Sat Aug 13, 2016
9:00 am - 3:00 pm

arts, forgiveness, imagination, peace, theatre

When watching the nightly news it is difficult not to despair at the toxic global violence, and the seemingly impossible task of addressing root causes. Violence has been described as ‘…the behavior of someone incapable of imagining other solutions to the problem at hand.’ (Fisas in Lederach, 2009).  As image-bearers of the Creator God we have the capacity and calling to search for creative solutions that move out of a cycle of violence and into a cycle of healing.  Peace-practitioner John Paul Lederach calls us to use our God-given gift of ‘Moral Imagination’.  His basic tenet is that overcoming violence requires imagination, which translates into creative acts.  This course will explore how communities that have been through violent conflict use arts-based strategies (focusing on theatre) to move toward healing and reconciliation and ultimately to peacebuilding.  Case studies from 3 African contexts (northern Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe) will be used to analyze artistic approaches and related concepts of forgiveness, identity, hope, and resilience.  Participants will be encouraged to apply the concepts to their own contexts.

Presenter: Laurel Borisenko

Laurel Borisenko has spent more than a decade working in humanitarian aid and complex emergencies around the world. She has held senior management roles in a variety of faith-based international NGOs and she has worked with UN agencies, in the areas of emergency relief, refugee protection, as well as peacebuilding. In addition to her work in West Africa with Mennonite Central Committee, Laurel brings first-hand knowledge of this topic through her field-based PhD research, spanning five years.


Please call us at 250-754-3254 or send us an email to to register. Cost of the workshop is $50 and includes lunch.


  1. ‘Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws’: Community Response to Harare Theatre as a Tool of Peace Building’. In Post-Conflict Performance, Film and Visual Arts: Cities of Memory, 2016.
  2. ‘The Collapsible Space Between Us’: Refugee Theatre as a Tool of Resilience in Kenya, Canadian Journal for Peace and Conflict Studies, Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, pending publication in 2016.

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