CJPME Campus Chapters

CJPME – Campus Group Guidebook

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Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a growing organization which is having a real impact on how Canadians approach the Middle East – especially on the question of Israel-Palestine.  CJPME has had several local groups across Canada for years, and wants to help establish more centres of local activism. As CJPME is constantly looking for more members or participants, you can be a part of a dynamic, unique and cutting edge Canadian organization. This document has been developed to help you understand what it means and what it entails to lead a CJPME campus group. 

Individuals intending to start a CJPME Chapter should be comfortable with the CJPME mission statement, values and policy pillars. Those leading the creation of a campus group will be briefed on the significance and implications of these principles. As you continue reading, the document will provide all the needed information regarding the fundamentals you must know before embarking on this great experience.

Jump to different sections: 

Section 1 - Introducing CJPME

Section 2 - Why start a Campus CJPME?

Section 3 - Creating and running a student group

Section 4 - Planning and organizing projects and events

Key documents

 

SECTION 1 – Introducing CJPME

In launching a CJPME group, you plug into a rich tradition of fact-based policy and activism directed specifically at Canadian audiences and policy-makers.  You are part of a broad organization which speaks with a unified voice on a broad variety of Middle East issues.  Because you are part of a pan-Canadian organization, launching a Chapter of CJPME implies that you are aligned with CJPME’s approach to advocacy and activism.  Fundamentally, this approach is underpinned by three things – our mission statement, our values, and our policy pillars – which are as follows.

CJPME Mission Statement:
To empower Canadians of all backgrounds to promote justice, development and peace in the Middle East, and here at home in Canada.

CJPME Values:
Welcoming to all; Secular; Empowering people; Grassroots based; Action oriented; Excellence in everything; Pro-active; Professional; Developing leadership; Resourceful; Informed; Non-partisan.

CJPME Policy Pillars:

  1. Support for international law
  2. Equal expectations for all parties
  3. A belief that violence is not a solution

We believe that CJPME stands apart for some of the following reasons:

  • We are active: CJPME is a busy organization that gets things done.  We are known for action.
  • We do both grassroots and policy: CJPME may be the only truly grassroots organization which also has a policy arm, with concrete proposals for Canadian Middle East policy.  CJPME’s strong grassroots presence amplifies the impact of its policy proposals.
  • We create Tools for the layperson: Because of its mission to “empower” people, CJPME develops tools to make it easier for everyone to have an impact on our issues.  The Media Centre, Boycott Centre and Advocacy tools are examples of these efforts to empower.
  • We are present across Canada: CJPME was founded with a vision to see Canadian Middle East policy be balanced and humane.  To enable this vision, CJPME must be present, active and visible (i.e. speaking to policy-makers) across the entire country. 
  • We are professional: CJPME is conceived to have a high standard of professionalism and accountability.  Initiatives that are launched are done so professionally, credibly, and strategically.

SECTION 2 – Why Start a Campus CJPME?

If you’re a university student, YOU can make a difference. Envision you and your friends organizing events promoting international law and human rights! CJPME offers students at universities across Canada the opportunity to enhance their expertise and gain concrete experience through community-driven projects to change Canada’s international positions on the Middle East.

University is a great time to be involved in social causes. The skills you will acquire as a campus CJPME leader will follow you throughout your professional career (experience, leadership, teamwork, etc.):

  • You build real world skills, and gain experiences that you can list on your CV/resumé: See Section 4 below for examples of possible activities, events, projects and campaigns.
  • You’ll develop leadership skills: Each student group can lead one or more projects or events in keeping with its student members’ specific concerns, and CJPME’s broader strategies.  CJPME’s national leadership also incorporates competent leaders and contributors from the local level.
  • You’ll get exposed to the administration of events and campaigns: You will learn how to balance the different constraints – time, people, money – to yield the most concrete results for yourself, the broader organization, and for the cause overall. 
  • You’ll get in touch with your own passions, as you’re involved in different initiatives:  You will learn about yourself, your personal drive, your professional capabilities, your strengths and your weaknesses, and also learn about teamwork.

How do Campus Groups benefit through affiliation with CJPME?

  • You and your group gain a larger platform through your association with CJPME.  The efforts of the national organization can amplify the local initiatives.  This can apply in many different scenarios:
    • After years of doing events and campaigns across Canada, CJPME has a contact list of over 100,000.  
    • CJPME already has a Facebook page with over 16,000 Canadian followers, local Facebook groups for all Canadian cities; and a Twitter account with thousands of Canadian followers.
    • CJPME has a professional Website with hundreds of factsheets, position papers, opinion pieces, and other publications for much more visibility and audience.
    • CJPME has a reputation for professional and successful events, projects, petitions, policy initiatives, and other campaigns
  • Campus groups can easily jump on board existing campaigns and projects already launched by CJPME.  In addition to having their own activities, campus groups can be part of nationally organized campaigns, like social media campaigns, petitions, emailing campaigns, photo expositions, speaker tours, and more.
  • Campus groups acquire an organizational foundation.  The national organization provides strong organizational “infrastructure” for the local organization (ability to accept donations, our Website, organizational email accounts, social media groups, organizational structure, bylaws, budget, bank account, etc.)
  • CJPME supports each student group by providing indispensable material:
    • Resources and educational material such as a banner, brochures, BDS sticky notes and factsheets
    • Administrative tools such as letters of support to obtain official recognition at your university;
    • Official CJPME logos for each student group Facebook group or page;
    • Suggestions for developing projects and events (see Section 4, or contact CJPME as projects are subject to change);
    • Help with the recruitment of speakers for seminars, conferences and events who are part of CJPME’s broad network.

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SECTION 3 - Creating and running a student group

Step 1: Give us a call, and then complete the application

We’d love you meet you up front: contact us!

CJPME has set up a few simple administrative steps in order to ensure a good kick start to your campus group:

  • The team leader must fill out the Application Form describing the vision of the potential team.  Your responses will be reviewed together with CJPME leaders.
  • CJPME suggests an executive model as a structure for your team. Typically, your campus group would elect or choose a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer. This way, you ensure tasks are well distributed and someone is clearly responsible of exterior communication with the CJPME national office. Although we find this model to be most productive, it is up to you to choose how your campus group will function. In any case, we require to have the personal contact information of the chosen team leader.
  • The team leader(s) must propose a 4-month vision (one session/semester) for the campus group in the context of CJPME (ideas can be provided.)  The plan will be reviewed and adjusted together with CJPME leaders. 
  • If the campus group is created, regular status updates on the plan would be scheduled to follow the progress of the team on its 4-month plan.
  • At least 2 (and ideally more) of the members must participate in an orientation session on CJPME.

What happens if we already have an existing group?

When considering a new CJPME branch, there are two possible scenarios, each of which provides advantages and drawbacks:

Scenario

Advantages / Drawbacks:

Scenario 1

Group does not yet exist. 
Instead, there’s an individual or a small group of individuals interested in starting a local Chapter of CJPME.

 

Potential Advantages:

  • Less organizational baggage in terms of mindsets, way of working, etc. therefore less resistance to change and new approaches
  • Potentially more openness to new ideas

Potential Drawbacks:

  • Leadership and teambuilding skills are untested and unproven
  • There may be limited group cohesion
  • There may be limited experience in the core competencies

 

Scenario 2

Group already exists. 
Group has been in existence in the past, and would like now to function as a local Chapter of CJPME.

 

Potential Advantages:

  • Potentially strong “team” already in place becomes an enabler
  • Group may bring great experience in terms of the core competencies (event planning, media and policy advocacy, etc.)
  • Group will have a more realistic attitude on how to approach the work, and the challenges one can expect

Potential Drawbacks:

  • The group may feel reticence or resentment in coordinating with others
  • Group may struggle with new ideas and approaches
  • Group may struggle with a new framework that changes the way they’re used to working with other organizations
  • There may be discomfort with a consolidated model for financial management and contact management

 

Step 2: Make Your Presence Known - Recruit Your Team

At some point during Step 2, things really get fun!  Now is the time to recruit members, plan activities, and talk to others.  The first three weeks of each semester is an ideal time to recruit new members. 

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  • Publicize, whenever possible, the schedule and location of your recruiting table on student radio, student newspapers, and association newsletters. You can also send a letter to other groups and associations that share your values. Use CJPME’s email distribution lists. When you have your table, take note of the names and email addresses of those interested in joining you.  We have contact cards and promotional materials that can help. 
  • Make sure to have promotional materials provided by CJPME (a banner, brochures, etc.). If you have a laptop and can access wireless internet, make the CJPME website accessible at your information table.
  • Create a Facebook page where new members may reach you. Although this will be your campus group’s page, it will be required that a CJPME national office team member have access, as an administrator, to your page. (Given the sensitivity of Middle East issues, having such access enables CJPME head office to ensure that its tone and professionalism is always maintained.)
  • Try to recruit new students. First and second year students at the undergraduate level have relatively more time than students at higher levels. They are also more likely to remain part of the student group for more than one year.  
  • Professors usually let students have a few moments at the beginning of their classes to present they you do and to invite students to join them. Of course, it is better to identify classes related to international law issues, human rights or politics, but don’t be afraid to reach out to others.

Step 3: Obtain Official Recognition of a Student Group at Your University

While you can still get started with recruitment and various human rights-related activities, a key step is to be officially recognized by your university. Approach the body responsible for student associations once you have the minimum members required to create a campus group. The documents concerning the specific requirements and regulations relevant to this procedure are usually available on the website of all universities. The advantages of creating an official campus group at universities are significant. Benefits can include, for example: 

  • Additional funding from the university or student association;
  • An on-campus office;
  • Permission to post announcements and advertise on campus bulletin boards;
  • Permission to book rooms and audio-visual equipment;
  • More stability and sustainability for your group from one year to the next. 

Step 4: Transform your Campus, and Stay in Touch

The section below provides lots of ideas about the types of activities that you can organize on your campus.  At the same time, don’t forget the benefits of being part of a larger team.  Once your student group is formed, ensure your members become a part of the CJPME’s national office mailing list. This way, you will be kept informed of all activities that are going on near you, at Parliament Hill, or even across Canada. It could also help you get ideas for activities on your campus.

 

SECTION 4 - Planning and organizing projects and events

human_rights.pngYour student group has been formed and is ready for action! Now you can start developing an effective program. This section presents the basic steps on how to organize a project or event, as well as practical considerations that will help you avoid too many difficulties. First, keep in mind that CJPME is expecting a semester plan which should provide a brief description of the project(s) or event(s) that you plan to organize. This will ensure that the CJPME team can support you effectively.

Step 1: Developing your project or event

First, remember the purpose of CJPME’s campus groups. In short, it’s about promoting human rights for everyone in the Middle East.

Get together with your campus group and brainstorm ideas. If need be, CJPME national office can provide ideas, upcoming events you can help with in your region or past success stories you can get inspired from. Here’s a short list of ideas:

  • Organize roundtable discussions – Open chats about human rights and current events
  • Host information tables on the university campus
  • Host presentations or talks
  • Organize gatherings for stories or presentations by people directly affected by events in the Middle East  
  • Host a student radio show or feature on one of CJPME’s campaigns (e.g. BDS Sticky Notes; “Condemn Me” Campaign; BDS Resolution; etc.)
  • Screen a documentary on the human rights issues
  • Host a Facebook party  - done in conjunction with the CJPME head office to promote campaigns
  • Host a photo exhibition – several exhibitions are available for tour
  • Host a human rights training workshop
  • Plan events around the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign

If there is a CJPME project in your region, you could support them on one of their planned projects, or collaborate on a public engagement project together, either on campus or in the community where they are based. 

Brainstorm with your members what specific issue(s) you feel excited about, what project(s)/event(s) you would like to organize, and what target audience you would like to focus on.

The project that you decide to create should enable you to raise the awareness of your peers and the general public to issues related to the Middle East, to deepen your knowledge, to solicit points of view, opinions, and proposals regarding these issues, to raise funds, and to contribute to a more just and peaceful world.  

Step 2: Bringing the project to completion

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After identifying your group’s needs and setting your goals, your project or event will appear more realistic and tangible. At this point, you may want to define all the major tasks that will need to be completed: the more detailed you are, the less likely you are, down the road, to run out of time or to forget anything.  

Even if your student group functions on an executive model, specific day-to-day tasks should be chosen by members according to their abilities, availability and particular interests. At this point, you may find that there is more to do, in terms of logistics, promotion and all, than members have the time for.  If this is the case, it is best to review the type of project or event you were thinking of doing. 

Try to come up with reasonable timelines for the major tasks. The members who are responsible for completing these tasks must be comfortable with them. It is important to have an idea of when major tasks should be completed as some delays can have important ripple effects in other areas. At meetings, you can check in with other members whether tasks are underway, completed or delayed so that the group can make adjustments.  

The earlier you get started, the better. Rooms made available by universities are generally reserved many weeks in advance. Similarly, if you plan to invite a special guest, contact him or her well in advance. This will ensure that you get the person of your choice. Keep in regular contact and find other potential candidates so that you have a backup plan. 

 

Key documents:

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