Building a Culture of Peace in the GTA

Are you interested in:

  • Exploring the personal, familial and communal benefits of peacebuilding?
  • Applying peacebuilding into practice in your home, work or community?
  • Connecting with others who share your passion for peace?


Building a Culture of Peace in the GTA is an InterChange education and training programme that was initiated in September 2010 with the support of the Catherine Donnelly Foundation.  The programme connects facilitators able to offer peace-building workshops with communities who want to foster a culture of peace. The programme is aimed towards, amongst others, communities facing ongoing cycles of violence due to historic and current traumas, and systemic injustice. These include diaspora communities from conflict zones, women and youth.

This programme has focused on the concept of peace literacy, highlighting the idea that peace is not an abstract, unattainable dream but rather a way of looking at the world involving values, attitudes, concepts and skills that can be learned and put into practice.


We currently offer 20 workshops held within 4 major themes headings:

  • Peace literacy
  • Arts-based
  • Health and self-reflection
  • Interventions-based
Our introductory workshop Everyone can be a Peacebuilder is a creative and participatory introduction to InterChange, peacebuilding and peace literacy.  This workshop uses the metaphor of a picnic to explore our unique roles as peacebuilders and to help spread the Culture of Peace within personal and community settings.  For more information on the breadth of workshops that we offer, please see our Workshop Flyer.  Our workshops can be mixed and matched to suit your unique needs, interests and time availability.
  • Most of the workshops are about 2 ½ hours long so they can be offered over an evening or half a day.
  • The workshops can be customized and/or combined to create longer sessions for your community.
  • The workshops are designed for small and large groups of participants, from 15 to 50 people.
  • All workshops adhere to the Principles of InterChange.
We are also always open to collaborating with you to tailor-make a workshop.  If you have an idea for a peace-building workshop based on your community’s needs, do let us know and we will try our best to connect you with talented, passionate and experienced workshop facilitators who may be able to provide that workshop in your organization.


InterChange is a volunteer organization without ongoing funding or staff. Payment for workshop facilitators needs to come from funds we bring in. We see a combination of ways to do this:

  1. Participant fees:  The suggested fee per participant is $30, with some participants paying reduced fees and others being sponsored by others or by their organization;
  2. Organizational support:  If feasible, and if the participants are not in a position to pay fees, the organization can sponsor the workshop. We suggest a contribution of $350 – $500;
  3. Charitable donations: InterChange is a Canadian charity (Charitable Number:  887101053RR0001) and people can make tax-deductible donations to InterChange, either directly or online through the website,  Another option is to direct your United Way contribution to go to InterChange.


Peace Begins at Home

These workshops built upon previous InterChange efforts in the Somali diaspora community. Workshops were held in two schools: Kipling Collegiate (where the 5-workshop series was provided three times), and Lakeshore Collegiate (where it was provided twice). Both schools have significant diaspora communities, and in both there was considerable involvement of community agencies – Rexdale Women’s Centre in the case of Kipling C.I. and LAMP Community Health Centre in the case of Lakeshore C.I.

The programme created an opportunity for conversations between students who normally wouldn’t converse, especially the issues with girl-girl bullying and cyberbullying. The programme also engaged the parents; it reached out and invited them in. — Emily Harris, teacher at Lakeshore C.I.; former OISE student

Workshops held in the Community

A number of workshops are held in communities at the request of community groups. Working collaboratively, and using adult education principles, InterChange develops and customizes workshops to meet groups’ particular needs.  Some of our community partnerships have been formed with:

  • Scarborough Village Youth Service Provider’s Network
  • Centennial College
  • United Way of Greater Toronto’s Creative Institute for Toronto’s Young Leaders (CITY Leaders)
  • Accents on Eglinton, a unique bookstore which provides space for workshops, discussions, and events, with “accents” on a variety of communities


InterChange facilitators offer expert training within their specialized area of expertise.  While many of our facilitators come to us as independent specialists, some of our facilitators began as volunteers who have, overtime, developed a substantial area of knowledge and proficiency in a particular area of the InterChange themes.

While several students will continue as facilitators in the programme, others will take the workshops to their own communities and workplaces.

If you are interested in facilitating or co-facilitating a 3-hour long workshop that imparts peace-building ideas, skills, and methods, we invite you to fill out a Facilitator Application Form.  All workshops must adhere to the Principles of InterChange.

My experience facilitating the Everyone can be a Peacebuilder workshop helped me piece together ideas for my own workshop being prepared for the development of the Leadership Series at Innis College. — Aly Khan Hirji, Assistant Dean of Student Life at Innis College; alumni of OISE graduate studies


InterChange volunteers are a crucial part of the vitality of the organization.  Our workshop programmes offer opportunities for volunteers, interns and practicum students to be actively involved, and to even become facilitators.  Our volunteers range in a spectrum of ages, cultural backgrounds, and specialized fields and interests that help to support and promote the Principles of InterChange.

If you are interested in becoming an active member and/or volunteer with InterChange, we invite you to fill out a Membership/Volunteer Application Form.

Participating in the Building a Culture of Peace in the GTA workshop was truly a privilege. I was both humbled and inspired by peoples’ personal andprofessional stories and their determination to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of people they touch. — Bilijana Bruce, InterChange member and volunteer

If you are interested in accessing one or more of these workshops for your community members and clients, we would love to hear from you.  Please click on the link to access our most current Workshop Flyer for our current workshop opportunities.  You may put in a request for a particular workshop or group of workshops using our Workshop Request Form or contact us by email at to help us develop a curriculum of workshops for your particular organizational needs.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions about the Building a Culture of Peace in the GTA.  We look forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance for your support of InterChange and interest in our programmes!

My experience working with InterChange has been full of new and fantastic learning experiences. I was involved with InterChange as a student intern in the Winter semester of 2011 and worked in the Building a Culture of Peace in the GTA program. I found this program to be dynamic in so many ways. As an intern, I had the opportunity to gain hand-on experience in a variety of areas such as community outreach and partnership building, developing marketing publications and contributing to the organization?s cyber presence. Interning for this program has also given me an invaluable opportunity to become more knowledgeable about community-based work and learn about peacebuilding ideas, theories, skills and practice models. I believe that Building a Culture of Peace in the GTA program provides an excellent opportunity for students to learn how to use peacebuilding education for community-based social change.

— M. Fahim —