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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
December 6, 2016
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Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Idle No More co-founder and Nobel Peace Prize winners among speakers at Peace and Justice conference at Laurier

Oct 16/13| For Immediate Release


Dr. Edmund Pries, PJSA Conference Chair
Assistant Professor, Global Studies
Wilfrid Laurier University
519-884-0710 exxt. 4593 or


Lori Chalmers Morrison, Acting Director
Communications & Public Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University
519-884-0710 ext. 3067 or

WATERLOO – Wilfrid Laurier University 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 includes a main academic conference on peace and justice; a Teacher’s Professional Development Strand organized by Laurier’s Faculty of Education for Kindergarten to grade 12 teachers addressing themes related to peace and conflict resolution within the classroom and teaching global peace and conflict to children in the K-12 setting; and a parallel conference for undergraduate and grade 11 and 12 students organized by Conrad Grebel and Laurier graduate students.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize winner and anti-landmine activist
  • Sylvia McAdam, Idle No More co-founder
  • Deborah Ellis, children’s rights advocate, author and philanthropist speaking on “Children, War and Literature” (Teacher Professional Development strand)
  • Dr. James Orbinski, Nobel Peace Prize winner as president of Doctors Without Borders, and Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) chair in Global Health
  • George Roter, co-founder and CEO of Engineers Without Borders
  • Rhoda Howard-Hassmann, Laurier’s Canada Research Chair in Human Rights
  • Howard Zehr, professor of Restorative Justice at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia and a pioneer in the field of restorative justice (pre-conference workshop).
  • Emmanuel Jal, South Sudanese hip-hop artist, former child soldier, and humanitarian advocate for social justice and human rights (performance and keynote speech at student conference)
  • Brigette DePape, Canadian activist (student conference)
  • Shannon Moroney, restorative justice advocate and author of Through the Glass (student conference)

For speaker dates and times, please visit:

War Requiem performance by Grand Philharmonic Choir and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony:

  • A public performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem on Oct. 19 at the Centre in the Square will be offered in conjunction with the conference. A double-sized orchestra and a 250-person choir made up of the Grand Philharmonic Choir and its Children and Youth Choirs, along with the Laurier Singers and the University of Waterloo’s Chamber Choir, will stage the performance.
  • 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 the Second World War.

Art Exhibit:

  • Artist Jamelie Hassan will present a conference-themed art exhibit, “Could we ever know each other....?” at Laurier’s Robert Langen Art Gallery. The exhibit challenges viewers to re-evaluate their perceptions of cultural histories and the importance of civic responsibility.

Academic Presentations:

More than 250 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.

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.”

“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.

“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. For further information, visit


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