Canadian School of Peacebuilding

Diverse new CSOP book explores peacebuilding around the world

June 10, 2015

CMU to host launch of ‘Voices of Harmony & Dissent’ on Tuesday, June 16

A new book arising from Canadian Mennonite University’s (CMU) Canadian School of Peacebuilding (CSOP) explores the stories, theory, and tools of 16 peace leaders, trainers, and activists from around the world.

Voices of Harmony & Dissent: How Peacebuilders are Changing Their Worlds was edited by Richard McCutcheon, Jarem Sawatsky, and Valerie Smith. The editors will celebrate the release of the book with a launch event happening Tuesday, June 16 at 7:00 PM in the Great Hall at CMU (500 Shaftesbury Blvd.). The event is free, and all are welcome to attend.

Offering an intriguing mix of styles and perspectives, the peacebuilders included in the book describe how they have used their creativity, compassion, and frustrations to learn how to peacefully engage and transform the world around them.

Each contributor has taught at the CSOP, which offers a selection of five-day courses each June.

Smith, co-director of the CSOP, says the book arose out of a desire to expose people to the amazing instructors who teach at the school.

“We have so many people who are interested in the CSOP, and so many who apply but don’t get a chance to come here for all sorts of reasons, like finances and visas,” Smith says. “We wanted to find a way to serve those people who can’t be here in person.”

Published by CMU Press, Voices of Harmony & Dissent includes contributions from Ovide Mercredi, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations; Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian-American psychologist; Ouyporn Khuankaew, a Buddhist feminist activist from Thailand; Martin Entz, a professor in the Department of Plant Science at the University of Manitoba; Karen Ridd, Instructor in Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies at CMU; and more.

Through inspiring stories, the book takes readers on a journey of interrelated themes including women and peacebuilding, nonviolent action for social change, restorative justice, indigenous approaches to change, spirituality and creative arts, circle process, food security, mediation, intercultural peacebuilding, and truth and reconciliation.

While the style and topics of the essays are radically diverse, Smith says there are common themes that tie the collection together.

“All of the essays are written by deeply committed, experienced peacebuilders who are living what they teach,” she says.

Smith adds that she is looking forward to the book launch.

“In reading through these essays over and over again, I feel like I’ve learned a little bit about each contributor and what they have offered in their classes at the Canadian School of Peacebuilding,” she says. “That feels like a real gift. I’m excited to share that with the community and hear people’s feedback as they begin to read the book.”

Established in 2009, the CSOP is a learning community of diverse peacebuilders from all faiths, countries, and identity groups who come together to learn, network, and engage in peacebuilding.

Now in its seventh year, the 2015 CSOP courses will take place June 15-19 and June 22-26.