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- Mark Umbreit, Professor and Director of SSW's Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking, was elected as the Founding President of the new National Association for Community and Restorative Justice, at the National Restorative Conference in Toledo, Ohio on June 21. This new Association includes practitioners and scholars from throughout the United States and will support the needs of members through annual conferences, technical assistance, training, and other resources.
- Professor Mark Umbreit has been awarded a $30,000 Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship from the Office of the Vice President for Research effective January 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. Grant funds will support Restorative Justice and Islam: Building Bridges of Understanding, a research project on the convergence of restorative justice practices and Muslim traditions. Jennifer Blevins, PhD student and Research Assistant for the Center, will serve as co-investigator with Professor Umbreit.
- In October 2012, Professor Mark Umbreit conducted a two-day workshop on peacebuilding through restorative justice dialogue at the Corrymeela Peace Center in Northern Ireland. Corrymeela is the region's oldest and most influential peace center since the violent conflict between Protestants and Catholics began in the 1960s. It played a very active and supportive role in the "Good Friday" agreement of more than ten years ago that ended most of the violence and led to a political agreement to work together in governing the region. Mark will also be presenting his research and conducting another workshop and public lecture in the Republic of Ireland, in Dublin, following his work in the north.
- Professor Mark Umbreit gave a Scholar's Convocation Lecture at Grinnell College in Iowa on October 10, 2012, on the topic of "Peacebuilding Through Restorative Dialogue in the Global Community." Mark also provided a training seminar on peacebuilding circles and a day long training session to the Iowa Department of Corrections.
- Professor Mark Umbreit gave a keynote address in October 2012 at a conference of graduate students in conflict resolution studies at NOVA Southeastern University in Florida, on the topic of "Restorative Justice in the Global Community: A Social Movement Loaded With Pitfalls and Opportunities." He was introduced by Assistant Professor Tory Hansen, who received his Ph.D. from the School of Social Work in 2010. Dr. Umbreit has been Tory's mentor in the field of restorative justice.
- From September 19-23, 2012, Professor Mark Umbreit presented his research at "A Global Gathering: The Pilgrimage of Love and Forgiveness," the Fetzer Institute's international conference in Assisi, Italy. He also is producing a film and will be preparing a book, Being With the Energy of Forgiveness: Lessons From Former Enemies in Restorative Dialogue.
- On March 3, 2012, Professor Mark Umbreit presetned a workshop at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum hosted by Augsburg College in Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Umbreit's workshop was on "Palestinians and Israelis in Restorative Dialogue: Engaging the Energy of Compassion and Forgiveness." Nobel Laureate President F.W. de Klerk of South Africa was the key-note speaker during the three day forum (March 1-3) on "The Price of Peace."
- Professor Umbreit gave the keynote address at an International Conference on Restorative Justice in Istanbul, Turkey in March 2012. The Turkish Parliament is working on legislation to implement victim offender mediation and civil court mediation throughout the country. Umbreit is helping to organize an international panel of experts to travel to Turkey, with colleagues from Brazil, Spain, Italy, Austria, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Scotland, and the U.S. He is also helping to organize a study tour for Turkish legislative leaders and policy makers to meet with national leaders in the mediation field in Washington, DC, New York, and Milwaukee.
Umbreit will also be providing extensive technical assistance, training, and research over the next 12 months as the Turkish Ministry of Justice attempts to more thoroughly implement and assess the practice of victim offender mediation and alternative dispute resolution policies and practices. Mark and the Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking have been involved in building increasing bridges of understanding and support between Islam and the global restorative justice movement. The work in Turkey, as a large democratic Muslim country, will significantly expand this initiative.
- Peace Building Through Restorative Dialogue (PDF) Professor Umbreit hosted this five day workshop to provide Humphrey Fellows with new skills and approaches to more effectively deal with both everyday type of conflicts in workplaces and communities.
- Professor Umbreit presented a video-seminar on peacebuilding and restorative dialogue to youth leaders in Liberia, West Africa, on Thursday December 14, 2011. Jennifer Blevins, doctoral student, research assistant, and director of the Bryan Coyle Center also participated, along with five Somali youth from the Coyle Center. The training supported nationwide effors to promote healing and reconciliation among various tribes, Christians, and Muslims, following the past many years of violent political conflict and killing.