Mark Umbreit in Kansas City for CCR and Avila RJ Conference

Mark Umbreit at AvilaRestorative Justice: Conflict Resolution and Peace Building for the Greater Kansas City Area was the title of the one-day conference on March 26, 2015. The conference was sponsored by the Center for Conflict Resolution, Avila University Center for Global Studies and Social Justice, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and the Missouri Bar Association.

More than 120 people attended the event that welcomed Dr. Mark Umbreit, Professor and founding Director of the Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Umbreit is an internationally recognized practitioner and scholar with more than 40 years of experience as a mediator, peacemaker, trainer, teacher and researcher. He is the author of nine books and more than 200 other publications in the field of restorative justice (RJ), mediation, spirituality, forgiveness and peacemaking.

Following Dr. Umbreit’s presentation, panel members Debbie Bayless, Kathleen Bird, John Hamilton and myself spoke briefly, and then answered questions about existing programs in four areas; Neighborhood Accountability Boards, RJ in the Court System, Community Policing and RJ in schools. The afternoon brought break-out sessions in those four areas followed by the whole group coming back together to share insights and next steps. Joanne Katz, a Criminal Justice Professor at Western Missouri State University, expertly facilitated the question and answer time and the final discussion, asking the question “Where do we go from here?” Some participants were new to the concepts of RJ, others have been involved in RJ for years. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn , enhance existing knowledge and network. Welcome to the Peace Party!

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