By Patrick Brennan, Executive Director, Institute for the Study of International Development at McGill University
During the last week of October 2015, 27 participants attended the Executive Program in Reconciliation, Conflict Prevention and the Promotion of More Inclusive Societies at the Institute for the Study of International Development at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. An impressive group of instructors lead modules on the history of, approaches to and lessons learned in the area of reconciliation. An equally impressive group of participants rose to the challenge of examining their individual and professional commitments to reconciliation.
The idea of hosting an Executive Program in Reconciliation, Conflict Prevention and the Promotion of More Inclusive Societies has been percolating for some time at the Institute for the Study of International Development at McGill University. The Institute has published research to policy papers on this theme and held a conference in 2014 on Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. Therefore, following these events and the completion of work by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, it was timely for the Institute to look further at the issue of reconciliation from both an international and domestic perspective.
It became obvious during the week that there is no set road map for the journey of reconciliation. Each country, its history and the affected groups are different. It is apparent, however, that effective reconciliation must include commitment and efforts by all citizens. It is not the burden of the affected community to bear alone. In the case of Canada, Indigenous and non-indigenous people alike must join in the journey of reconciliation.
Reconciliation Canada held a very powerful dialogue workshop on the final morning of the program. All participants present were moved. It was an appropriate end to a week which examined and challenged our views on complex issues. Participants agreed to be part of a virtual community of practice. We have returned home now to engage on our paths of reconciliaction.
More information on the Executive Program in Reconciliation, Conflict Prevention and the Promotion of More Inclusive Societies can be found here.
More information on research published by the Institute for Study of International Development at McGill University can be found here.
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In August 2014, Patrick Brennan joined McGill’s Institute for the Study of International Development. Mr. Brennan came to McGill from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. He previously worked at the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations World Food Programme and the Canadian International Development Agency. Mr. Brennan holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia University in Montreal.
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and may not reflect the views and opinions of Reconciliation Canada.