KWIC: 75 combined years of community engagement


2014 is a big year for the Peterborough community, as Trent celebrates 50 years of challenging the way we think, and the Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC) celebrates 25 years of engaging the Peterborough and Kawartha region’s communities in social and environmental issues at both global and local levels.

Wow! That’s 75 combined years for us to celebrate. That’s seven and a half decades of people coming together to share ideas and help shape a brighter future. As Trent’s festivities and celebrations continue to unravel throughout the year, it is important that we take a moment to acknowledge KWIC’s 25 years of hard work and accomplishments, as KWIC has been an important player in supporting our wonderful community in Peterborough and the Kawarthas.

Established in 1989 as a “Learner Centre,” KWIC became a ‘hub’ for social and environmental justice. With a house on Murray St, KWIC became easily accessible to community members from various walks of life. An inclusive and supportive space, KWIC’s Murray St house was truly a space where people could come together to address issues and plan a variety of events.

When the Canadian Partnership Branch of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) announced in 1995 that it would eliminate its Public Participation Programme (PPP) and cut all funding to 100 development education centres in Canada, KWIC had been struck hard. Losing 65% of its budget from the PPP, KWIC had to sell the house on Murray St. Trent came forward and offered to house KWIC, and built an office in the Environmental Science Building’s resource centre for the last remaining Global Education and Resource Centre in Ontario.

Despite the challenges of 1995, KWIC continues on as a charitable organization, as busy as ever, supporting a large number of community projects. Creating a space for dialogue and hosting a variety of workshops and activities, KWIC strives to bring people together for positive change at the global and local scale.

KWIC is known for a variety of education activities, such as its Seeds for Justice youth-led engagement program, which includes an annual spring conference, Global Youth Day and Facilitators Collective, and the KWIC World Issues Café discussion series.

As a charitable umbrella, KWIC has inspired and supported a wealth of Trent and community initiatives over the years, including: Peterborough Green-Up; Kawartha Food Share; SEEDS for Justice Youth Engagement Project; ReFrame Peterborough International Film Festival, Sustainable Trent, Trent Oxfam, and TRACKS Aboriginal Youth Outreach project, a collaboration with the Trent Indigenous Environmental Science program and surrounding First Nations.

As we take time in 2014 to celebrate the combined 75 years of accomplishment and community engagement of our beloved school and charitable organization, we should also look forward to the future endeavours and achievements of these two establishments, as there is so much to look forward to.

With KWIC’s mission to encourage positive social and environmental change, and Trent’s strong Environmental programs, it seems rather fitting that Trent Carbon Conversations and KWIC have collaborated with the David Sheperd Family, Indigenous Environmental Studies, Trent Oxfam, Sustainable Trent, and the First People’s House of Learning to bring a world-renowned author and environmental activist to speak in the Wenjack Theatre during this very special year.

Mark your calendars for Dr. Vandana Shiva’s “Sacred Seeds” lecture on November 16, 2014. Tickets are limited and available online at

To learn more about what KWIC does, or how you can get involved with KWIC, please visit; send an email to; or visit Room B101 in the Environmental Sciences Building on East Bank at Trent.

About Sara Desmarais 7 Articles
Pursuing a career in Environmental Law, Sara is studying Environment and Resource Studies (with an emphasis in Policy and Law), and is loving every minute of it. Sara first got involved with the Arthur covering Peterborough's hip and vibrant arts scene, and through these articles, has fallen in love with this city's welcoming community. A crazy cat lady, tea junky, Potterhead and Whovian, this tree-hugger is happiest frolicking in the woods--especially in Jackson Park and the LEC Drumlin. Sara is also a proud chocoholic, and Montreal bagel binge-eater, so if you want to get on her good side, come bearing gifts of fair-trade dark chocolate and those glorious "everything" Montreal bagels.