FAQs

Peace is an active way of living,
seeking to resolve conflicts cooperatively,
respecting the wellbeing of the earth and all peoples.

– PeaceQuest description of peace

Preamble

It is important to note that PeaceQuest communications documents such as these are living documents that evolve with the organization and are, indeed part of the reason we exist. PeaceQuest volunteers and community observers may be debating and tweaking our answers to these questions at this very moment! Read on for further explanation.

  • There are many groups working to restore and strengthen peace in our communities and around the globe. Some are committed to important research and reporting; others are dedicated to lobbying governments and policy makers; still others advocate particular actions for peace at home and abroad. Few, however, have as their primary focus the promotion of conversation among ordinary people about peace, both its restoration and preservation. This is the raison d’etre of PeaceQuest.

  • The simple answer is that it began in 2012 in a conversation about what it means to be a Canadian. At the time, the Canadian government was engaged in efforts to “rebrand,” as it were, the character of Canada. The money spent on commemorating events from the War of 1812 is perhaps the most obvious example of this effort. As the anniversaries of WW1 were approaching, there was concern expressed that such government sponsored initiatives would increase, promoting Canada more as a “warrior nation” rather than a nation of people committed to peace and reconciliation. Learn more from a short video on our web page.

  • We are living in tumultuous times. Violence and violent conflicts often dominate the headlines. In 2014, Project Ploughshares’ annual Armed Conflict Report revealed an increase in conflict from 2012, after almost 2 decades of steady decrease. In a world where violent conflict cannot be contained on distant battlefields but is increasingly encroaching upon the lives of innocent non-combatants, we all share greater responsibility to work for peace.

  • Peace is possible! We all desire it; we all recognize and relish what it brings to our lives. The alternatives are increasingly frightening and unthinkable.

  • Not at all. The members of PeaceQuest are grateful for the service of the Canadian Forces and their families, past and present.  It is often those who have personally known conflict who recognize most clearly the importance of working to preserve peace. We share many similar values and ideas with those who dedicate their lives to the Canadian Forces. While we recognize that differences do exist among Canadians, PeaceQuest is interested in building upon the foundation of our common ground.

    From time to time, PeaceQuest may take a particular stand for or against policies of the government of the day.  It is important to remember that we exploring other ways in which the Canadian military can be involved, not its existence.

    For example: Peace is a core Canandian value, a core value of the many indigenous cultures that preceeded us. Perhaps a military that reflects these common core values is achievable with training that emphasizes mediation, disarmament, and humanitarian services over, what we would consider to be, “traditional defense”.

  • While pacifism, the use of non-violent resistance to confront injustice, is desirable, it is not a pre-requisite for involvement with PeaceQuest, nor the peace movement at large. Indeed, this is an important question which PeaceQuest seeks to explore in its efforts to promote wider conversations about peace, peacemaking and peace preservation.

  • There is no simple formula, but throughout history and, indeed, in our own time, numerous strategies have born the fruit of peace. We work for justice for all and non-violent resolution of conflict according to the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Just as we want to solve conflicts within our own families non-violently, it is equally desirable to resolve global conflicts in a similar way. PeaceQuest recognizes that there can be no peace without justice. The wellbeing we seek for ourselves we desire for all. “If you don’t have it, I don’t have it!” Through constructive dialogue, we can find and promote ways to make a difference. PeaceQuest does not claim to have the answers to all the complex problems of our times – but we can make possible forums for participation and engagement to advance the cause of peace. PeaceQuest invites you to become involved in such a process.

  • PeaceQuest is committed to promoting the common good. To do this means resisting the notion that the world should be perceived in black-white, dualistic terms. Those who would suggest that “If you are not for me, you are against me” fail utterly to understand the complexity of conflicts in today’s world. However, PeaceQuest believes that all people … yes, all people, are basically good and deserve a peaceful world in which to live in dignity. PeaceQuest recognizes that peace is not only an end state but a process towards that end. It is a long and challenging path. While we may disagree on how to achieve peace, most are willing to work for its realization. Research clearly shows the effects of these efforts. In the past 20 years, violence in the world has slowly but steadily decreased. Join the conversation … what do you suggest? Do you want to try?

  • Yes! We look forward to hearing from you. Many of our suggested activities and events can done completely solo or with a small group you collect. As PeaceQuest is a four year long conversation, any steps and activities you take to further this discussion count as PeaceQuest.

    Please take this moment to appreciate your newfound ability to instantly become a member of the organization!

    Of course, since our base of operations is in Kingston, Ontario, we can only officially appreciate PeaceQuest activities and events that we hear about – so please Contact Us with your ideas and/or plans. Visit the Join the Quest page to get inspired by our suggested activities and events!

  • PeaceQuest is divided into four StreamsCulture, Education, Faith and Policy. If your local PeaceQuest group is large enough, each Stream may have meetings of their own, each working on projects and events which are vetted monthly through a central Steering Committee. Have a look around the stream pages to determine for yourself which area you are most interested in contributing to!

    Please note there are a number of informal PeaceQuest groups who are not listed on the website yet. Contact Us to see if we can get you teamed up with other new participants in your area! Volunteer requests are also sent out via our monthly e-newsletter.

    Each PeaceQuest group is encouraged to celebrate its work occasionally at open public meetings, or “Plenary Sessions”.  These meetings are open to everyone and anyone who is interested and are a great opportunity to engage new local participants. Check our Events Listings to see if there is a plenary or meeting happening near you.

  • PeaceQuest is a non-profit, non-denominational, non-governmental organization made up of ordinary Canadians. Funding is made possible through generous donations from individuals as well as like-minded groups across the country. We are particularly indebted to the contributions from a number of Religious Communities and Foundations from coast to coast. Charitable receipts are available upon request. We accept donations via cheque and  Paypal.

  • As a non-denominational organization, we welcome the involvement of people of any or no religious affiliation. A commitment to working for peace is the bedrock of involvement, not a particular philosophical or religious outlook.

     

  • PeaceQuest, in its early days, tried to produce a definition of peace on which we could all agree. In spite of the rich and respectful conversation, we found that we could not do it! Thus, we decided on a description of peace … Peace is an active way of living, seeking to resolve conflicts cooperatively, respecting the wellbeing of the earth and all peoples. Why not add your ideas to the conversation by participating in our White Square Project for Peace? We look forward to your contribution.

  • PeaceQuest seeks a representative balance of Canadian historical events in public narrative and knowledge. We acknowledge the importance of WWI; indeed, there are many lessons still to be learned. We would suggest, however, that there are other historically significant events of at least equal importance in understanding how Canadian identity took shape. The cultures of three founding nations. Our geography. Our openness to immigrants and their traditions. Our common struggles for the common good. PeaceQuest hopes to integrate all of these elements into the broader conversation, particularly in light of the upcoming 150th anniversary of confederation in 2017.

     

More questions?

Use the Contact Us page to get in touch with PeaceQuest volunteers directly. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter @peacequestygk to ask more questions and be a part of the discussion!