Peace, Pluralism and Gender Equality with Alice Wairimu Nderitu (2017/18)

February 17, 2018 - March 3, 2018

In 2018, SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue honouree, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, hosted a series of community-engaged events that highlighted and built upon the concepts of women in leadership and peacebuilding, multiculturalism and education in conflict prevention, and prevention of human rights violations and genocide. 

Alice’s visit was timely and relevant given Canada’s focus on women, peace and security agenda at the time. Alice's programming successfully engaged a diverse audience from the public, private and community sectors, including private meetings with the senior government leaders to discuss Canada’s role in supporting women on the ground in conflicts. Alice and SFU's Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue staff was also formally recognized by the Speaker of the Senate at the Senate Chamber.

About Alice

Alice Wairimu Nderitu is a global leader in the use of dialogue for armed conflict mediation and genocide prevention. Her track record includes mediating between national political leaders at the highest level and successfully intervening with affected communities in complex conflict zones.

As an appointed Commissioner of Kenya’s National Cohesion and Integration Commission, Nderitu successfully helped to mediate between ten ethnic communities in the Rift Valley to prevent a repeat of the country’s 2007-2008 election violence, which had previously resulted in an estimated 1,500 deaths, 3,000 rapes and 650,000 displaced persons.

Nderitu also served as a founder and co-chairperson of the Uwiano Platform for Peace, a conflict prevention agency that was pivotal in ensuring peaceful processes during Kenya’s 2010 Constitutional referendum and 2013 elections. She has since authored Kenya’s only curricular training manual for teachers on the topic of inclusion and conflict prevention.

As the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue’s Senior Advisor and Lead Mediator in Nigeria, and in response to thousands of deaths in the Middle Belt region, Nderitu oversaw the creation of the groundbreaking 2016 Kafanchan Peace Declaration and the 2017 Southern Plateau Peace Declaration, each requiring agreement among dozens of ethnic communities.

Nderitu’s approach acknowledges the importance of Elders and traditional community assets, while also insisting on the inclusion of women and other voices missing from the peacebuilding tables she convenes. Through the presentation of the Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue, Simon Fraser University pays tribute both to her global contributions to the field of dialogue, and to her steadfast and active commitment to human rights, genocide prevention, pluralism and gender equality.

Alice holds a Masters degree in Armed Conflict and Peace Studies from the University of Nairobi and is currently the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide at the United Nations.

For additional info please see The Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation for full biography and profile.


February 20, 2018
Award ceremony (SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue)
The biennial Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue ceremony took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on February 20, 2018, with remarks by Andrew Petter, President of Simon Fraser University. The board of directors of the university; Ann Giardini, Chancellor of SFU; the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, former Prime Minister of Canada; as well as distinguished guests were present.

February 21, 2018
Building Peace and Well-Being Through Education (SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue) 
Presented in partnership with the Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education, this event explored issues surrounding Alice’s peacebuilding work—ethnicity, identity, the power of storytelling and the role of education in building strong pluralistic values and well-being.

Semester in Dialogue Class Visit (SFU Vancouver)
Alice visited the Spring 2018 cohort of Semester in Dialogue students and discussed the complexity of working in an armed conflict environment.

February 22, 2018
Women, Peace and Conflict Prevention (SFU Surrey)
Alice hosted an intimate group workshop and dialogue with 24 local women with lived experience of armed conflict. This workshop was convened in partnership with Atira Women’s Resource Society, Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture and Surrey Local Immigration Partnership.

February 27, 2018
Book Launch (Ottawa)
In partnership with the Global Centre for Pluralism, this event focused on Alice’s newly published book Bridging ethnic divides and building peace: Lessons from Kenya’s Experience and engaged over 60 academics and civil society individuals/groups. The event explored the lessons that can be learned from Kenya’s experience to inform other conflict-afflicted countries grappling with the challenges of conflict mediation, reconciliation and post-conflict institutional reform.

Parliament Reception (Ottawa)
This invitational reception was hosted in partnership with Senator Yuen Pau Woo and engaged over 30 parliamentarians and senators and many civil society organizations.

February 28, 2018
Global Affairs Canada Officer’s Event (Ottawa)
Alice spoke to Global Affairs Canada employees about gender aspects of peace processes and mediation, genocide and mass atrocity prevention, and election violence prevention and early warning. This event was chaired by Annik Res Lussier, Deputy Director, Women, Peace and Security and was proceeded by a meeting with Larisa Galadza, Director General of Peace & Stabilization Operations Program.

March 1, 2018
Ottawa Experts Roundtable (Ottawa)
This roundtable convened more than 30 national and international experts to generate ideas on how to support and protect the capacity of women in conflict and genocide prevention. This roundtable was convened in partnership with Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies and the Women Peace and Security Network – Canada, under the patronage of both the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and other Crimes against Humanity as well as the Raoul Wallenberg All-Party Parliamentary Caucus for Human Rights. 

March 8, 2018
Equitas Reception “A Woman’s Journey for Human Rights” (Toronto)
SFU partnered with Equitas, Canada’s most active and recognized human rights organization, to feature Alice at the Equitas’ Annual Reception on International Women’s Day. The conversation was moderated by Lloyd Robertson, Host and Chief Correspondent of CTV on the 54th floor of the Toronto TD Tower.

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The Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue is presented to an individual who exemplifies, internationally, the spirit and programs of SFU's Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. Recipients of the award have demonstrated excellence and accomplishments in using dialogue to further complex issues of public importance.