Everyone wants peace,” says Guru Fatha Singh, U of T’s Sikh chaplain and founder of the university’s Peace Week, “there are just different ideas as to how to get there.”
To explore these ideas, Singh and a collective of concerned students held lectures, films, forums and concerts the week of November 5. Events took place on all three campuses, and ranged from a War Child benefit concert, to a yoga and meditation workshop, to a photo exhibition by Global Aware. Two of this year’s speakers were physicist, humanitarian and U of T professor emeritus Ursula Franklin and Christian Peacemaker and former Iraq hostage James Loney. Both asked audiences to put their minds and imaginations to some big questions: What if we decided that war was not an ethical option? What if our concept of security were to be totally reimagined? How different a world could we create?
Peace Week began as Peace Day in 2002. Singh recalls: “I saw the ridiculous buildup to war in Iraq and I thought, ‘What can we do?’” The collective soon realized a day was not enough and, in 2003, launched Peace Week. This year’s attendance numbers were the highest yet, with nearly 400 people attending the opening multifaith prayer evening.