

If you are intrigued by the Peace Vines I encourage you to spend some time on the NUPRI YouTube Channel. Track down the original videos to understand the larger and deeper meaning behind each definition. Feel free to respond and provide your own commentary.

NUPRI YouTube Channel

Please share the Vines. The more people we reach the greater the discussion we can have.



Friday, 14 November 2014

Amnesty International: Write for Rights

This is a heads up, a call if you will, for the upcoming Amnesty International: Write for Rights event taking place on December 10th, 2014.

Over the last couple of months the Nipissing University Amnesty International Community Action Circle has organized several letter writing campaigns, which I have had the pleasure of attending. They are informal events involving both students and faculty (though anyone else who wishes to join is fully welcome). We spend time writing letters to various governments requesting an end to acts of torture against an individual, alternately we may write letters to someone who has been wrongly imprisoned as a sign of support for their cause.

December 10th this year is the annual Write for Rights event run by Amnesty International. The NU Community Action Circle has plans to run a large event open to everyone and anyone who is interested in writing to make a difference. There will be several causes to direct your letter(s) to, all paper, envelopes and stamps will be provided.

One of the reasons for engaging in a letter writing campaign is because of the tangibility of it. Sitting down and taking time to write something that is a physical representation of yourself is a drastically different experience than typing it up on a computer with a keyboard. With the increasing movement of the world into the digital realm letters and letter writing is becoming a obsolete art. Taking the time to put a physical effort into a letter carries more weight both physically and mentally than sending an e-mail.

There are still a few details to work out with the local Write for Rights event, they will be posted as soon as they are available.

To be added to the NU Amnesty International mailing list or for more details on this or any future event you can contact the event organizer Dr. Sarah Winters at: sarahw|at|nipissingu|dot|ca. I would include in the subject line "Amnesty International".

For more information on the larger event and to make a pledge to be involved in the campaign follow this link:

If you are interested in other ways to become involved with Amnesty International you can check out their Canadian website here:

Hope you see you December 10th.



Thursday, 23 October 2014

Look for the helpers

During this difficult and uncertain time the Nipissing University Peace Research Initiative would like to extend its deepest regrets to all the people and families affected by the events of the last few days.

The words of television icon Mister Rogers are perhaps the most profound and important at a time like this, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’”

The helpers do not do it for recognition; they do not do it for praise or money. These men and women help because it is the human thing to do. The world is full of people who want to help no matter how small or how great the situation. It is not just the doctors, nurses and first responders but also the friends, neighbors, shopkeepers and volunteers who are there ready to jump in when things go wrong.



Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Focus on Peace Education

A number of our interviewees for the Agents of Peace project have made note of a lack of peace education as an obstacle to building and sustaining a peaceful society. Increasingly universities across Canada and the United States are offering programs related to Peace and Conflict Studies, particularly at the graduate level. It is notable that the investment in Peace education has been dubbed a fear response to international crises - particularly relating to terrorist activities witnessed in the past decade. This explains the focus of many of the already existing programs on violent conflict management. Regardless of the impetus for the increasing focus on peace studies, we choose to celebrate it. 

So here is a list of a couple programs across Canada and the United States that focus on Peace studies. (This is certainly not a complete list of all related programs; if there are some missing that you think are notable, please let us know!)

  • Rutgers University - Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies - Newark, NJ, USA
    • This interdisciplinary programs is based in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and is oriented to the social bases of conflict and cooperation, of war and peace. Social dimensions include topics of migration, economic development, environmental degradation, inequality, education, race, ethnicity, religion, and gender.
  • Royal Roads University - BA in Justice Studies, Master of Arts in Disaster and Emergency Management, Conflict Analysis and Management, and Human Security and Peacebuilding -  Victoria, BC, Canada
    • The school offers interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs that respond to the increasing demand for leadership in humanitarian assistance, social reconstruction and conflict management. Their programs are directed towards working professionals or those looking for a career in peacebuilding.
  • University of Waterloo - Masters of Peace and Conflict Studies - Waterloo, ON, Canada
    • Recognizing conflict as an inescapable part of the human experience, and a potential vehicle for positive change at local, national, and international levels, this master’s degree offers a unique approach to peace education in which dynamic, sustainable, and creative solutions to conflict can be imagined, tested, and applied.
  • University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs - BA in Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies - Toronto, ON, Canada
    • The Peace, Conflict and Justice program confronts some of humanity's most complex challenges. It offers an undergraduate B.A. degree that emphasizes the integration of practical and theoretical knowledge, the interdisciplinary nature of peace and conflict studies, and the value of incorporating research into undergraduate education.
  • University of Texas at Austin - Certificate in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies - Austin, TX, USA
    • Bridging Disciplines Programs allow you to earn an interdisciplinary certificate that integrates area requirements, electives, courses for your major, internships, and research experiences. The Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies BDP offers you the opportunity to both study and promote conflict resolution in interpersonal, institutional, societal, and global contexts. Students in this program will explore the causes and consequences of various forms of violence, as well as the conditions of peace. In addition to gaining a more sophisticated understanding of peace and conflict, students will also learn about and practice skills necessary for the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
  • University of Manitoba - PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies - Winnipeg, MA, Canada
    • The Ph.D. Program in Peace and Conflict Studies provides a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to prepare students to pursue independent research aimed at analyzing and resolving the complex issues facing the global milieu of peace and conflict using a variety of conflict resolution, social justice, and peace studies tools, processes, and methods.

So there you are! There are plenty of programs across Canada and the US that offer programs in peace and conflict studies. Increasingly, programs are also focusing on the idea of Peace Itself, rather than peace as conflict management. This is an exciting time for peace research and education in North America and we are happy to be a part of it!

For more information about peace studies or to learn about Conflict Resolution training with our partners at CIIAN you can comment, send us a message on Facebook, email or or visit us on youtube at