At Conrad Grebel University College, parents of prospective peace and conflict studies (PACS) students often ask, “What kind of job will my child get after graduation?” What we say with confidence is that an undergraduate or graduate PACS degree equips students with highly sought-after skills in today’s job market. This kind of education leaves the door open to a multitude of fields, some of which are yet to be created, fields that will require adaptable minds, critical thinking, strong interpersonal skills and the ability to thrive in challenging environments.
PACS is unique, as it taps into students’ individual vocations and nurtures their social entrepreneurial spirit that will lead them to find their calling.
Renowned academic and anthropologist William Ury outlines 10 roles that individuals fill in society to create a stronger, healthier, peaceful climate: provider, teacher, bridge-builder, mediator, arbiter, equalizer, healer, witness, referee and peacekeeper. Looking back at recent graduates, PACS and MPACS alumni have not only filled these roles but have flourished and made unique contributions within them.
For example, mediators like Darren Kropf, (MPACS ’15) engage all stakeholders to discuss and make decisions on possible points of contention. He works as a neighbourhood strategic engagement associate for the City of Kitchener, Ont., and facilitates dialogue within communities to help develop plans for neighbourhood engagement. During his MPACS internship, he worked at Border Peace School in Cheorwon, South Korea, where he taught peace education and advised on program development of a new peace school seeking reconciliation and reunification of the Koreas.
Healers like Jessica Reesor Rempel (PACS ’11) listen, acknowledge and provide guidance to those struggling. As a founder of Pastors in Exile, she connects with, and provides guidance to, youth and young adults who feel marginalized within the church.
Peacekeepers work with people facing a direct threat against their well-being and seek to protect them. Nadine Hiemstra and Cass Bangay (both PACS ’12) worked in Colombia with Christian Peacemaker Teams, using their presence to stand alongside vulnerable communities and act as nonviolent peacekeepers to decrease the threat of violence.
PACS and MPACS alumni continue to exceed expectations within the job market and in their scope of impact. When parents ask what their child’s job will be after completing a PACS or MPACS degree, we no longer put parameters around it. We simply look to our alumni as shining examples of the flexibility and impact of a PACS or MPACS degree, and leave students with the power to dream big.