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April 2020 Newsletter
The Network in Action

Update on the Network team
This past November, the Peace Network team was pleased to welcome Anna Krol into its ranks as Program Coordinator, specializing in Diversity and Inclusion. Recipient of a Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Grenoble Alpes (France), Anna specializes in the ethics of interpersonal communication and in language analysis. As part of her doctoral work, she was invited to join an interdisciplinary team on the fight against discrimination. To this end, she participated in studies carried out for the Defender of Rights and the General Commissariat for the Equality of Territories. She also conducted an evaluation of public policies related to the fight against discrimination in a municipality in the Grenoble basin. Her work experience in the private sector and her collaboration with the Association of Executives for Social and Economic Progress in Lyon, combined with her academic knowledge, led her to teach Intercultural Management.
Photo credits: Michael Abril
Upon her arrival in Montreal in December of 2018, she worked for the City of Montreal as part of Montréal Interculturel and at the Laboratory for Research on Intercultural Relations at the University of Montreal. Anna’s skills and experience in the subject of inter-culturalism, in the fight against discrimination, and in the ethics of interpersonal communication will enhance the expertise of the Peace Network. Her belief that a better world can be built through the collaborative efforts of organizations and people of diverse backgrounds is a key reason that Anna chose to join the Peace Network team and help lead its activities.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Martin Luther King Day Commemoration, Montreal City Hall
Photo credits: Sylvain Légaré
The City of Montreal commemorated the 17th edition of Martin Luther King Day on January 20th, through a collaborative effort with the Peace Network for Social Harmony and local NGO Youth in Motion. The event’s central activity was a panel moderated by Michael Farkas, with a discussion of actions that can be taken on campus to promote diversity and inclusion as well as practices of non-violence.  All four of Montreal’s major universities were part of the panel including:  Dr. Nalini Mohabir, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Town Planning and Environment at Concordia University; Marie-Livia Beaugé, lawyer and former law student at UQAM; Julie Guernier, undergraduate student in International Studies and project manager for humanitarian and community action at the University of Montreal; and Lina Bensaidane, a law graduate involved with Muslim Awareness Week at McGill University.
People's Gospel Choir of Montreal
Photo credits: Sylvain Légaré 
Magda Popeanu, Vice-President of the City’s Executive Committee, responsible for culture and diversity, and Brian Bronfman, President of the Peace Network for Social Harmony, delivered speeches reminding us of Martin Luther King Jr.’s emphasis on the creation of more harmonious societies and the respect of people’s basic rights. The event concluded with an uplifting performance by the People's Gospel Choir of Montreal, as well as a networking opportunity for those in attendance.

Muslim Awareness Week
For a second consecutive year, the Peace Network for Social Harmony is proud to have collaborated in Muslim Awareness Week (MAW), an initiative aimed at commemorating the attacks on the Grand Mosque of Quebec on January 29, 2017, and at creating opportunities for interaction and exchange between people and groups of diverse faiths, with an emphasis on creating a greater understanding of Quebec's Muslim culture. Ehab Lotayef, president of the MAW coordinating committee and engineer at McGill University, along with several of his supporters and colleagues, designed the week of activities with the stated goal (from the MAW website) of providing, "A week to get to know each other!".
January 29th commemoration, 
McGill University
Panel "Le Québec face à l'Islam",
Centre justice et foi
Panel "Human Rights in Islam",
ICAN / Citizen's Rights Movement
A talk by Fariha N. Mohammed, 
Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom
Through a platform of joint programming that took place from January 25th to 31st, a panoply of intercultural and interfaith activities took place, uniting a multitude of dedicated partners. These activities provided opportunities for citizens to meet “others” different than themselves and to become more aware of the concerns of Muslim Quebecers. For its part, the Peace Network participated in several activities, assisted with promotion, and facilitated a number of partnerships. We plan to contribute again to the 2021 edition, given the importance of this unique bridge-building initiative.
 
A first national forum for the Movement for Schools Without Sexual Violence 
A forum entitled “Sexual Violence: Let's Act Now” – an initiative of the Movement for Schools Without Sexual Violence (MSWSV) and the Canadian Women's Foundation – was slated to take place on March 23rd in Montreal. This national meeting was intended to be a space for meeting and exchange for people working on prevention and intervention with respect to sexual violence in schools, and on the promotion of healthy relationships among young people. The objective of the forum was to draw up recommendations for those in power and for school administrators, in order to put in place intervention and prevention policies for sexual violence in secondary schools in Quebec.
At the time of the forum’s postponement, the Peace Network – an MSWSV partner since 2018 – was working on the creation of a panel looking at sexual violence in schools and the tools available for effective intervention. We hope that this valuable initiative will take place at some point soon, at which time it will assist participant stakeholders to increase the impact and efficiency of their work. 
 
Postponement of the Action Week Against Racism
The 21st edition of the Action Week Against Racism and for Equal Opportunities, scheduled to take place from March 21st to 31st, had to be postponed. Under a theme of "How to respond to racism in the digital age,” a variety of activities related to prevention, awareness and public education were to be offered, thanks to the efforts of the initiative’s many dedicated partners. The Action Week website explains that “the fight against racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia is essential for the protection of everyone’s fundamental rights and for the advent of social solidarity which promotes the participation of each citizen in the development of a more just society.”  A partner in the initiative since 2019, the Peace Network is dedicated to continuing its involvement in forthcoming editions, as we work together to put an end to all forms of discrimination, which remain too prevalent in our society.
 
Montreal Happiness Festival
The second edition of the Montreal Happiness Festival, organized Montréal la plus heureuse, was scheduled to take place from March 17th to 22nd.The Peace Network intended to take part in the initiative for the first time, along with several other partners on the ground who care about diversity, inclusion and social harmony. Because of the pandemic, the Festival was postponed… but not the happiness itself! To celebrate the annual March 20th International Day of Happiness, Montréal la plus heureuse, in partnership with fellow NGOs Mouvement de paix and Deux cultures, un monde, organized a unique event: the Virtual Marathon of Happiness. The event included 9 ½ hours of live performances on Facebook, with more than 40 artists from diverse origins and disciplines performing, and 1,900 people in attendance online. The marathon acted as a bridge of joy and peace among several countries: Canada, Italy, France and Senegal. For more information, please consult articles appearing in La Presse and Atuvu.ca, as well as videos and publications that are available on the event Facebook page.

 An innovative website for preventing youth violence
PREVNet is Canada’s leading expert in scientific research for the prevention of bullying and other forms of violence. The Peace Network has been an active partner with the organization for many years now, particularly assisting them with outreach and expansion into Quebec. This year, PREVNet launched a new youth-oriented website entitled "Youth Dating Violence," which is accessible to everyone and geared to facilitating access to violence prevention resources, particularly in the context of youth dating. Please feel free to share this information within your networks.

Update on the Institute of Social Emotional Education (ISEE)
The team at the Institute of Social Emotional Education (ISEE) has completed its first commercial game, which incorporates their proprietary social emotional learning tools. The game is called Connect Cards: Feelings and Needs. Having been tested with families, young adults and in classrooms, orders have come in from a corporation in Europe (which will use the cards as a way to 'check-in' with their team members at the start or end of meetings), a CEGEP administrator, and teachers and families who participated in the focus groups. ISEE is also working towards the publication of its CS3: Core Skills in 3 Domains Me-You-Us Teacher Guides (K-3 & Gr. 4-8) in English, as well as finalizing CE3: Compétences essentielles dans trois domaines du développement relationnel (CE3): le moi, le toi et le nous. The Peace Network has long been an active partner of the ISEE and its co-founder Dr. Tara Wilkie, and looks forward to continuing the collaboration.
UPCOMING EVENTS

Informational Tour on Montreal's Muslim Diversity:
postponed to a later date
This unique event teaches participants about people of Muslim faith or culture in Montreal, as well as helping them reflect on cultural and religious pluralism as a whole. Participants are invited to meet at a café in St-Michel to start the conversation, followed by a bus tour covering different areas of Montreal where they can retrace the history of the city’s Muslim cultures. It also includes a lunch served in the warm atmosphere of the Centre justice et foi, the organization behind the event, after which participants take place in a “Living Library” activity, at which they learn about the lives of ordinary Muslim Quebecers. Finally, the day ends by visiting a mosque in Côte-des-Neiges. The Peace Network, proud partner of the event, invites you to participate and live this day of solidarity and shared citizenship. We will be sure to inform you once a new date is confirmed.
 
International Day of Living Together in Peace
Since 2018, the Peace Network has collaborated with various grassroots partners to highlight the May 16th International Day for Living Together in Peace.  Working in partnership with organizations focused on diversity and inclusion, the Network has taken part in a variety of activities related to vivre-ensemble (Cuisine ta ville, a Blanket Exercise, various exhibitions, interfaith walks, etc.) in order to emphasize and publicize the cultural richness of Montreal’s communities and to help build bridges among cultures and religions. This year, in an effort to continue the collaborative work and to encourage new alliances, the Peace Network brought together a dozen partners from the diversity and inclusion field in order to help them get to know each other better, to discuss and coordinate activities to be undertaken within the framework of the IDLTP, and to consider possible partnerships, as well as discussing the possible creation of a Forum on Diversity and Inclusion (to be held in 2021).  
Left to right: Rafael Benitez from PAAL, Élodie Ekobena from Centre justice et foi and Rachid Djouaher from AISA Canada
Nadine St-Louis,
Executive Director
Sacred Fire Productions
Over the course of two meetings, it was exciting and inspiring to see the emergence of partnerships between many of the organizations. The meetings also made it easier to organize joint efforts and a more coordinated approach to celebrations of the IDLTP. Unfortunately, the current global situation makes it likely that the activities planned for May will be postponed or canceled. Nonetheless, the alliances created during these two meetings remain intact, and the gatherings will make it easier to collaboratively and synergistically pursue future actions in favor of living together in peace.
 
A gathering for youth engagement in Peace
3rd Encounter of the "Ambassadors of Non-Violence"
(
more than 100 students having chosen non-violence as a vehicle for self-expression)
Photo credits: Gilles Pilette
The Montreal branch of the Académie de la non-violence is hoping to hold its scheduled event, the 4th Encounter of the Ambassadors of Non-Violence: My commitment, our strength of conviction,” if the situation allows, on May 12 at Gilles-Vigneault School. Taking place in the context of the International Day for Living Together in Peace, the event will highlight the hope that people will act together for a better world. The program will include:
  • A presentation on the role of the Ambassadors as spokespeople and actors for peace;
  • A description and explanation of the flagship Ambassadors of Peace program;
  • Inauguration of the Wall of Peace.
The “Académie de la non-violence collaborated with many organizations in developing the initiative, including the Peace Network for Social Harmony which has been an implementing partner. Last year, the 3rd Encounter of the Ambassadors for Non-Violence demonstrated the strength and conviction of these committed young people. In addition to having built bridges between students and adults of different ages and cultural backgrounds, the initiative also raised awareness of the importance of educating young people to remain calm in all circumstances in order to better manage their pressures, all thanks to their participation in non-violence education workshops.
 
Cuisine ton quartier 2020
Please note that some dates may be postponed depending on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. Information will be periodically updated at www.atsa.qc.ca.
The Peace Network, proud partner of ATSA, Quand l’Art Passe à l’Action since the 2019 edition of Cuisine ta ville, is pleased to provide assistance with another large-scale event promoting intercultural rapprochement and dialogue. Following on the success of Cuisine ta ville artistic and interactive event scheduled to take place in eight Montreal boroughs by next October. Neighbourhoods included in the initiative are Montreal-North, Côte-Des-Neiges, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Villeray Saint-Michel Parc-Extension, Saint-Laurent, Saint-Leonard, Pierrefonds Roxboro, and Lachine.  
Photo credits: Daniel Robillard pour ATSA
Cuisine ton quartier will offer opportunities to meet, exchange and learn from the refugees and immigrants who add so greatly to the social fabric of our neighborhoods, through a space made up of Tempo shelters – something reminiscent of Montreal neighborhoods. Inclusive, open and free, Cuisine ton quartier will offer reflections on migration through a dynamic multidisciplinary program that includes visual and performing arts, cooking workshops and parties, conferences, testimonials, and film screenings. You can participate in this large-scale traveling event as a volunteer or by responding to the call for projects, which can include anything from telling the story of your journey to Montreal to singing, dancing or cooking a traditional recipe for the public to enjoy! For more information, see the call for projects at or contact ATSA.
 
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Réseau pour la paix et l'harmonie sociale / Peace Network for Social Harmony
328 Victoria Avenue, Westmount, H3Z 2M8
Tel. (514) 484-3336