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Center for Dialogue and Conflict Transformation

“WELCOME FROM THE DIRECTOR”

As the African quote reminds us, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” The Center for Dialogue and Conflict Transformation seeks to engage with LCC students, staff, local and international researchers, practitioners, activists, and communities to promote and strengthen a culture of peace both locally and globally.  We invite you to join us on our journey towards building peace.

a photo of person or place for the testimony

Naomi Enns
Director, Center for Dialogue and Conflict Transformation

Purpose statement

LCC’s peace center, grounded in Christian faith, offers opportunities for building bridges of trust, transforming relationships, and equipping communities. The center aims to strengthen, transform, and sustain servant change agents towards the creation of a more just and peaceful world. Opportunities for gathering and growing together strengthens the LCC ethos of non-violent peacebuilding guided by 4 pillars articulated below. These pillars advance our understanding and action towards peace in local and global pathways through dialogue, trainings, and action. The Center is a catalyst for strengthening communities in nonviolent social change, generous hospitality, and holistic justice to promote the greater common good of our society.

4 Pillars

The Center strengthens the LCC ethos of non-violent peacebuilding with the following 4 pillars for transforming relationships and equipping communities. 

We work with people to transform conflict on personal, interpersonal, community and societal levels by building bridges of trust, fostering reconciliation, and strengthening resiliency. Through respectful engagement we equip communities to live justly and nurture a sustainable peace. 

We work with students and researchers in the areas of conflict and peace studies and promote events that stimulate dialogue on critical issues that impact our world.  The goal is to invite students, international researchers, and others to connect academic research to practice.

We challenge a culture of oppression, promote actions which pursue justice, increase understanding and engagement in human rights issues, and strengthen positive service and citizenship. We use dialogue, learning events and workshops to empower communities to live generously.

We foster an awareness of the cycles of violence and provide tools to nonviolently engage conflict, oppression, and trauma. We use human encounters to transform relationships, expand our understanding and actions toward peace, and nurture health and healing towards a more just and peaceful world.

News and Events

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Naomi Enns: A Catalyst for Founding the Center for Dialogue and Conflict Transformation

2021-12-16

NAOMI ENNS ARRIVED AT LCC INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY JUST LAST SPRING, YET SHE WAS NO STRANGER TO THIS INSTITUTION. HER HUSBAND DOUGLAS HAS A LONG CONNECTION HERE-HIS FATHER WAS THE SECOND PRESIDENT OF LCC INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY.In response to the common question, “where are you from?” Naomi jokes saying that she considers herself to be a world citizen because she was born in California, the USA, but married a Canadian. She has Canadian immigrant status, and their grown children live in Canada. Naomi and Douglas lived in Canada until 2009, before moving abroad.Naomi started her career as a community nurse. She worked in-home healthcare on Vancouver Island in Canada. But then she shifted to teaching nursing for 11 years. That was the point when her path in teaching began.Back in Canada, as a pastor’s wife, she was involved not only in the local community but was also engaged in the outreach work of her church denomination. She was particularly interested in the humanitarian organization, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), a North American-based organization that serves approximately 50 countries and has large groups of volunteers. As a Mennonite pastoral couple in Canada, they supported MCC’s work refugee resettlement, justice issues, and advocacy from a church perspective.After some time of supporting the work of the Mennonite Central Committee, Naomi and her husband decided to become full-time MCC international service workers. With their youngest daughter, they moved to Chad where they lived and served for 3 years. In Chad, Naomi worked at an HIV clinic. Her work focused on education for families and children, behavior change, and community capacity, and managed country programs. At the same time, Naomi was getting her master’s degree in Pedagogy of Teaching and Adult Education. She even finished her degree without any electricity at their house. At the moment, Chad was one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world, which made their stay there even more difficult.“In Chad, it’s not if you get sick, but when you get sick. I had malaria quite badly there. My husband was transported out from Chad for a potential stroke, which luckily was caught in time, so we were able to help him.”Naomi reflects on the loss of many friends there. “While we were in Chad, about 50 percent of the people we knew and learned to love, Chadians, had died by the time we left in the 3 years. It was due to accidents or medical illnesses that are readily treated in North American countries.”After the 3 years in Chad, Naomi and Doug headed back to Canada. Their stay didn’t last long, though. After 10 months, they left for Lebanon to again work internationally. Naomi took up a position as Representative of the Mennonite Central Committee for programs of the countries of Lebanon and Syria. They arrived there just when the tensions in the Middle East increased – when people were fleeing over the mountains into Lebanon because of the Syrian Crisis. Naomi continued working with facilitating workshops on trauma resiliency and peacebuilding.At the end of their stay in Lebanon, the Representative position for MCC opened in West Europe. She made a difficult decision to leave the work that she loved in order to fill the need and assist the MCC programs for West Europe based in Strasbourg, France. At the same time, Naomi applied for the master’s-level certificate and received additional teachings in Humanitarian Action Leadership with a focus on trauma from Eastern Mennonite University.Shortly after the pandemic started, Mennonite Central Committee made a decision to close down the office in Western Europe, which meant that they no longer had jobs. Naomi shared that it was a sad and rather traumatic experience because the decision was made fast and without much consultation. The same year, Naomi noticed a job opportunity at LCC. Naomi was accepted for the position in the International Relations and Development department.She shares, “I think God has woven my life through many strands. I really see my life as a quilt, which is funny because I am also a quilter. I see how He has done this, especially trying to find ways to bring different pieces of life together into something bigger, something that can say something.”Naomi was hired to help develop, form and strengthen a new Peace Center at LCC, which is officially named The Center for Dialogue and Conflict Transformation. This Center had been in the minds of the staff and faculty at LCC, but it had not had the right person, timing, or funds to become a physical space. Naomi has worked as a catalyst in founding and shaping the Center. The idea behind the Center is to have it serve all faculty, students, and the greater public beyondLCC’s International Relations department.Naomi is working on building a network of peace-building connections across Europe and internationally. One of the Center’s goals is to take theory and apply it in practical life. They wish to connect students and professors to the places where conflict transformation theory works. Building up a base of NGOs around the world that LCC can send their students to, to have a relationship with, and to create practicum opportunities. “For instance, this summer we sent one of our students, Emma McDonald, to Corrymeela Reconciliation Center in Northern Ireland.”Another way to pursue peacebuilding is through holding conferences here that invite researchers, academics, practitioners, and even local people. In these conferences, attendees would hear a reflection on what it means to be a peacebuilder in the world, how to work at good conflict transformation, reconciliation, and mediation.One of the hopes at the Center is to one day hold a summer seminar where people can come and learn these same skills and get a certificate. In March 2022 the Center is hosting its opening event, in which the conference will be divided into three strands. In the first, invitations are being made to academics and researchers to deliver papers. There will be discussion and conversation around those. Students and others from the community will be able to come to gain an understanding of the reflective work available. The second strand is the participatory and round table workshops on peacebuilding or other similar skills. Some other workshops will be about using the expressive arts to tell your story, learning how to facilitate circle dialogue preparing a safe space for storytelling, bridging the differences, and coming to understand the commonalities with ‘others’ through our narratives. With such skills, the individuals will be providing methods of peacebuilding, non-violent communication, working the peace story inter-religiously, and having conversations around that. Additionally, each evening of the conference for the final strand the Center will look at how to project peacebuilding through the arts. They have invited several different authors and artists to explore how narratives are used in peacebuilding through their works and the theatre of the oppressed. Though the Center for Dialogue and Conflict Transformation at LCC is rather new, Naomi surely has great plans for it to flourish.Some practical activities that the Center is doing right now are listening circles and public theology forums. Offering space for students to discuss and explore together their collective experiences of pain, to discuss what is worrying or hurting them. Similarly, if a student sees an issue in their community or culture, they are invited to share this at the Center but also students are encouraged to get involved in initiatives of raising awareness in the larger LCC community.Naomi completes the interview by describing why she loves LCC. “What I love about LCC is it is uniting many nations. While there sometimes is a lot of pain and frustration among the students, there is also a deep desire to understand and learn how to live with one another. I find that beautiful. Crossing boundaries and borders. I see it as a picture of the Kingdom of God, uniting all of us.”Photo credit: Sean Fast, Gallery of Stories closing event. Naomi Enns is on the left. Next to her is Moe Callahan, Katherine Handal, Dariya Ismailova

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Cross-Cultural Connections: Identities, Perspectives, and Peace through Art

2021-11-17

Monday, Nov. 22nd | 19:00 in the Kaminskiene HallJoin us for the closing event for the Gallery of Stories exhibit hosted by the Center for Dialogue and Conflict Transformation in collaboration with the Intercultural Education Office. The evening will be facilitated by Dr. Julia Reimer, Deborah Vanduin, and Naomi Enns. As a community, we will look at artistic interpretations and "how art fosters peace" by building cross-cultural bridges between individual identities. Together we will explore how mutually discovering stories through metaphors and perspectives behind the art opens up creative spaces and possibilities for knowing others. The winners will be announced at the end of the evening in the following cultural themes. When Two Worlds CollideComing HomeSpeaking UpHope for TomorrowLink to the Facebook event

Conference "Stories shaping peace"

March 16-19, 2022

Our opening conference will offer 3 strands of critical thinking on the theme of Narratives, the place of storytelling, and their role in healing and building a democratic society. By engaging holistically with our heads, hearts, and hands we will nurture our walk together towards peace.

  • Registration Fee Participants: 60€  (LCC Students — Free)
  • Certificate of Participation/Training: 10 €
  • Public Evening Events — Free

*COVID-19 Note: Presently the conference is planned to be fully on site and in person at LCC International University.

Event schedule > Event registration >

Featured guests

Dr. Fernando Enns

Prof. Dr. Fernando Enns holds a chair in (peace-) theology and ethics/ecumenical studies at Free University of Amsterdam/The Netherlands (where he is also director of the Amsterdam Center for Religion, Peace & Justice Studies) and has an endowed professorship "Theology of Peace Churches" at the University of Hamburg/Germany. Fernando Enns was born in Curitiba/Brazil and belongs to the Historic Peace Church of the Mennonites (ordained, vice-chair of the Association of Mennonite Congregations in Germany). He has been a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) since 1998."

Raffi Fegahli

A performer, peacebuilder and training consultant on Peacebuilding based in Beirut-Lebanon. His debut storytelling, biographical monodrama was launched in the Amsterdam Storytelling Festival in 2018. He currently tours with it alongside his other theatre and improv performances. As a peacebuilding consultant, practitioner, and trainer, Raffi has worked on projects in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, and Turkey in his 15-year career. A practitioner of Theatre of the Oppressed, Playback Theatre, and other related formats, Raffi uses project-based and experiential learning and as such has a holistic approach to learning. For him, learning doesn’t only happen at the cognitive level of the human’s existence, but through all of their aspects of existence.

Opportunities for Service

  • Volunteers
  • Internships
  • Partnerships

Email the Center Director for more information.