Support Peacebuilding through Restorative Dialogue

The Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking’s mission of Peacebuilding through Restorative Dialogue in the Global Community responds to the increasing demand for training in restorative dialogue, technical assistance in developing programs and for consultation to support local, national, and international efforts.

Your contribution is a valuable gift to promote individual and community healing where deep hurt and emotional pain may be eased and hope restored.  People and organizations throughout the world, from communities to war-torn nations, are engaging in restorative dialogue to foster healing in the wake of severe violence.

Please consider making a one-time gift or continuing donation to support restorative dialogue. Your gift will provide scholarship and outreach to further the mission of restorative dialogue practitioners in our world. 

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July 2008

At a time when there is such widespread cultural misunderstanding, intolerance, hatred, and violence in the global community, along with an obsessive clinging to old policies and practices of “might makes right” and “our way or hit the highway”, there is an urgent need to build ever expanding bridges of peace among former adversaries, victims and offenders, and even ex-combatants.  True peace is not simply the absence of hostilities or the presence of agreements to end the violence. True peace requires a change of heart, openness to understanding the life context and suffering of the other, a willingness to see the humanity in one’s adversary. Politicians and policy makers can end the violence through peace agreements and disarmament. Only former enemies and combatants can build the peace within their communities through human encounter, dialogue, and tolerance.

In the past 12 months, Dr. Mark Umbreit, founding Director of the Center, has traveled to Belgium, Canada, Italy, South Korea, Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine (including the occupied territories on the West Bank), and China/Hong Kong, providing keynote addresses at conferences, intensive training in the use of restorative dialogue, and technical assistance in local program development. Dr. Umbreit is serving as a consultant/trainer with the first joint Jewish-Palestinian restorative justice initiative in the state of Israel, on ground zero of the mid-east conflict, in East and West Jerusalem.

For the past 13 years, the Center has annually conducted an intense six-day advanced training on restorative justice dialogue in the wake of severe criminal and political violence.  This is an exciting, innovative initiative to foster a mind-body-spirit approach to deep healing through face-to-face dialogue among victims and perpetrators affected by severe violence, including murder and political violence. With participants from Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, China, Denmark, England, Kenya, Germany, Ireland, Israel/Palestine, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liberia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, and the vast majority of states within the U.S we are grateful that we have helped cultivate the restorative dialogue movement globally. We look forward to expanding restorative dialogue to an even broader world community.

Today there exist at least 19 states operating or initiating statewide publicly supported programs that provide opportunities for dialogue among victims and offenders involved in crimes of severe violence.  Nearly all of these states have utilized the pioneering research and practice guidelines developed by the Center. Dr. Umbreit has trained most of these Program Directors. A number of other countries have expressed interest in developing similar programs. 

This once taboo intervention is now beginning to receive broader acceptance, in some ways reflecting the manner in which alternative and complementary medicines have moved from the margins into the mainstream. The Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking emphasizes a mind-body-spirit approach that fosters deep healing through the power of sharing personal stories of trauma. We are committed to this focus that truly fosters the power of love, compassion, and even forgiveness for many.

"Three-fourths of the miseries and misunderstandings in the world will disappear if we step into the shoes of our adversaries and understand their viewpoint.” Mahatma Gandhi