Our Logo

Our BTP logo was designed by Hangama Amiri, former NSCAD Artist in Residence, Lunenburg. For Hangama's art work:  Website



Purpose: The Be the Peace Institute is a community-based, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting gender equity, healthy relationships and safe, peaceful communities and systems in Nova Scotia.  Working in close partnership with community organizations, government bodies, survivors and citizens, it promotes positive social change by addressing violence against women, children and youth, and altering the social and systemic forces that deny women and girls full equality, security, opportunity and justice.   Through innovative, collaborative initiatives, BTPI advances knowledge, research and best practice evidence to improve violence prevention while informing policy development, decision making, system change and service provision related to gender-based violence.

Who We Serve: The citizens and communities of Lunenburg County and beyond. While our work is primarily on behalf of survivors of intimate partner, domestic and sexualized violence, it benefits their families, friends, co-workers, communities and networks. The impact will be felt by all the young people in our county who face the challenges of growing up in a world of gender-based stereotypes, myths and oppression that affect the integrity, dignity and productivity of our entire community and people of all genders.

Vision:  Under a framework of peace-building that is restorative at its core, BTPI courageously promotes and engages community for justice, gender equality and social change, from the individual to systemic. We are a ‘centre of excellence’ in research, education, data and tools to prevent, address and end violence against women in all forms, making Lunenburg County the most safe, equitable place for people of all genders to live, work and thrive.    

Guiding Principles:

      • Explore different views and listen for common ground.
      • Uncover all assumptions and agree on expectations.
      • Share leadership, responsibilities and information generously.
      • Treat everyone as a respected, trusted, cooperative partner.
      • Take purposeful action when there is a clear path and energy.
      • Invite all voices and perspectives to create safe spaces where everyone can belong.
      • Ask even the hard questions.


What's in a name?

At its core, Be The Peace is a peace-building project.We wanted the project to take an "appreciative" approach - focusing on what we want, rather than what we don't want. When we considered what would be the opposite of violence, we decided it was peace. The name, "Be the Peace . . . Make a Change" is a play on the well-known phrase of Ghandi. ("Be the change you wish to see in the world.") While we aim to build peaceful relationships, peaceful families, peaceful schools and communities, we recognize that peace, first and foremost, is an inside job. It starts within each of us "waging peace" in our own hearts and minds. As we let go of judgments and blame, we can actually be and create the peace we wish to see in our lives.

The Team

Sue Bookchin, Executive Director

Sue  Bookchin is the Executive Director of the Be the Peace Institute. She has been a facilitator, trainer and coach for over 20 years working in a variety of sectors with individuals, companies and teams. In all her work, it is particularly rewarding when people recognize something in one another they can connect with. When there is excitement in pursuing what we care deeply about, in camaraderie with others, it is truly inspiring. The Be the Peace Institute has ignited that kind of excitement in Sue. For her, it is a privilege to be in service to community and to social change that honours women; that values their contributions to a just and life-nurturing world; that cares enough to end violence against them, locally and globally. Sue was the Project Co-Coordinator  of the Be the Peace project of Second Story Women’s Centre – a three-year  initiative funded through Status of Women Canada to coordinate a community response to violence against women and girls in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia. She is moved and humbled by the people who have shared their stories – women and men. She yearns for a world where violence against women is as obsolete and socially unacceptable as drinking and driving, not wearing seat belts, or selling cigarettes to children.”As we come together for meaningful and engaging conversations and try deeply to understand ourselves, one another and the complex systems we live and work within, we can, together, find the pathways for positive and peaceful change. Let us rise up together and stand for peace.”   

Helen Lanthier, Board Chair

Helen is a retired elementary school principal and an activist. She was the Administrative Coordinator of Second Story Women's Centre for more than two years. During that time, she worked closely with staff and members of the Social Action Committee on the Making Change initiative. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors and is one of the lead organizers of the One Billion Rising events.

Helen believes that if we are to end violence in our communities, we must challenge the systems that perpetuate it and be innovative in collaborating with others to address it.

She is also active in other community organizations. She is a member of the South Shore Housing Action Coalition, a member of the Board of Directors of the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia, and a member of the South Shore Chapter of the Council of Canadians.

Stacey Godsoe, Project Officer

Stacey Godsoe is the project officer for our Status of Women project, "Pathways to Justice for Women Affected by Gendered Violence."  Stacey co-coordinated the "Power of Our Voices" project funded through Justice Canada and is the former co-coordinator of SASLQ (Sexual Assault Services Lunenburg Queens).