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Achievements of approximately 670 future justice and public safety leaders recognized

The Justice Institute of British Columbia (ý) recognized the achievements of approximately 670 graduates at its convocation ceremony held on June 13 at its New Westminster campus.

“The work of justice and public safety professionals has never been more important or in demand,” said Colleen Vaughan, ý Interim President and CEO. “Whether you’re at the beginning or the middle of your working lives, by choosing these professions, you’re truly on your way to making a career out of making a difference.”

Woman speaking at podium.
ý Interim President and CEO Colleen Vaughan addresses the 2024 graduating class.

Conflict management expert honoured

The ceremony also saw an honorary degree conferred on conflict management expert Bridget Brownlow, an alumnus from ý and its Centre for Conflict Resolution. Brownlow’s work has included connecting former combatants and their descendants in Northern Ireland, facilitating insight into the root causes of social injustice and conflict.

She spoke to the graduating class of her conclusion, after 30 years of working in conflict management, of the need to teach conflict resolution skills to people at the earliest stages of their lives to slow the never-ending cycle of violence and war.   

Two women in academic regalia hold framed certificate standing next to a podium while three women look on smiling.
ý Board Chair Maria Preovolos and Dr. Bridget Brownlow hold up the certificate at the conclusion of the latter's honorary degree ceremony.

“I ask you to reflect on the true value of an education system that does not include teaching people how to effectively communicate, how to effectively negotiate with integrity and goodwill, how to manage emotions, or how to address conflicts in a peaceful and respectful manner,” Brownlow said. “We need to break the cycle. We need to begin by ‘teaching peace’ to toddlers.”

Brownlow noted that while the knowledge and skills of ý graduates are “desperately needed in this world,” there is no need for them to shoulder all the world’s worries.

“We must not allow ourselves to be distracted by the enormity of the world’s problems. We can simply focus on sharing our knowledge, skills, hope, strength and experiences with those most in need.”

Woman in academic regalia speaks at podium to graduating students.
Dr. Bridget Brownlow speaks to the graduating class at ý's 2024 convocation ceremony.

Student speakers inspire grads

Percival Monteiro, graduating with a Bachelor of Law Enforcement Studies, spoke on behalf of the graduating class at the morning ceremony. He believes that the small class sizes at ý were extremely beneficial, not only in engaging with and learning from instructors and their experiences in the field, but also in creating lasting friendships.

Man wearing glasses in blue graduation gown speaks at podium.
Student Speaker Percival Monteiro speaks to the 2024 graduating class at the morning convocation ceremony at ý's New Westminster campus.

“We’ve all learned so much during our time here, whether that be our specific areas of study, communication skills, time management or just simply being resilient,” Monteiro said. “We must believe in ourselves and trust that we have the knowledge and experience to obtain our dream jobs in our fields.”

Maia Sanchez, graduating with a Certificate in Primary Care Paramedicine, spoke on behalf of the graduating class at the afternoon ceremony. She spoke of the need for humility when approaching lifelong learning.

“Committing to a practice of lifelong learning means that we are humble enough to accept there are many things we have yet to learn ... Being wrong is the best teacher I’ve ever had,” she said. “Embrace it and learn from it. Even a master learns from a student.”

Woman wearing blue ý graduation gown speaks at podium.
Student Speaker Maia Sanchez addresses the graduating class at the afternoon convocation ceremony at ý's New Westminster campus.

Sanchez reflected on her previous experience as a nurse in the U.S. Navy when she was taught the importance of putting aside her own emotions and fears to deal with a medical emergency in front of her. 

“As we move out into the real world, outside of the simulations and protected testing environments, things are scary sometimes. You can’t tell the scene to be quiet so you can think clearly. The sirens are loud, the cries are real, the trauma is real,” Sanchez said.

In situations like these, “take with you your honour, your courage, and your humility. When you are unsure, or scared, or losing your footing, trust your teammates, trust yourself, take off your hat and fall back on your training.”

ý graduates in blue gowns leave the convocation ceremony.
ý graduates leave the gym after the afternoon convocation ceremony at New Westminster campus.


ABOUT JUSTICE INSTITUTE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA 

ý is a public, post-secondary institution focused on justice and public safety professionals at all stages of their careers in fields including law enforcement, firefighting, paramedicine, security and emergency management. Complementing these programs, the Institute provides instruction in related areas such as conflict resolution, mediation, leadership and counselling, offers graduate studies in cybersecurity,business intelligence, and tactical criminal analysis, and conducts applied research in the justice and public safety fields.