Summer Institute for Peace in Civil Society (SI4PiCS)

Welcome to the first Summer Institute for Peace in Civil Society at Brock University (Hamilton campus), 2018!

July 18 to 19, 2018

This year we focus on juveniles (12-17), youth (18-30) and gangs. Why start with this focus? As human civilization faces unprecedented dangers of its making, we begin with the recognition that ‘our youth are our future’. Government responses to youth gangs around the world centre on short-term militaristic tactics based on fear, hatred and misrepresentation. The result has been a blaming of youth for violence but this perspective avoids basic acknowledgment that the expansion and deepening of gang culture among youth is spurred by the ‘structural’ violence of fear mongering by politicians, repressive tactics of police, over-use of incarceration and intensifying exclusion of already marginalized youth.

Given this alternative view, the Institute begins from the premise that youth gangs are a rational response to irrational and traumatic conditions arising from youth-hating ideologies and the coincidence or design of public policy. Aggressive laws and law enforcement, poverty by policy, colonialism, homophobia, racism, sexism and the school to prison pipeline are among the sites which generate the conditions to which youths respond to the failings of civil society, policy makers and their elders. Civil society organizations, engagement of representative politics, schools and detention centres are also sites at which we can begin to demonstrate to youth the caring and peaceful measures we want them to emulate.

Please note that this web page will be updated regularly with new and exciting information regarding the 2018 Summer Institute.


Brock University Hamilton campus

1842 King St E, Hamilton, ON L8K 1V7


Dr. Tamari Kitossa, Brock University


Dr. Erica Lawson, University of Western Ontario

Dr. Maria Suescun Pozas, Brock University

Mr. Louis March, Zero Gun Violence Movement

Dr. Jean Ntakirutimana, Brock University


BSIG, Brock University

Social Justice Research Institute

Ward 3 Councillor Green Community Grant Program, City of Hamilton

University of North Carolina Wilmington, Office of International Programs

The Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora

Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Brock University

Brock University Faculty Association (BUFA)

Sociology Department, Brock University

Political Science, Brock University

History, Brock University

MA in Critical Sociology, Brock University

MA in Social Justice and Equity Studies, Brock University

Women’s and Gender Studies, Brock University


Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion

Afro Canadian Caribbean Association

Seedling for Change in Society and Environment

In appreciation:

Brock University, University Marketing and Communications

Brock University, Print Services

Brock University, Faculty of Education

Brock University, Student Life and Community Experience

Brock Radio CFBU 103.7FM

Brock University, Parking Services

“Non-violence…struggl[es] to secure moral ends through moral means…”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.: London, December 7, 1964

About SI4PiCS

  • It is the result of consultation and community-researcher engagement, November 2017.
  • Be a meeting and collaborative space for citizens, communities of practice and researchers (hereafter, ‘stakeholders’) from local, national and international spaces to explore peaceful measures to conflicts and suffering in civil society
  • Be a space for stakeholders to identify, think about, promote and explore:
    • theories and practices of non-violence and
    • alternatives to the violence of routine public policy responses to social problems
  • Facilitate an innovative gathering of local, national and international communities of practice, citizens and researchers committed to prison abolition, conflict resolution and peace-building capacity in civil society
  • Mobilize knowledge to strengthen the achievement of peace through the respect and protection of individual, group and collective sovereignty
  • Promote strategies for sharing program assessment

The SIPCS is one outcome of a November 2017 initiative lead by Dr. Tamari Kitossa to establish an ongoing conversation respecting Community-Researcher Alliance for Prison Abolition, Conflict Resolution and Peace-Building in Civil Society. This event was funded by the Social Justice Research Institute, Sociology Department and MA in Social Justice, all at Brock University.

2018 Institute Framework

The first day of the Summer Institute focuses on strategies, practices and policies for youth gang demobilization. Workshop topics may include and are not limited to: disarmament and demobilization; gang classification and its problems and limits; half-way housing and supporting ex-gang members; prisons and gang entrenchment; the role for religion in gang exit; community courts and conflict resolution.

The second day focuses on initiatives that facilitate autonomy and competence for the exit of gang members and their inclusion and reintegration towards restorative community relations. Workshop topics may include and are not limited to: cooperative economic enterprises; individual and community trauma recovery therapy; occupational skills training and development; education initiatives that enhance and reinforce collaboration and conflict resolution; gang truces and community engagement; women girls and gangs.

Workshop leaders geographical profile:

  • International workshop leaders from El Salvador, Liberia and New Zealand
  • National workshop leaders from Saskatchewan
  • Local and regional workshop leaders from southern Ontario


  • The Summer Institute will encourage communities of practice and researchers to promote the development and awareness for responsibility through a non-deficit approach that will identify the capacities, competencies and talents of youths and effective strategies for gang demobilization
  • The event is a police-free zone event

Workshop leader competencies:

  • Peace huts
  • Gang exit and demobilization
  • Halfway housing
  • Social enterprises and skills training and development
  • Gang exit skills development and social enterprises
  • Health and sexuality
  • Gender and women’s rights
  • Lived experience of gang life
  • Education
  • Counselling and therapy