The PROFile – Dr. Lloyd Kornelsen

Graduate Program Chair, Peace and Conflict Studies

Dr. Lloyd Kornelsen’s first career was carpentry, which he practiced for a decade after high school. This year, he returned to that practice, built a sauna at the lake and found some interesting parallels between physical and intellectual labour.

“How I construct a sauna and the challenges in building something like that are not that different from constructing a paper,” Kornelsen says.

Kornelsen has been a scholar for 25 years, but he just completed his PhD three years ago.

“I have a short attention span, to be honest. I’ve done a whole lot of things in my life,” he says. 

“I was always interested in (the area of conflict resolution) because regardless of what I did in life, or what I chose to do for work, there happened to be situations around human conflict. And I sort of gravitated to that area.”

Kornelsen recently completed writing a book, Stories of Transformation: Memories of a Global Citizenship Practicum, that reflected on a course that took place in Costa Rica 11 years ago. 

“I think most everything that we learn, we learn through living life and in reflecting on it. And I think some of the greatest challenges we face in terms of understanding the way we relate to the world – and some people call that global citizenship – happen when we travel and we live with people from what we think is really far away.”

Kornelsen was recently appointed as graduate program chair for Peace and Conflict studies, and his advice to those considering graduate studies reflects the meandering and interconnected path he also took in his career. 

“The cynic in me says ‘make sure you get good grades in your undergrad degree,’” Kornelsen says. “The person who at age 57 doesn’t really quite know what he wants to do with his life says, ‘embrace life and go where you want to go and think many thoughts,’ because I think the opportunity to do grad studies will open up to you if you live your life with joy and goodness and thoughtfulness.”

Area of Research: Peace Education.

Number of peer-reviewed articles published: 17.

Lowest grade in university: B+ in History of Education in Canada.

What’s your superpower: Walking slowly.

What’s the best thing about your work: Teaching – being together with others, talking about things that matter to us all.

What’s the latest book you read: Finnish Lessons (How classroom teachers shape education policy in Finland)

What’s your favourite snack to grab on campus: An apple when I’m happy. A puffed wheat square when I’m sad.

Published in Volume 71, Number 5 of The Uniter (October 6, 2016)

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