MBBI Canada connects social justice advocates across the country, with membership spanning six provinces. Its membership is composed of: authors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, educators, coaches, government employees, mediators, and Rotarians—seeking to include a diversity of professionals who believe in the power of mediation in building peace.
Alicia Kuin formed the regional group in early 2015, with the goal of creating a space for like-minded practitioners to discuss the nexus between conflicts and the pursuit of peace. “I have always had a passion for social justice and conflict resolution, so it only made sense to connect MBBI members located in Canada who share a similar passion and value-structure,” says Alicia.
In addition to supporting MBBI’s mission and vision, MBBI Canada is devoted to creating a community of peace activists. This is achieved by integrating the following three areas of focus into their meetings and subculture: Networking and Partnerships; Continued Learning and Collaboration, and; Supporting Canada’s Indigenous Population and Peacekeeping Identity.
Over the last year, MBBI Canada has facilitated discussions on the topics of restorative justice, circle processes, environmental disputes, immigration and newcomer support, creating safe spaces, and international peacebuilding.
Angela Stadel, an MBBI member from Vancouver, BC, is an active member of MBBI’s Uganda Project Team and she facilitated the meeting on international peacebuilding. Angela shared with the group how the Uganda team is working with the National Foundation for Democracy and Human Rights in Uganda (NAFODU) and other local partners to support the capacity of communities and civil society organizations to resolve land-related conflicts within families and communities.
“While I originally joined MBBI to make connections with mediators from around the world, being part of MBBI Canada has given me a network in my own country as well. Canadians have a strong peacebuilding tradition, and have much to offer MBBI and each other as we embark on local and international initiatives.”
Toronto member Mina Vaish agrees with Angela and described the Canadian group best when she said that, “As Canadians, we have been brought up to embrace peace as a human right, a legacy of the work of our former Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Lester B. Pearson. MBBI Canada connects professional mediators and peacebuilders together through inclusive and welcoming conferences, discussions and initiatives to build capacity, advocacy, and consultancy for mediation in Canada.”
Cultural Intelligence Facilitator and Coach, Catalina Chaux, says that she, “enjoys the energy, enthusiasm and idea collaboration,” that MBBI Canada fosters. As co-lead of the Colombia project, she also noted that connecting with others who are passionate about change lends support to our individual practice as peacebuilders.
When discussing today’s fractured and multi-actor conflict environments, Catalina said that it is crucial to creating awareness about the power of conflict resolution as a tool for decreasing disputes both on global and local levels.
When asked who should join MBBI Canada? She said “Mediators, experts or people who work towards having more peaceable communities, cities and therefore, a more peaceable world”. One of the many advantages of joining MBBI is that you can actively support international capacity building initiatives from home.
We hope more Canadians will join MBBI and use talents to support our mission of “people building peace.” To join us at our next MBBI Canada meeting, contact Suzanne Sherkin, Chair.