Menno Simons College celebrates its 20th anniversary

International development and conflict resolution studies draw students to the college

For the past 20 years, Menno Simmons College has been the home of some of the most established conflict resolution and international development programs in Canada. Cindy Titus

In 1989, Menno Simons College (MSC) had 13 students and two professors working on international development and conflict resolution studies. Now with more than 13 professors and 1,100 students, MSC is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Named after Menno Simons, the 16th-century Dutch church reformer whose followers were eventually known as Mennonites, the college was built to encourage faith, peace and justice learning.

MSC is technically a part of Canadian Mennonite University in affiliation with the University of Winnipeg. They operate out of 520 Portage Ave., across the street from the U of W’s main campus.

“MSC was started by Mennonite business people and academics who felt that the Mennonite community had something to provide to Winnipeg in terms of conflict resolution studies and international development issues,” said Ruth Taronno, associate vice-president of Menno Simons College.

Mennonites had a huge impact in settling southern Manitoba and continue to be a vital part of our province’s culture.

“The biggest role (of MSC) is to provide the expertise, teaching and research of our faculty in international development studies (IDS) and conflict resolution studies (CRS), but we also want to be linked to community,” Taronno said.

“We have a very strong practicum program, a lot of alumni working in the neighbourhood with IRCOM (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba) and the Spence Neighbourhood Association. We want to be a place where we can connect people in Winnipeg with social justice work that’s happening.”

MSC has an extended contribution to U of W that is far beyond the conflict resolution and international development degrees by themselves.

Richard Suderman, third-year MSC student

MSC has the largest conflict resolution program and one of the oldest international development programs in Canada. They’re home to the Canadian academic journal Peace Research and just hosted a national conference with the Global College.

“MSC has developed three-year, four-year and honours majors in IDS, and three-year and four-year majors in Conflict Resolution Studies,“ explained Jerry Buckland, a faculty member at MSC.

“These programs are offered by an excellent group of faculty based at MSC, and through area courses, through the University of Winnipeg,” he said. “We have substantial student interest in the program reflected in enrolment and number of majors. There is an extensive practicum program that sends students all around the world.”

Richard Suderman is a third-year student at CMU who studies at MSC. He notices the positive effects the college has on the U of W.

“I notice students choosing to take a few semesters of IDS and CRS as minors to psychology or law and other degrees because they want to add that exposure to their expertise,” he said.

“In this way MSC has an extended contribution to U of W that is far beyond the conflict resolution and international development degrees by themselves.”

To celebrate MSC’s milestone, a party was held at the West End Cultural Centre last Friday, Nov. 12.


Published in Volume 65, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 18, 2010)

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