Thnaks to the official photographers of the event, Jimmy Chicaiza et Sarah Danks.

Spur Change, in partnership with l’Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI), is inviting small and medium organizations (SMOs), educators and youth from coast-to-coast-to-coast to its Annual National Conference “Peace: Beyond the absence of war” which will take place from May 17 to 19, 2022 at the Bonaventure Hotel, in downtown Montreal.

Peace is more than the absence of war or armed conflict. To build sustainable peace, should we not also urgently take into consideration social and environmental justice, food safety and sovereignty, freedom of movement, respect for human rights and decolonization? Moreover, we cannot ignore that the pandemic has significantly intensified inequalities threatening peace around the world.

Through discussion panels, training, peer sharing workshops and artistic content, we will delve deeper into the notion of peace and explore ways in which a culture of peace can be nourished within international solidarity, small and medium organizations and global citizenship education. We will also focus on the importance of gender equality and intersectional analysis to help develop inclusive, sustainable and efficient solutions to address structural and systemic barriers to peace. We will explore how these structural causes intersect with other dynamics of repression and violence and systemic issues.

During this 3-day conference, over a hundred small and medium-sized organizations, teachers and youth will join together to consider these questions, explore solutions and share possible courses of action to build a peaceful world.

SMOs can expect to:

    • Discover innovative practices, including feminist, intersectional, and decolonial approaches;
    • Discuss the role or contribution of small and medium-sized Canadian organizations peace efforts here, and internationally;
    • Share knowledge, good practices and resources on building a world of peace;
    • Identify potential synergies and establish partnerships and/or alliances;
    • Share experiences and knowledge about existing training, awareness, research, mobilization, and advocacy activities;
    • Collaborate in the exploration of solutions and avenues of action for building a world of peace in the face of the challenges identified;
    • Collaborate with teachers and school communities to explore partnerships to better engage young people as global citizens.

 

Teachers can expect to:

    • Share and discover tools for education for peace, non-violence, and ways to act in solidarity with groups and communities fighting for peace;
    • Participate in specific workshops to put educational tools into practice to encourage young people to engage in building a world of peace;
    • Facilitate relations and dialogue between civil society organizations willing to learn and to work with schools and teachers;
    • Discover the latest thoughts and responses to global issues related to peace from industry leaders, guests from the South, as well as civil society organizations;
    • Share experiences and knowledge about existing training, awareness, research, mobilization and advocacy activities to engage young people;
    • Collaborate with and help civil society organizations to create relevant resources for schools to better engage young people as global citizens.

 

Youth can expect to:

    • Testify on behalf of Canadian youth regarding actions and activities for peace (what are the possible links with other urgent crises of the 21st century?) and how to amplify youth voices in them;
    • Share and discover tools for education for peace, non-violence and ways to act in solidarity with groups and communities fighting for peace;
    • Participate in a training day on decolonization and critical approaches to international cooperation;
    • Collaborate and help civil society organizations and teachers with creating relevant resources for schools to better engage young people as global citizens.

Understanding Obstacles to Peace and the Causes and Effects of War

  • Dynamics of repression and violence (colonialism, racism, patriarchy, gender identity-related issues)
  • Systemic issues (climate crisis, natural resource exploitation, impunity of businesses in the Global North and the quest for economic growth)
  • Responsibilities of Western nations (ever-expanding military budgets, modernization of nuclear arsenals and increased militarism)
  • Consequences of armed conflicts (population displacement, forced migration, sexual exploitation, civilian casualties)
  • Specific effects on women and girls
  • Role of Western media and its representation of populations experiencing armed conflicts
  • Parallels between the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples in Canada and realities elsewhere in the world
  • Criminalization of land defenders
  • Canada’s specific role in countries like Afghanistan, Haiti, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Venezuela, and Yemen

 

Exploring Solutions for Peace: From the Local to the International

    • What training, research, mobilization, advocacy, and awareness-raising activities already exist that could inspire us to take action in the future―both in schools and in the general public?
    • How can SMOs work within coalitions or alliances using a decolonial framework to support struggles and movements that are fighting against war and building peace?
    • How can Indigenous and marginalized voices be amplified and empowered within calls of action and activities for peace?
    • On the individual or interpersonal levels (tools to support education for peace and non-violence and solutions that can help both youth and adults work in solidarity with groups and communities fighting for peace, non-violence, justice, and reparations.
    • On the structural level (ratification of international treaties, implementation of UN Resolution 1325 on the role of women in peace processes, necessary divestments from the military industry, the end of impunity and support for justice and reparation mechanisms.

This conference is organized by Spur Change with funding from Global Affairs Canada.

 

90 subsidized places are available for SMOs (45) and for teachers (45)*

    • A maximum of 2 representatives per organization can be subsidized;
    • Interested individuals must show an interest in the theme of the conference and a desire to contribute to the program;
    • A selection committee will analyze the registrations and announce the selected candidates in early February 2022. Please note that priority will be given to those who have not previously been subsidized for a Spur Change conference.
    • *The subsidization will cover the cost of round-trip transportation to Montreal, accommodation at Le Bonaventure Hotel during the conference, as well as meals (per diem according to Spur Change policies). For teachers, the subsidization will also cover the cost of a substitute teacher. A detailed guide to our travel policy will be sent to those selected.

 

10 grants are available for former participants of the Youth Champions Program*

    • Available for young Canadians who participated in the 2020 and 2021 cohorts of the Youth Champions Program;
    • Youth Champions 2022 will be invited to register following their selection;
    • *The grant will cover the costs of round-trip transportation to Montreal, accommodation at Le Bonaventure Hotel during the conference, as well as meals (per diem according to Spur Change policies). A detailed guide to our travel policy will be sent to those selected.

 

The deadline to submit an application is January 28, 2022.

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Contact

Have a question about registration or event logistics? Are you a small or medium-sized organization and have specific questions? Please contact Madalyn Nielsen: madalyn.nielsen@acgc.ca

Teacher or a former participant of the Youth Champions Program and have questions? Please contact Marie-Catherine Thouin: mariecatherine.thouin@acgc.ca

Inter-Council Network-Réseau de coordination des conseils