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Peacebuild Directions

Peacebuild – Paix durable, the Canadian peacebuilding network, is looking for new ideas and directions for its future work and structure. The attached link is to a Wiki survey app called All Our Ideas that we are using to gather ideas to set priorities and make decisions on what Peacebuild – Paix durable will focus on in the future and how it will be structured and governed.

Please take a few minutes over the next couple of days to provide your input —

The survey results will be combined with background research, one-on-one interviews with people involved in peacebuilding activities to develop program and organizational structure options for Peacebuild – Paix durable members to decide on at our next General Meeting in June 2016.
Whether you are now or were previously directly involved in peacebuilding activities, or if you are a newcomer to this field, we very much would like to hear from you.

Doing the survey is not an ordinary question and answer process. There is checking off of preferred options, but most importantly, users are meant to submit as many of their own ideas as they want to and can.

As it’s structured, the survey is an open-ended process that could go on ad infinitum. There are no indicators that you’re making any progress or coming to an end of it. Just stop inputting ideas when you run out of them or you get bored.

If you look at About this page in the All Our Ideas menu, it gives you a good idea of how to input into the survey and also see the results as they accumulate.

Please feel free to share the survey link and the explanatory note as widely as possible on your Facebook page, by Twitter, on organizational websites or any way you can. If you have any questions or complaints, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Thank you to the outgoing Board

The newly installed Interim Board of Directors of Peacebuild - Paix durable extends our sincere thanks to their predecessors for their dedication and service to the network over the past several years, keeping the flame alive in a domestic political environment unconducive to the promotion of peace and human security internationally and within Canada.

The perseverance and dedication of Peggy Mason, Eric Abitbol, Sophie Toupin, Prajeena Karmacharya and the late Gerald Ohlsen, as well as fellow Board member Rena Ramkay and Coordinator Silke Reichrath, sustained Peacebuild through this difficult period.

We are grateful that their success in carrying out important ongoing activities while preserving Peacebuild - Paix durable as an organizational platform will provide old and new supporters and friends of the network with a solid foundation for renewal and innovation in support of Canadian and global efforts towards a more peaceful, secure and equitable world.

Flaurie Storie, David Lord, Interim Co-Chairs; Morio Fukunaga, Secretary; Silke Reichrath, Treasurer; Rena Ramkay, Jean Devlin, Erica Noordermeer, Members.


Peacebuild AGM

Peacebuild held its re-constitutive AGM on 11 January 2016, generously hosted by the
World Federalist Movement - Canada.


Over the last four years, Peacebuild has remained involved with the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), with Rena Ramkay as our delegate. The North American region of GPPAC (Canada, US and Mexico) has focused on information exchange and attempts at policy influence with respect to extractive companies from Canada and the US active in Mexico. GPPAC's Peace Education working group has continued with strong support in the US. GPPAC's Preventive Action working group has recently launched a publication on Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Processes. GPPAC's Dialogue and Mediation working group has released a publication with lessons from four dialogue processes.

Between 2012 and 2014, Peacebuild has engaged in a project under Eric Abitbol's lead promoting North-South dialogue and learning opportunities on peace and conflict impact assessment. Researcher-practitioners from Kenya, Somalia, Pakistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Canada and elsewhere participated in a series of online presentations and discussions and a conference at York University leading to a special edition of the Journal of Peace and Development. Peacebuild now hosts an exhaustive bibliography on peace and conflict literature.

We were informed that European organizations see Peacebuild as an inspiration for how to bridge the government and civil society divide and hope that Peacebuild will indeed be reinvigorated!

Peacebuild's history is one of forming a bridge between Foreign Affairs/CIDA and civil society, with a modus operandi of setting up working groups to dialogue with different bodies at Foreign Affairs about different dossiers (e.g. conflict prevention, women and peacebuilding, peace operations, small arms, children and armed conflict, Sudan and Afghanistan). The current government may be more receptive to supporting such a working group structure again.

There was debate at the meeting whether we should work on local peace issues in Canada (Aboriginal issues, gangs, youth, criminal violence). The drawback is that the numbers of possibliities and potential partners are very high and that other networks are already working in these areas. Traditionally, Peacebuild has focused on being a network for Canadians working in or on international peacebuilding. A compromise might be to focus on thematic areas where national and international conflict issues intersect, e.g. resource extraction by Canadian companies and transnational crime and gangs.

It was decided to produce a scan including domestic and international conflict issues, organizations active in Canada on these issues, and government priorities in related areas. This scan will be carried out by an interim board elected to oversee the exercise and proposing elements for a new vision and direction for Peacebuild by June 2016. The new interim board consists of Flaurie Storie (Co-Chair), David Lord (Co-Chair), Morio Fukunaga (Secretary), Silke Reichrath (Treasurer), Rena Ramkay, Jean Devlin and Erica Noordermeer.




Peacebuild Annual General Meeting

Dear Friends,

Peacebuild was born in 1994 as the Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee (CPCC) to develop a vibrant and robust Canadian peacebuilding constituency and to support greater and more effective Canadian participation in peacebuilding activities internationally through policy dialogue, collaboration and knowledge exchange. Peacebuild lost its funding in 2011 but has continued as a virtual network. We are looking forward to a period of renewed growth. 


In this spirit, you are invited to Peacebuild's

Annual General Meeting

When: Monday, January 11, 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Where: World Federalists, 323 Chapel St., South of Laurier East

Parking:Parking near the office is one-hour parking only. Three-hour parking is available on Marlborough Ave and Range Road, three blocks and four blocks to the east of Chapel.


We'll have coffee and tea; you are welcome to bring your own lunch and mug.

Teleconference Information:

Toll-free dial-in: 1-888-575-5168

Code: 7582403#


1. Welcome of new members and sign-up opportunity.

2. Brief report on activities.

3. Election of new Board of Directors.

4. Discussion of new directions for the network.


Here is a simple membership form, which you can return by e-mail or bring to the meeting; copies will be available at the meeting.

Warm regards,


Silke Reichrath, Coordinator
Peacebuild: The Canadian Peacebuilding Network ---




In Memory of Gerald L. Ohlsen

It is an honour and a privilege to be able write this brief commemoration of my beloved friend and colleague, Gerald L. Ohlsen, who died very suddenly on April 1st, 2015.  His long and distinguished diplomatic career (1968-2004)  focused on the international promotion of human rights, addressing state failure, democracy building and the engagement of civil society in public policy.  He led Canadian missions in Africa, Asia, and South America, as well as holding senior advisory positions in the Canadian Foreign Ministry and Privy Council Office.

Known as an outstanding leader and crisis manager, he adeptly combined sound political and social analysis, effective and timely reporting and practical policy sense.

Highlights of his career include heading the Canadian diplomatic mission in Rwanda during the massive return of refugees from the Congo in 1996 and the first phase of the civil war in Congo.  He was acting High Commissioner in Nigeria from 1994-1996 – a critical time in the international opposition to the then military rule, and  played a key role in creating the conditions that led to the restoration of democracy.  His actions included the establishment of a Canadian fund for support of democracy and human rights that contributed substantially to the strengthening of civil society organizations.  This work, which entailed a high level of personal risk, led to Gerry being awarded the Minister’s Citation for Foreign Policy Excellence, for outstanding work in very difficult circumstances.  He was also invited to join the founding Board of Directors of the Ken Saro-Wiwa Foundation, being established first in Toronto, and now based in Nigeria,  to work on behalf of indigenous communities in Africa.

Earlier in his career, as senior political officer in the Canadian High Commission in Zambia, Gerry played a leadership role in international efforts to ensure an effective democratic transition in both Zambia and Malawi, including contacts with Presidents Kaunda and Chiluba, ministers, senior officials and civil society (1988-1992).  He also managed liaison with the African National Congress of South Africa, including negotiations leading to the first visit of Nelson Mandela to Canada after his release from prison in 1990.   To secure agreement for the visit, he had to prevail over Thabo Mbeki, who was adamantly opposed to it.

Gerry was not only a talented and hard- working diplomat. Gerry was also wise, generous, compassionate, dedicated, and indefatigable in pursuing his life’s work — the causes of human rights, democracy building and the empowerment of civil society. Although our paths had occasionally crossed at Foreign Affairs, it was when we began to work more and more closely on a variety of NGO projects, after Gerry had retired from the Foreign Service, that I had the great good fortune to experience those marvelous qualities of kindness and caring firsthand.

We were both on the executive of the Ottawa-based foreign policy NGO, the Group of 78, but it was with respect to the networking NGO Peacebuild and its project, Afghanistan: Pathways to Peace, that we worked together most closely.  This project seeks to empower Afghan civil society to promote and engage in a comprehensive peace process, so desperately needed in that war-torn country.

In the context of that work, Gerry and I travelled together to Afghanistan in January of 2010.  He was unflappable throughout a visit which included several hours in a bomb shelter in the basement of the Canadian embassy.

He visited Afghanistan several more times and in the process assembled an International Steering Committee, a significant number of Afghan-based NGOs and a core team at the Peace Studies Programme of Kabul University, which inter alia carried out groundbreaking research throughout Afghanistan on the causes and consequences of violent conflict and held two national civil society peace conferences.

Afghanistan: Pathways to Peace, due in large measure to Gerry’s tireless efforts, was originally well-funded by Foreign Affairs, but the money dried up as government priorities shifted. Then, in mid-2013, the Canadian government listed all the Afghan Taliban as terrorists, making receipt of foundation funding by Pathways extremely difficult, since promoting a peace process of necessity implies promoting contacts with all parties, including the Taliban.

Nonetheless, Gerry never gave up.

He began to focus on social media outreach and inspired an impressive array of dedicated young people to help him.  It was at a meeting of that group, at an Afghan restaurant in Ottawa, where they were discussing a web site strategy for Pathways to Peace, that Gerry slipped away from us. – What makes Gerry’s post-Foreign Affairs contribution even more remarkable is that between our first work on this project in 2008 and Wednesday, April 1st, 2015, Gerry had suffered a serious stroke.  Even as Gerry was recovering, he continued his work on Pathways and with the Group of 78.  The only time he ever complained about his new physical limitations was in terms of upbraiding himself for not being able to get things done as fast as he previously could.  I always pointed out he was still doing far more than most!

To the last moment he demonstrated what a foreign affairs colleague described as his “progressive, idealistic, cutting edge” approach to whatever area he was working on.  We will miss his wise counsel, his never failing friendship and support. Our hearts go out to his wonderful wife, Mavaia, their five children, the grandchildren and great grandchildren and his many, many friends, including those he first met in his very active work at the community level.  All of us will be nourished by so many magnificent memories.

– Peggy Mason

Former Chair

Group of 78

Gerald Ohlsen

Gerald Ohlsen, known to many as Chair of the Afghanistan: Pathways to Peace Steering Committee and Co-Chair of the Conflict Prevention Working Group, passed away suddenly on April 1 while strategizing for the future of the Afghanistan: Pathways to Peace project. He will be greatly missed after a life of promoting peace and human rights.

Donations to honour his life by contributing to Pathways to Peace should be made out to Peacebuild with a reference to Afghanistan: Pathways to Peace on the memo line.

Launch of the PCIA journal issue

Peacebuild is co-hosting the launch of the Special Issue of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development on Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment (PCIA).*

Montreal PCIA launch poster

*The Journal issue was developed with the generous support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Movie screening on the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Peacebuild is co-sponsoring a movie screening on the Fukushima nuclear disaster:

Fukushima event 21 Oct

PCIA LinkedIn Discussion

In order to continue the stimulating discussions around Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment (PCIA) from the PCIA Conference, Peacebuild has set up a LinkedIn group. You are all cordially invited to join us at PEACE BUILDING AND CONFLICT IMPACT ASSESSMENT (PCIA).

Integrated Peacebuilding Program Event

Please join Peacebuild and Saint Paul University on June 10 at 7 pm in a presentation of the Integrated Peacebuilding Program and a discussion of potential NGO engagement with the new program.

Integrated Peacebuilding Program Description

The complexity of contemporary conflict is eliciting a more decisive response from the international community. Emerging in appreciable degrees is a more integrative strategy of grappling with the sweeping challenges often faced by imploding societies. An ever-expanding range of actors now contributes to achieving a synergy of effort among the government interdepartmental community and civilian organizations supported by military forces. Compounding such national Whole of Government responses is the additional requirement to coordinate these efforts with a growing number of allied and impacted governments, civilian specialists, International Organizations and, where appropriate, with NGOs and other personnel as the context dictates.

The Integrative Peacebuilding (IPB) Program features a hybrid methodology of online instruction coupled with a face-to-face component, comprised of a theoretical base with particular emphasis on the experiential for practitioners. Government personnel and those from the NGO community soon to assume strategic operational roles will be exposed to the systemic and practical challenges known to conflict and post-conflict environments, training that can also be applicable to other contexts, e.g. humanitarian and domestic missions requiring inter-agency collaboration.

The event

The event will include:

- Overview of the Program
- Rationale for and benefits of NGO involvement
- Discussion: Relationship Peacebuilding NGOs - Saint Paul University/IPB

Time: Monday, June 10, 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Place: Saint Paul University, Room 105

Refreshments will be offered.

RSVP: Please RSVP to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  by Thursday, June 7, end of day.

PCIA Conference a Success

Peacebuild and York/IRIS had a phenomenal PCIA event in Toronto on May 22-24, 2013. 
We averaged 20 people daily and skyped in a colleague from DC, who introduced and showed a PCIA/Peace Parks film with discussion. We had sessions on theory, bridging the theory-practice nexus, and reflexive praxis. We strategised the future along a theory, methodology/tools, and community of practice tripartite axis. In the process, we learned about PCIA in Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Kenya, Israel, Palestine, and elsewhere. Finally, we developed new friendships and cultivated solidarities that promise to evolve.
The details can be found in the conference final report here.

PCIA Conference updates


PCIA Conference poster

Preparations are swinging into full gear for the upcoming PCIA Conference at York University, Toronto, on May 22-24, 2013.



For the most recent information, please visit the Conference Page under PCIA - PCIA Conference.


GPPAC Newsletter March 2013

We are happy to present the new issue of GPPAC's bi-monthly newsletter. There are many highlights:

  • The meeting of GPPAC Regional Liaison Offices in The Hague in February showed the vibrancy of the  network in all its variety. Thanks everyone for coming all the way.
  • On March 4, Kenya had elections and they were peaceful. 
  • A new project was launched in Nairobi in which ACCORD and NPI-Africa will be collaborating closely within the GPPAC framework to promote peace in the Great Lakes region. 
  • GPPAC is also progressing in its work with Regional Inter-Governmental Organizations (RIGOs) and met with the new Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta. b


UN approves global arms trade treaty

Project Ploughshares staff passed around the bubbly to celebrate the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations General Assembly.

Ken Epps, Senior Program Officer, was at the negotiations in New York the last two weeks representing Ploughshares and in his capacity as Co-Chair of the international civil society Control Arms Coalition.

Canada voted with the majority to pass the ATT. Now we will see if Canada is one of the first to sign the treaty when it opens for signature on June 3, 2013, and then ratifies and implements the treaty provisions.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Ploughshares on this long trek, beginning in 1998. After a the celebratory pause, we will be back at next steps to ensure the ATT genuinely contributes to relieving human misery in the world by restricting the illegal movement of arms across borders.


PCIA Activities

Peacebuild is currently conducting a review of Peace and Conflict Assessment experiences. On the PCIA section of this website, you can see a range of practitioner presentations under PCIA - Introductions and PCIA - Presentations. There is also a nacent PCIA bibliography.

Feel free to register on the site (right side bar) and comment on any introduction or presentation, or to post your thoughts on the forum (you need to be logged in to post).

We are also organizing the following events - let us know if you are interested in participant in any of them via teleconferencing (prevention[at]

1) International Studies Association (ISA), San Francisco, Saturday, April 6, 10:30am
Assessing the Impact of Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment (PCIA): A Theorist-Practitioner Roundtable
Chair: Eric Abitbol, Vice-Chair, Peacebuild, Canada
As practice and tool, Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment (PCIA) has been ‘in development’ for some 15 years now. PCIA is rooted epistemologically to provide analysis of local relationships and conflicts and intent on preventing the emergence of conflict factors and the escalation of violence from ill-advised development practices. PCIA is situated to provide guidance such that development interventions support peaceable relations and relationship-building within a given socio-political context. Yet, PCIA remains an embattled practice, often relying on the advocacy of potentially affected actors for implementation. Once adopted, PCIA cannot be assumed to ensure more harmonious relations between development and peace. Evidence suggests that advice proffered through PCIAs is sometimes shaped, ignored or intentionally sidelined. Nonetheless, PCIA has contributed to shaping development initiatives to reflect strategic and programmatic concern for relational equity and peacebuilding more broadly. There are important lessons to be learned from evaluating the uptake and implementation of PCIA (and the related practice of ‘Conflict Sensitivity’) with specific concern for development in violent conflict and post-conflict environments. The current roundtable locates such evaluation in critical and reflexive experience-sharing among theorists and practitioners engaged in PCIA-related work.
2) May 22-24, PCIA Conference at York University, Toronto
The conference will include the 8 authors involved in our PCIA project and other experts and will contribute to the development of a PCIA community of practice committed to the critical development of PCIA theory and practice.
3) A number of online dialogue sessions with the participants in the PCIA project and others. Let us know if you would like to be on our list for the next dialogue.

GPPAC Newsletter January 2013

We very happy to present to you the next issue of the GPPAC E-newsletter. In this issue, you will find many interesting examples of our work on conflict prevention; in specific country/conflict situations, from Ghana to Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as along GPPAC’s thematic priorities of  Preventive Action and Dialogue and Mediation. 


New Year's Greeting

December 26, 2012

Dear Members of Peacebuild,

As the New Year approaches, renewal is underway at Peacebuild!

We are delighted to announce Peacebuild’s new Board of Directors:

Chair, Peggy Mason

Vice-Chair, Eric Abitbol

Secretary, Rena Ramkay

Treasurer, Erica Noordermeer

Prajeena Karmacharya

Gerald Ohlsen

Sophie Toupin

It is our pleasure to inform you that Silke Reichrath (formerly our Conflict Prevention Working Group Coordinator) has agreed to assume the demanding role of Coordinator at Peacebuild. For now, she will be working one day per week until September 2013. We very much hope that this will expand as Peacebuild develops its capacity to meet new challenges.

Peacebuild continues to develop the Afghanistan: Pathways to Peace initiative in support of the engagement of Afghan civil society in a comprehensive peace process for both that country and the region. Former Peacebuild Executive Director David Lord recently undertook a mission to Kabul and has developed a Concept Note with respect to future programming in collaboration with our partners and others on the ground. This is being distributed to potential donors and others, as the initiative undergoes a broad outreach and funding phase. Details about the Pathways process, the preparation of which began in 2008, can be found at its website: You can also follow Pathways on Facebook and Twitter.

Rena Ramkay will continue to represent Peacebuild at the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) in The Hague and will develop program initiatives with our North American Region colleagues in Mexico and the USA. Sophie Toupin will continue as the North American region’s Gender Focal Point.

We have recently received funding from IDRC (International Development Research Centre) for the new initiative, Assessing Impacts of Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment (PCIA): A North-South Participatory Research Project. Our partners on this initiative are Peacemedia-paixmédia, York University’s Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS), and the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development (JPD). A virtual dialogue process is underway in anticipation of a 2013 conference in Toronto and a special PCIA issue of the JPD.

We are also developing our involvement in issues related to children and armed conflict, including participation in the Dalhousie University-led Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts (CYCC) as a Network Partner. Erica Noordermeer is leading these efforts, while Prajeena Karmacharya is Peacebuild’s liaison with the Women, Peace and Security Network – Canada, which carries on the work of the former Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group.

Peacebuild has a new website at We encourage you to register as a Member and build your profile. Please use this space to share your news, link your organization and project affiliations, dynamically building the Peacebuild community. We also take this opportunity to encourage you to update your membership, renewing your commitment to the Peacebuild network.

We are looking forward to working with you, and in support of your work. In this capacity, we encourage you to communicate with us, sharing your thoughts as to how we might do that effectively. Our aim is to participate in building and catalyzing a dynamic, national dialogical culture of peace in cooperation with you all.

Wishing you a wonderful 2012 holiday season and a happy New Year for 2013!


Peggy, Eric, Rena, Erica, Prajeena, Gerald, Sophie

The Board of Peacebuild


Peacebuild is supporting peace initiatives in Afghanistan

Thanks to seed funding from CARE Canada, Peacebuild was able to send Afghanistan: Pathways to Peace International Steering Committee member David Lord on a mission to Afghanistan to discuss priorities and plans for the Afghanistan: Pathways to Peace process with Afghan partners, civil society stakeholders, and potential funders. From October 8-28, 2012, David Lord interviewed 27 individuals, including Afghan civil society activists, academics and international analysts and diplomats.

Top of mind among Afghans interviewed in Kabul were the current drawdown of US and other foreign conventional combat forces, uncertainty as to whether Afghan forces can adequately fill the resulting gaps and take a security lead, and the high probability of presidential and provincial council elections now scheduled for April 2014 generating more instability. Further fuelling fears for the near-term future is an economic downturn that has already begun to bite as the war economy contracts.

Despite the increasing insecurity and realization that the conflict will not be resolved militarily, there is currently no credible peace process. A plethora of Track 2 and unofficial processes have not had any visible results to date. Civil society is concerned about closed-door negotiations and agreements at the expense of hard-won gains in human rights. It is also frustrated with token inclusion in select processes or events. Calls for a comprehensive peace process led by a multinational institution or a group of impartial countries are common. Afghanistan: Pathways to Peace reaffirmed its commitment to support Afghan-led peace initiatives and to advocate internationally for a comprehensive and inclusive peace process.


Peacebuild is launching a PCIA project

Peacebuild has obtained a small grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) for the 'Assessing Impact' project to evaluate and improve Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment (PCIA). ‘Assessing Impacts of Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment (PCIA): A North-South Participatory Research Project’ is a collaborative initiative spearheaded by Peacebuild: The Canadian Peacebuilding Network and Peacemedia-paixmédia, in association with York University’s Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS) and the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development (JPD).

The project will involve video presentations and online discussions of the experiences of eight Southern practitioners and several international experts; eight papers by the Southern practitioners and a bibliographic review of 15 years of PCIA literature to constitute a special edition of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development; and a conference at York University in Toronto in May 2013.


Peacebuild conducted a member survey

Over the summer, Peacebuild invited around 100 former members and volunteers to fill in a survey on SurveyMonkey, with the option of using an e-mail attachment or simply responding by e-mail. The survey response rate was 18%, somewhat on the low side (under 20%) but within the normal rate for membership surveys (5-40%). Most respondents wanted to remain in the network (likely those who are not interested also did not take the survey) and are willing to pay a membership fee.

Respondents considered that the most important role for a peacebuilding network is the relationship with international networks like GPPAC, followed by coalition building for lobbying and information exchange and discussion on national and international trends and policies. There is little appetite for sub-networks/working groups. The development of member projects did not score high on importance, but did score high on people’s willingness to volunteer. Since it is likely to be the only source of revenue beside modest member fees, it would appear that member projects should be pursued where members have an interest and are willing to take the lead on a project.


Produced with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).

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