Thank you for visiting this page and considering the opportunity to support the important work that IRPJ seeks to carry out on behalf of the vulnerable, marginalized, and voiceless in our divided world. IRPJ operates solely on tuition and donations from generous and encouraging supporters just like you. If you would like to give a regular donation,
If you want to instead help specifically to defray the cost of tuition for our students, our campaign to create the Jim Forest Scholarship and Bursary Fund appears below. Thanks you for your support!
the jim forest scholarship and bursary fund
The Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice is embarking on a fundraising campaign to establish the Jim Forest Scholarship and Bursary Fund as a way to remove the barrier of the cost of tuition for students who want to enrol in our Certificate in Religion, Peace and Justice beginning in the Fall 2019 semester. This fund is named after the Orthodox Christian writer, lay theologian, educator, and peace activist, Jim Forest, whose important contributions to the world of nonviolence and peacemaking span many decades. To learn more about his rich experience and inspiring legacy, click here and here.
Our goal for the fund is an annual commitment from donors of a total of $25,000. All funds that we raise in this campaign will go directly to helping our students. And although IRPJ will distribute the funds based on enrolment numbers and the circumstances of our students, it is anticipated that this fund will help support the education and training of 34 students from various peacemaking backgrounds, experiences, vocations, and settings.
To initiate the fundraising process to establish this fund, the Orthodox Peace Fellowship has very generously agreed to an annual donation of $2,000. This leaves $23,000 left to raise each year.
The total funds will be divided uniquely each year depending on the composition of student demand into both scholarships that will be distributed based on academic and practice-based merit and potential and bursaries based on financial need. These will be further divided into matching, partial, and 85% scholarships and bursaries.
The breakdown of the fund is anticipated to be as follows:
1.) Matching Scholarships and Bursaries for regular credit students who work for a peace and development organization or church:
10 x $1,500 = $15,000 (or $30,000 with matching amount)
Awarded to students who work for a peace and development organization or are a pastor or priest of a congregation or parish and whose organization or church can match IRPJ’s $1,500 bursary / scholarship, bringing the total up to $3,000 per student.
2.) Partial Scholarships and Bursaries for regular credit students:
10 x $1,000 = $10,000
Awarded primarily to students who have a desire to pursue further studies in peace and conflict studies, international studies, interreligious peacebuilding, peace theology, religious studies, or a related field;
Awarded primarily to peace and development workers or clergy whose organization cannot match the amount of the IRPJ scholarship / bursary;
3.) 85% Scholarships and Bursaries for regular credit students (added once we reach our goal):
7 x $5,814 ($6,840 x 85% : credit) = $40,698
7 x $1,402.50 ($1,650 x 85% : audit) = $9,817.50
Once we reach the $12,500 fundraising mark, IRPJ will agree to add three 85% scholarships and/or bursaries for students, prioritizing peace and development organization workers and/or church clergy who wish to complete the Certificate for credit and three 85% scholarships and/or bursaries for those who wish to audit the Certificate.
Once we reach our fundraising goal of $25,000, IRPJ will add four additional 85% scholarships / bursaries (i.e., a total of seven) for students, prioritizing peace and development organization workers and/or church clergy who wish to complete the Certificate for credit and four additional 85% scholarships / bursaries (i.e., a total of seven) for those who wish to audit the Certificate.
This means that the $23,000 we raise to reach our goal toward establish this scholarship and bursary fund will remove a total financial barrier for students of $90,515 — a tremendous value!
As an additional opportunity for donors, although the fund as a whole is named after Jim Forest due to his close and ongoing connection to the Orthodox Peace Fellowship that has initiated the funding, if a donor gives in an amount equal to one or more scholarships or bursaries, they have the unique option of electing to name these scholarships or bursaries after themselves or in memory of a loved one.
Finally, as a way to catch a glimpse into the student experience that this scholarship and bursary fund will encourage and help to create for a greater number of students in the 2019/20 academic year, here are a number of student testimonials from our first semester of operations:
"It's hard for me to put into words the personal transformation that I have undergone in such a short period of time. I initially wanted to take university courses just to keep my mind challenged, as I am now retired. I wanted to take online theology courses just purely out of interest and convenience. Through haphazard circumstances or divine intervention, I found this program online. I have evolved from pure knowledge-based needs to restoring a spiritual relationship with God and Jesus Christ. But the best part are the internal effects this program has had on me. I have taken what I have learned and applied it to my daily life and seem to have developed much more tolerance in those areas that I have conflicting views (i.e., politics). I am a Canadian who now resides in the USA. I had become very angry and fearful at the political and social aggressiveness that seemed pervasive in this country. Now I am much more understanding and patient of the current situation. I have developed skills that help me so much with my personal relationships with my family and very close friends. As I continue with the program, I know I will continue to evolve as a more spiritual and better person, maybe to the point where I can apply the various tools that I have learned to the greater community." —Michelle Martin (graduate student)
"This Certificate program is urging me to dive deeper into my own spiritual practices. I am learning how to weave my passion for justice and peace with a robust theology. The online learning platform is intuitive and interactive. It is the best experience of distance learning I have participated in, mostly because the content is just so rich." —Justin Eisinga (graduate student)
"I’m so happy ... surprisingly happy to be studying again! IRPJ and St. Stephen's University made it easy for me to jump back in after 30 years away from textbooks and exams. I love the course content, the push to dig deeper in the reading material, and the challenge to write academically. I just wish I could clear my schedule so I could study all day!" —Evy Klassen (graduate student)
"Although I am only just over a month into the IRPJ program, I am already gaining more confidence in moving forward into peace and justice work. The teachings from Andrew Klager and Brad Jersak along with the variety of course materials (from readings, videos, and exceptional guest lecturers) are establishing a firm foundation upon which to build a peacemaking lifestyle and vocation." —Deborah Coutts-Smith (graduate student)
"The Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice at St Stephen’s University is something I have been looking for for a very long time. In this first half of the first semester I have found it to intersect precisely with my personal interests, the need for this material in the church and world today, and the level of professional expertise and challenge I expect from a graduate level course. The two instructors bring a rich variety of knowledge and personal experience of the peacemaking process to the table, and the guest lecturers have been carefully chosen to enrich the experience. This Certificate program has helped turn my personal focus in a direction I have greatly needed! Thank you." —Peter Bell (graduate student)
“The program is excellent! It has the flexibility for people like me living on the other side of the globe. … It simply is wonderful!” —Jonathan Soriano (graduate student)
We hope you will join us to help more new students in the 2019/20 academic year have similar experiences!
To donate, please choose the amount you would like to give below and follow the prompts.
If you wish to donate to this fund later for whatever reason, please contact me to let me know the amount you wish to give at a future date. If you wish to break up your annual donation into monthly instalments rather than give it all as one lump, that also exits as an option below.
If you have questions for me, please don’t hesitate to ask. Or if you would prefer to speak directly with me about this opportunity before you choose to give, feel free to set up a meeting or phone conversation with me. I’d be happy to speak with you directly!
Andrew P. Klager, PhD
Director – Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice
All donations are in Canadian dollars. Official tax receipts will be sent out to donors in February. Donors can pay via credit card through PayPal without needing to create a new PayPal account by clicking "continue" after the line, "Use your credit card or bank account (where available)" on the redirected PayPal page.