Media & Culture of Peace (2000-2001)

Project Team

Seddiq Weera,

Project Leader

Seddiq Weera was born and raised in Afghanistan where he studied in the Faculty of Medicine, Kabul University (graduated in 1983) and practiced as a physician. Seddiq was imprisoned by the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul three times between 1978 and 1984 for a total of about five years. As a refugee in Pakistan between 1988 and 1991, besides working as a general practitioner, Seddiq assisted the Ministry of Public Health, Afghan Interim Government in developing Provincial Public Health Plans and establishing provincial public health offices in Afghanistan. He gained his first research experience by conducting and leading province-wide public health surveys in 1989 and 1990. After immigrating to Canada in 1991, Seddiq pursued his interest in population well-being by completing a Master's degree in medical and health research and continuing his (off-and-on) work toward a PhD degree in the same field. His research interest has ranged from physical disabilities to micronutrient malnutrition and emotional health. Seddiq’s recent interest is in examining the impact of "psychosocial education" on interpersonal and perhaps inter-group relationships. The hypotheses identified for testing include: 1) Psychosocial education reduces unnecessary emotional suffering and unnecessary relationship problems (interpersonal conflict prevention and peace-building), 2) Given that many armed conflicts are unnecessary inter-group problems, psychosocial education should reduce and prevent inter-group conflicts. Seddiq’s passion for the rights of the Afghan people to peacefully and freely elect their government and his antagonism to dictatorship, violence, corruption and injustice has inspired him to continue his struggle for peace and social justice to this date. Presently, Seddiq is leading a peace education project in Afghanistan under the auspices of the Center for Peace Studies, McMaster University in Canada. He is the founding co-chair of the Canadian Landmine Research Network and the Canadian Coalition for Afghan Peace and Development.

Graeme MacQueen,


Graeme MacQueen is a member of the Religious Studies Department at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where he is currently Associate Professor. His academic specialization is Buddhist Studies, in which he received his doctorate from Harvard University.

 In 1989 Graeme helped found McMaster’s Centre for Peace Studies, of which he became director from 1989 until 1996.  He was also a founder and co-director of the Centre's War and Health programme committee and was co-director of the three year Health of Children in War Zones project funded by Health Canada. The project was active in three war zones. He is currently co-director of the project Media and Peace Education in Afghanistan funded by the Canadian International Development Agency. With colleagues, he has expressed some of the principles utilized in the war and health work of the Centre for Peace Studies in Peace and Change (1997), British Medical Journal (1998), Medical Crossfire (2000) and The Lancet (2001).

Graeme has been active in organizations committed to peace and human rights for many years and has at various times at various times chaired the Hamilton Disarmament Coalition, the Board of Directors of Peace Magazine, and the National Coordinating Committee of Peace Brigades International (Canada). He is also a committed teacher and has been awarded a teaching award for his undergraduate course, Theory and Practice of Nonviolence.

Joanna Santa-Barbara

Joanna Santa Barbara is a child and family psychiatrist in Hamilton and a scholar at the Centre for Peace Studies, McMaster University, where she has taught Introductory Peace Studies. She has been a member of Physicians for Global Survival since 1982, and a past president of that organization. She has been actively involved in International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, serving as a board member and a vice-president. She was part of delegations of IPPNW affiliates to NATO in Brussels in June 1999 and June 2000. She is a member of the Advisory Board of Science for Peace. Besides ongoing work on the abolition of Nuclear weapons, other recent and current projects include one on trauma healing and reconciliation with war-affected children in Croatia, non-violence and respect for diversity in high-school youth, media violence, and using health as a bridge to peace.

Jack Santa-Barbara

Jack Santa-Barbara's current focus is on bringing the concepts and tools of ecological sustainability to the effective operation of public and private sector organizations. A 25+ year record of founding and operating successful businesses (1997 Recipient of the Financial Post’s ‘50 Best Managed private Companies’), and a long-time interest in ecological economics, has led to this focus. Jack recently chose to step down from the CEO position of the company he founded, CHC-Working Well, which he grew to be the largest behavioural health company in Canada, following its sale to Magellan Behavioural Health. CHC served many of Canada's largest corporations and private sector organizations, as well as hundreds of smaller organizations in every sector of the economy across the country. Jack is interested in applying his business experiences, and commitment to principles of ecological sustainability, to bridging the gap between the business and environmental communities. He has also held faculty positions at both McMaster University and the University of Toronto, where he both taught and managed large-scale research projects. He was the Founding President of the Canadian Evaluation Society, which brings together academics, the consulting community and government officials. His formal training (PhD, McMaster University, 1971) is in Experimental Social Psychology. He is currently on the Board of Directors of ACTION 2020, a community group dedicated to making Hamilton a " Sustainable City." Jack has also had a long-standing interest in peace issues, and has been an active supporter of McMaster University's Centre for Peace Studies. Recently he was invited to be a member of TRANDSCEND: A PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT NETWORK founded by Johan Galtung. For the past two years Jack has organized a Peace Journalism Workshop conducted by Professor Galtung, and in 2001 was part of the McMaster team, which conducted conflict transformation and related workshops for Afghans living in Peshewar, Pakistan.  

Kevin & Mary-Jo Land

Kevin and Mary-Jo are very pleased to be working on this peace project together. Mary-Jo is a Child Psychotherapist and Play Therapist working in private practice in Hamilton Ontario. Kevin is a playwright and author of 16 plays many of which have been produced professionally in Canada and the U.K. Other coolaborative projects for Kevin and Mary-Jo include ten years of therapeutic foster parenting, writing and producing Miss Beggotten (a play about an incest survivor) and raising their four children in Dundas, Ontario.  

Alison Roberts Miculan

Alison Roberts Miculan is the newest member of the Afghanistan Project. Alison has a Master’s degree in Philosophy and is currently completing her Ph.D. in Religious Studies at McMaster University. Her main area of research interest is in the connection between ethics and metaphysics, which has led to her investigation of global ethical issues such as environmental ethics and the ethics of war and peace. Alison is very interested in pursuing the contributions which philosophy can make to understanding and dealing with world problems.