Winnipeg can serve as a model for how diverse cultures can live together peacefully, says the city's police chief.

Devon Clunis spoke at a multi-faith leadership breakfast event at the University of Winnipeg on Thursday.

The chief, who spent much of his career as a police chaplain, said compared to parts of the world where there is conflict between people of different faiths and economic statuses, Winnipeg has much to offer.

"I'm saying here in the city of Winnipeg, we represent the world and we do have an opportunity to teach the world how to live in that sense of peace and harmony," he said.

"Yes, we have maybe different religious traditions, but we can still live in a very safe, united city."

Clunis also said the city's diverse faith-based groups can play a big role in lifting people out of poverty.

Police see a lot of young people for whom higher education is out of reach, he said, adding that the university and faith-based groups can help change that.

"We see the opportunity to partner with an organization like this to provide opportunities for kids who would not necessarily have the financial resources to support them in achieving the education to change their outcome, and they now go out and further impact their community in a very positive way," he said.

Clunis said although Winnipeg's challenges can be overwhelming at times, he is encouraged that it's becoming a safer city.