Unarmed civilian peacekeeping at Selkirk College hosts Peace Cafes

Selkirk College is the first college in the world to offer training in nonviolent peacekeeping.


Selkirk College holds the honour of being the first college in the world to offer training in nonviolent peacekeeping.

Called Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP) by the United Nations, faculty and students in the UCP course are presenting two upcoming Peace Cafes about this work.

UCP is officially recognized as an important complement to the blue helmet Peacekeepers. They are trained in military strategies and carry weapons, as contrasted with UCP peacekeepers that are weapon-free and trained in nonviolent strategies. Both remain nonpartisan, not taking sides, protecting peace building efforts.

“Selkirk College in BC Canada is the first college in the world to offer training in nonviolent peacekeeping. Our hope is that in 20 years students in all schools will receive this training so that changes can be made peacefully,” says Instructor and Co-organizer Madelyn MacKay.

On Tuesday, May 2 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Mir Centre for Peace at Selkirk College in Castlegar, presenters will tell stories and show videos of what nonviolent peacekeepers do to prevent violence and increase peace.

One of the instructors recently worked for Nonviolent Peaceforce in South Sudan, and students are coming who have worked in refugee camps, in trauma healing and violence prevention, including political, community and gender-based and gang violence in BC, Burundi, and Greece and elsewhere.

On Wednesday, May 3 from 7 to 9 p.m. in Nelson on the Selkirk College 10th St. Campus, Patenaude Hall, Room P-103 presenters include the Executive Director of Nonviolent Peaceforce and world leader in Unarmed Civilian Protection, and Nonviolent Peaceforce peacekeepers who have worked at Standing Rock and in South Sudan.

Also by Skype, James Favel of the Bear Clan Patrol in Winnipeg will talk about preventing violence against Indigenous women and children and others, and search efforts to find missing people.

Students will facilitate interactive discussion.

“At this time when military approaches threaten the whole planet, it is hopeful to hear of how many different organizations and people work non-violently and effectively reducing violence and fear, increasing local capacity and confidence to make changes peacefully,” says MacKay. Douglas Roche, former Canadian Senator, Ambassador for Disarmament and MP authored The Human Right to Peace and most recently, after Trump’s election, Hope Not Fear: Building Peace in a Fractured World.

He writes, “The world is passing through the biggest transformation in history as humanity attempts to move from the old culture of war to a new culture of peace….The worst mistake we can make at this juncture is to lose confidence in our ability to effect change….Peacebuilders, so long thwarted by the rich and powerful, are starting to influence the course of history.” You are invited to come meet some of them. Cost is by donation.