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Center for Justice and Peacebuilding announces new restorative justice certificate

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This summer, Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) will introduce a new certificate program for restorative justice practitioners. The program is open to all interested in furthering their postgraduate educations and aimed particularly at mid-career professionals.

Courses will combine online learning with in-class time, said Carl Stauffer, a CJP professor and co-director of the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice.

Instructors will include CJP professors Stauffer, Barry Hart and Howard Zehr, and visiting scholars like David Anderson Hooker and Lorraine Amstutz-Stutzman. Online portions of some courses will include guest lectures from other experts around the world.

The 18-credit certification is designed to be finished within a year, or during successive sessions of CJP’s annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute. Requirements are broken down into 12 hours of core courses on restorative justice and conflict analysis, plus six hours of elective courses.

The electives offer students a chance to dig deeper into topics such as transitional justice, trauma, critical race theory, community development, and healthy organizations.

By taking advantage of local opportunities for practice, the program will emphasize real-life experience in order to reinforce learning in the classroom. “The program is very practice-oriented,” said Stauffer. “We try to focus it around students’ interests.”

Recent examples of practice opportunities have seen students engaging in restorative justice research with the James Madison University Office of Judicial Affairs, organizing public screenings of restorative justice films with facilitated dialogue afterward, and working with the Gemeinschaft Home, a re-entry program for men coming out of prison.

Stauffer described the certificate program as “a great professional development opportunity and a step on the way to a master’s degree in restorative justice.” The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding is generally considered one of the top five graduate programs in the field, he said. Citing the program’s unique dual focus on theory and reflective practice, Stauffer referred to graduates as “prac-ademics.”

More information on the new certificate program is available on the CJP website.

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