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MCC, Conrad Grebel formalize new peace-building partnership

Members of each organization pose with the memorandum of understanding on December 17, making the partnership official. Left to right: Paul Heidebrecht, Director, Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement; John Head, Executive Director, MCC Ontario; Rick Cober Bauman, Executive Director, MCC Canada; and Marcus Shantz, President, Conrad Grebel University College. [Submitted/Fred W. Martin]

Two organizations with similar aims of advancing peace-building in the community have now officially partnered to further that goal. It’s a new undertaking for the Mennonite Central Committee and Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo.

Established in 1920, the MCC is a non-profit charity representing 15 Mennonite, Amish, and Brethren in Christ bodies across North America. The faith-based agency is dedicated to peace-building, created to provide famine relief work in Ukraine.

For its part, Grebel sees the MCC collaboration as a good fit for the school affiliated with the University of Waterloo. A part of the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, the liberal arts college launched in 1963 puts a strong emphasis on community.

“Grebel and MCC share common roots within a tradition of peace-building,” said Conrad Grebel president Marcus Shantz in a statement, “We both have a mandate to nurture a new generation of peace-builders.”

Both groups have worked with one another for the past four years using a Grebel program called the  Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement (CPA). The CPA has enabled Grebel and the MCC to previously partner in various ways, including consultations, conferences, and gallery exhibits.

But now, this unique partnership is official. Grebel and the MCC signed a Memorandum of Understanding on December 17 that states that members of both organizations will now be identified as a “core collaborator” in the CPA. These core collaborator will aim to advance peace through community engagement opportunities, collaborative research projects, and student connections at Grebel and the University of Waterloo.

The MCC is sponsoring a hot desk to further these peace-building initiatives. It is intended for occasional use by a staff member, partner, or a member of the CPA’s Epp Peace Incubator program for a start-up project. CPA director Paul Heidebrecht expects this partnership to benefit everyone involved and bring diversity to each group.

“I think our dynamic mix of researchers, practitioners, and entrepreneurs will be better able to learn from, and contribute to MCC and its partners,” said Heidebrecht.

The director of MCC Canada, Rick Cober Bauman, also expressed enthusiasm about the partnership.

“We are excited to partner with the CPA and to participate in the advancement of peace locally and globally,” said Bauman.

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