The rundown

We can’t all be on the ‘front lines’ of conflict and reconstruction, but your contribution can assist to inspire future ‘warriors of the heart,’ changing the world for the better.

You are invited to be part of preserving Ken’s legacy by contributing to the Dr. Kenneth Bush Bursary in Peace and Conflict Studies — an award presented annually to a deserving student by the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs of Carleton University. It is our hope that the recipient of this bursary will work to ensure that all reconstructive participants within conflict zones are legitimately contributing to lasting peace.

Your gift today will be doubled through matching funds from Carleton University. All donations of $100 or more will receive a special thank you from the family.


“So, how much am I worth?” Ken asked.  There were no puzzled faces; although Ken was among friends, and his safety was not in question, both sides had kidnapped foreigners as a way to finance the purchase of weapons, the needed political bribes or the occasional escort service.

The lull in the discussion was palpable as the jungle noises came closer to the enclosure, similar to the roar of the waves caused by a distant groundswell approaching the motionless sand castles on a remote beach. The conversation had been intense. ‘How to create peace? How to create security? How to peel away decades of hate to get to the fleshy core of forgiveness, hope and love?’ The battled-hardened factions at the table had long since eclipsed rational thought with a near fossilized demeanor of destructive emotion. Ken had decided to break the silence with the extorted topic of abduction.

He continued, “Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it. How much would you ask if you ransomed me?” One disheveled soldier wanting to appear more official than his past guerrilla tactics would allow, took out his cell phone and clicked a text-message to a more villainous combatant who had long-since integrated anonymity into his being.

“Your family name is ‘Bush?’” “Yep.”

The soft light of the cell phone mixed with the contrasting colours of the words projected indecipherable images onto the face of the tech-savvy inquisitor and the nearby figures of the dimly-lit room.  “You are worth a lot of money.”

With a unique smirk, exclusive to the rare few who can elude rationality, intelligence and sincerity simultaneously, Ken’s questioning of “How much?” initiated discussions between long warring factions in the jungles of Columbia.  Ken had the confidence and compassion to state the obvious and deal with life and death issues head-on.

Kenneth David Bush died on April 16th, 2016 in Ottawa from numerous blood clots that had reached both his lungs and heart. He was a rare individual who could brilliantly mix western philosophy, eastern thought, and the writings of romantic Irish poets. His accomplishments in the world of peace and conflict and the creation of PCIA (Peace & Conflict Impact Assessment) tools served to create caring communities, security between regions and stability for families. Ken’s role as an academic at St. Paul’s (Ottawa); Ulster (Derry/Londonderry), York (York, U.K.) and Durham (Durham, U.K.) universities earned him the reputation of an intensely passionate academic who believed that lessons in-the-field must be learned on the front lines.

The respect and admiration of colleagues and students was grounded in a mutual respect for demanding legitimately progressive change. His coining of the phrases, ‘bungee-cord interventions,’ and  ‘Humanitarian Cowboy,’ are indicative of the intensity of his conviction to hold the privileged accountable and responsible – an expectation that he proudly modeled. His desire to better the human condition brought him to, among other places, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Columbia, and his beloved Northern Ireland.  Ken has been aptly described as, ‘a warrior of the heart, the most turbulent man of peace one could want to meet.”

In one instance Ken was assisting in the negotiation of the release of school children.  Young pupils who had been abducted and held by the military intent on teaching the villagers a lesson for a nearby ambush on troops, the night before. When Ken was asked, “How do you negotiate with someone who arguably is the devil incarnate?”  Ken responded, “For every devil, there are many Saints, perhaps unrecognized, willing to do whatever it takes to make the world a better place.”

Ken was one dedicated to compassionately fanning that fading ember lying near dormant in the hearts of those most victimized by violence. Love served as both his mission statement and his foundation. Although Ken is significantly missed by his loving family, his far-reaching repertoire friends and colleagues; his passing has created a void in the community of exemplary individuals who tirelessly give of themselves to make the world better.


Once established, the Dr. Kenneth Bush Bursary in Peace and Conflict Studies will be awarded each year to an outstanding graduate student in financial need enrolled in NPSIA, who is studying in the area of peace and conflict studies.

Through your gift today, this award will honor Ken’s memory and support generations of Carleton students who are working to make our world a better, more peaceful place.