Peacekeeping workshop will be held at Laurier to focus on Canada’s peacekeeping efforts

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The Peace and Conflict Studies Association of Canada (PACS-Can) is hosting a workshop at Wilfrid Laurier University in partnership with the Balsillie School of International Affairs and the Canadian International Council. The workshop aims to focus on Canada’s international role in peacekeeping efforts.

Timothy Donais, associate professor of global studies at Laurier, explained the objective of hosting an event like this:

“The idea is to reflect on Canada’s past, present and future role in relation to United Nations (UN) peacekeeping,” Donais said.

The workshop brings up important points about how Canada’s role in peacekeeping has changed over the years. Donais explained that Canada was supposed to be engaging with UN peacekeeping but has struggled to do so.

“Canada is hosting a big peacekeeping ministerial summit in Vancouver in November, so it’s a good time to reflect on Canada’s role in peacekeeping and what we’ve done and our past reputation as peacekeepers,” Donais said.

“But also, what our options are and why it’s taking so long for our government to make some decisions about how we’re going to engage and where we’re going to reengage and what the future is in terms of Canada and peacekeeping.”

There are four different panels taking place as part of the workshop and there are 13 different papers on a range of topics from the historical evolution on UN peacekeeping to looking at questions of countering violent extremisms.

“In addition to the workshop, there is a forum taking place in the CIGI Campus’ auditorium on Thursday evening and for that we have three people presenting,” Donais said.

The three presenters included Mark Sedra, executive director of Canadian International Council, Jane Boulden, Canada’s research chair at the Royal Military College, Walter Dorn, professor at the Canadian Forces College as well as one of Canada’s leading authorities on international security.

“Peacekeeping is still relevant in a lot of the world’s so called hot spots. It’s an imperfect tool but it’s really the best tool that the international community has to actually try and make a difference in some of these places.”

The event is free but requires registration for the workshop portion and will take place Thursday Sept. 21 in the afternoon starting at 2:00 p.m. and Friday, Sept. 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

“[The event] is open to all Laurier students, the main audience is students at Laurier who are interested, students at the Balsillie School and graduate students who are studying international security issues. We’ve been mainly promoting the event here at Laurier,” Donais said.

“This is for students to gain a real sense of these issues [that are] not confined to a text book,” Donais said.

“These are things that are happening in real time and real life.”

This is one of PACS-Can’s first events with the Laurier and Waterloo community.

Although this would be beneficial to students in Global Studies involved with the Peace and Conflict stream, Donais explained that the community needs to be aware of international issues of conflict as well.

“The idea is to engage the local community in some of discussions on what Canada’s role should be in UN peacekeeping,” Donais said.

“By engaging the community they can talk about some of these issues and what role Canada should and could be playing.”

“Peacekeeping is still relevant in a lot of the world’s so called hot spots. It’s an imperfect tool but it’s really the best tool that the international community has to actually try and make a difference in some of these places.”

Here is a link to the Eventbrite to register for the event: www.eventbrite.ca/pacs-can-workshop-canadian-peacekeeping-tickets

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