If I were to describe who I was, in order of importance, I would say that I am: a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, scholar, activist, cyclist and runner. And I am committed to creating a more just and peaceful world.
So how did a small town girl from South Western Ontario become focused on creating a more just and peaceful world? I first became interested in justice and peace as an undergraduate at the University of Waterloo. Deciding that I wanted to pursue this topic of study, I enrolled in the religious studies programme, with a specialization in peace and conflict studies. Because I wanted a practical outlet, I chose the internship option, which meant that I received not only academic training but also extensive experiential training. I lived in Guatemala and Northern Ireland, thus opening up my world to the people and organizations working to create a more just and peaceful within deeply embedded conflict.
Both my theoretical training at the University of Waterloo and my experiences in Guatemala and Northern Ireland sparked my interest in the role religion played in international conflicts. Already with solid training in religious studies, I sought out a graduate programme that would allow me to work on international governance, international policy and the practical effects of religion in international conflict resolution. I enrolled in the Master of Arts in International Development Studies programme at Dalhousie University. My course work there focused on conflict resolution and international studies, with a focus on the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. My passion for understanding the role of religion in peace and justice was sparked. I moved to England to do my PhD at the University of Leeds. I spent time living in South Africa and focused on the role of religion in South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy, writing my dissertation and eventually my first book, entitled: Religion and Conflict Resolution: Christianity and South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
I feel like I am one of the luckiest people in the world in that my job allows, encourages, and supports my passion and my work for justice and peace. I am an associate professor at King’s University College at Western University in London, Ontario in the Social Justice and Peace Studies program. As a professor I teach, research, write, and I hope that in all of this I am working to create a more just and peaceful world. I teach courses on theories of justice and peace, ethics of war and peace, religion and conflict resolution, global and local issues of justice and peace. And probably one of the best parts about my job is that I get to see my students working to create a more just and peaceful world.
My research brings together an interdisciplinary study of justice and peace. I believe we cannot get to sustainable peace without justice, so all of my work looks at the intersection of justice and peace. I tend to focus on the role of religion and faith based organizations in the work for peace and justice. I am interested in topics such as conflict resolution, homelessness, migrant workers, immigration and migration, community and international development, just peacemaking, Catholic social teachings.
And I understand myself to be an activist, in the broadest sense. My life and my work are devoted to creating a more just and peaceful world.
When I’m not with my boys or working, I am dreaming of the next place we will travel, the next project we can profile on our website, or I can be found on my bike or on a run.