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Conference to attract international peace and justice experts
Jun 13/13| For Immediate Release
Dr. Edmund Pries, PJSA Conference Chair
Kevin Crowley, Director, Communications & Public Affairs
WATERLOO – Laurier and Conrad Grebel University College will welcome hundreds of visitors from North America and as far away as Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and Japan as co-hosts of the 2013 Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) Conference, October 17-19. The three-part conference offers a main academic conference on peace and justice, a Teacher’s Professional Development Strand for Kindergarten to grade 12 teachers on teaching peace and justice in the classroom, and a student-run conference for grades 11 and 12 and undergraduate students. The conference concludes with a public performance of the War Requiem by the Grand Philharmonic Choir and the KW Symphony.
The conference will feature prominent keynote speakers including Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize winner and anti-landmine activist; James Orbinski, Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) chair in Global Health and former Doctors Without Borders president who accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the organization in 1999; George Roter, co-founder and CEO of Engineers Without Borders and Deborah Ellis, children’s rights advocate, author and philanthropist.
More than 200 academic presentations on peace and justice will cover topics such as Aboriginal residential schools and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Aboriginal heritage and the quest for peace and justice; business innovations for peace and justice; science, technology, complexity and innovation for peace; religion and war and peace, and music and protest.
The K-12 Teacher Professional Development Strand, organized by Laurier’s Faculty of Education, is open to teachers from local school boards and will address themes related to peace and conflict resolution within the classroom, and teaching global peace and conflict to children in the K-12 setting. Laurier and Conrad Grebel graduate students are organizing a parallel conference for undergraduate and grade 11 and 12 students.
“Through the conference, we intend to honour the history and accomplishments of the peace and justice studies movement while seeking new and innovative ways to promote the practice and culture of peace in a divided world,” said Edmund Pries, PJSA conference chair and Laurier assistant professor of Global Studies. Laurier's Global Studies program, which has Peace and Conflict Studies as a core stream, has more than 350 majors and is one of the largest programs in the field.
Nathan Funk, acting director of Peace and Conflict Studies at Conrad Grebel, said “Conrad Grebel has been a pioneer in peace education and will bring 37 years of experience to the conversations at the conference.”
Laurier and Conrad Grebel are partnering with the Grand Philharmonic Choir and the K-W Symphony for a public performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem on Oct. 19 in conjunction with the conference. Britten, who was a pacifist, composed the War Requiem for the consecration of England’s new Coventry Cathedral in 1962 after the original building was destroyed in World War II. A 250-person choir made up of the Laurier Singers, Conrad Grebel’s Chamber Choir and the children’s and youth choirs will be part of the performance.
“The PJSA conferences attract internationally recognized figures in the fields of peace studies, global justice studies and international relations,” said Randall Amster, executive director, PJSA. “We look forward to welcoming them through our hosts, Laurier and Conrad Grebel, along with activists and educators who have made contributions to peacemaking and peace education.”
The PJSA is the North American Affiliate of the International Peace Research Association. The annual PJSA conference is hosted in Canada every three years. This year's conference is being co-sponsored by Laurier's Global Studies program and Conrad Grebel's Peace and Conflict Studies program. For further information, visit www.peacejusticestudies.org.