Peace Week

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YMCA Peace Week is a time when we celebrate the presence of peace in our communities, and reflect on the peace-building work that happens all year both inside and outside the YMCA.

Peace-building is core to YMCA values and is part of our work year round. It can be local, international, or both. Sometimes peace-building work means sharing ideas and resources across borders. Sometimes it simply means reaching out to build connections and understand each other better.

YMCA Peace Week is a vehicle for educating Canadians about peace in all its dimensions. YMCA Peace Week offers activities that help children, youth, and adults explore peace from personal, community, and global perspectives.

Global education is a key component of Peace Week activities and connects to the Plan Y: Expedition focus on fostering a global mindset.

Ultimately, YMCA Peace Week calls people to: Build community. Act for peace.

When we act for peace, together we build a stronger and healthier community by promoting a sense of belonging, fostering empathy, embracing pluralism and addressing the social determinants of health.

How does YMCA Peace Week contribute to the Canada We Want?

Under Plan Y: Expedition, the YMCA Federation has committed itself to contributing in measurable ways to building the Canada We Want: a Canada defined by healthy people, healthy communities, and a strong record of addressing social health deficits, particularly among children, teens, and young adults. In celebrating and promoting people who actively build peace in their communities, Peace Week contributes to the Canada we want by:

Addressing the social determinants of health.

According to the World Health Organization, “The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power, and resources at global, national, and local levels.” The social determinants of health could equally be called the social determinants of peace. A world with good outcomes on all the social determinants—including things like education, social equity, and child development—would be a peaceful world.

Promoting a sense of belonging.

The Vancouver Community Foundation has written that, “How our region fosters a sense of belonging, inclusion, and participation is key to our vitality.” The same is true of communities across Canada. Voting, volunteering, charitable giving, and other behaviours that shape healthy communities are all associated with a strong sense of community belonging.

Fostering empathy.

Roots of Empathy, an evidence-based education organization, describes empathy as “a key ingredient to responsible citizenship.” Research indicates that empathy and prosocial (or ‘helping’) behaviours are strongly linked. Prosocial behaviours contribute to individual and community health, and help to address social health deficits.

Embracing pluralism.

The Global Centre for Pluralism describes pluralism as a process based upon “a series of choices informed by the desire to balance equality of treatment with equity of outcome.” While many recognize our ‘success’, “Canadian pluralism remains…unfinished…subject to new pressures.” As one of the most diverse countries in the world, Canada’s choice to embrace pluralism requires continued commitment. All year round, YMCAs contribute to this work by promoting diversity and social inclusion in our programs and facilities. YMCA Peace Week is an opportunity to reflect on, celebrate, and advance this work.

Peace Week Nominations

Each year, YMCAs across Canada celebrate acts of peace by recognizing individuals and groups who, without any special resources, status, wealth or position, have demonstrated a commitment to building peace within their community or communities elsewhere in the world. During YMCA Peace Week, which will take place from November 17-24, 2018, local peacemakers will receive special recognition and a medal at Peace Medal ceremonies across Canada. Medals will be awarded to two peace makers in each of our communities, North Bay and Sudbury. Peacemakers are selected through a nomination process.

Please click here to get your nomination form!

Nominations must be submitted by Sunday, November 11th.


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