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Top Ten Reads from the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding’s News of 2016

With alumni scattered around the world, the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University counts on its website and social media to keep people informed. Cataloguing the Top Reads of 2016 provides us  with an informative look back at how busy we’ve been.

We’re sure 2017 will be the best year yet for great communication linking faculty, staff and students to our global peacebuilders. Our new Peacebuilding Network Coordinator Diana Tovar is hard at work reaching out to all of our alumni! [To help her, update your profile!]

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Photo by Andrew Strack.

TOP READ: Zehr Institute hosts restorative justice retreat

Both the preview and the coverage of this event, co-hosted by the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice and the Harrisonburg Police Department, drew more than 1,000 readers to our news blog and Facebook posts. We were even contacted by several police departments who wanted to participate in the three-day retreat, which was limited to invitees.

The attention continued when we moved the article to the most prominent place on our university website, with a photo (above) of Professors Howard Zehr and Carl Stauffer with Harrisonburg Police Department Lieutenant Kurt Boshart.

The attention shows that restorative justice is on the move! (Check out CJP’s new MA in Restorative Justice program.)

2. Pastor Matthew Bucher’s welcome signs spread across the United States

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The sign created by Pastor Matthew Bucher, a 2015 graduate of CJP and Eastern Mennonite Seminary, and his congregation at Immanuel Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Va.

Matthew, who earned his Master of Divinity degree and a graduate degree in conflict transformation in 2015, has been all over the news lately with a special sign that he and his congregation at Immanuel Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg have created. The signs have been featured on NPR, Huffington Post and several metropolitan television news shows. We’re just waiting for the story to get to Good Morning America!

3. Longtime peacebuilding and organizational development professor is named next director of EMU’s MBA program

Dr. David Brubaker’s move, after 12 years of teaching at CJP, to director of EMU’s MBA program drew several hundred readers and comments on Facebook. He continues to provide his organizational expertise to CJP, while fostering continued collaboration between all graduate programs. “I’m excited to see the MBA program keep developing as one of those hubs within a well-integrated, creative and committed-to-excellence graduate division,” he said.

4. CJP Professor Lisa Schirch finishes first-of-a-kind curriculum to improve civilian security sector relations

In March at a conference in The Hague, Dr. Lisa Schirch released her new 300-page training manual, three years in the making, titled Handbook on Human Security: A Civil-Military-Police Curriculum. The handbook, with case studies, policy brief and two videos, are available online. She’s used the case studies in a new Summer Peacebuilding Class class on “Peacebuilding Approaches to Violent Extremism,” yet another article that generated interest.

5. CJP partners with Kellogg Foundation’s new national initiative on truth, racial healing, and transformation

As the W.K. Kellogg Foundation national initiative gains momentum, look for more news, from EMU and in the national media, on this groundbreaking and exciting movement aimed at truth, racial healing and transformation in the United States. Executive Director Daryl Byler is involved in a working group, and Professors Johonna Turner and Carl Stauffer will be connected to future work.

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Reception for CJP graduates after EMU Commencement ceremonies. Photo by Joaquin Sosa.

The goal of the multi-year project, which has garnered significant pledges of financial and moral support from a number of prominent organizations, is “to address and transform present inequities linked to historic and contemporary beliefs in racial hierarchy.”

6. CJP graduates celebrate at Commencement

Commencement articles are always well-read and 2016 was no different. This year, 22 graduates earned master’s degrees in conflict transformation and 15 earned graduate certificates. Of those 15, 11 were members of the Women’s Peacebuilding Leadership Program from Kenya and Somaliland who were recognized in a ceremony in January in December. Four others earned a graduate certificate in conflict transformation.

7. EMU professors help design grant-funded restorative justice pilot project in Mississippi schools

Along with restorative justice, readers tune in to anything about restorative justice in education. Professors Kathy Evans and Johonna Turner lead this project. Evans was tapped to contribute to an article about the concept in The Atlantic: her advice attracted about 200 readers, who shared the article on Facebook.

8.  Doreen Ruto, alumna and peacebuilding partner in Africa, is remembered

Doreen Ruto Jemutai MA ’06 was an integral supporter and partner of Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, When she died in January, the peacebuilding world lost a major partner. Doreen’s work spanned multiple countries in Africa, as well as the United States. In 2011, she founded Daima Initiatives for Peace and Development (DiPaD) in Kenya, an organization which continues. She will always be remembered warmly for her many gifts.

9. Coming To The Table’s ‘National Gathering’ marks 10 years of acknowledging the wounds of slavery

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Ryan Beuthin in Flint, Michigan. (Photo by Jon Styer)

From Georgia, New York, Oregon, Illinois, Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, Hawaii and around the United States: more than 90 people have come to Eastern Mennonite University for June’s National Gathering of Coming To The Table (CTTT), an organization that brings together descendants of the enslaved with the descendants of slave owners. The keynote address was given by Gail Christopher, vice president for policy and senior advisor for the Kellogg Foundation. [CJP is a partner in Kellogg’s national truth, healing and transformation project: see No. 5 above).

10. Ryan Beuthin MA ’11 on life and work in Flint, Michigan in the latest Crossroads magazine.

This article about Ryan Beuthin, a 2011 graduate of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, and his wife Janie is drawing wide-ranging interest. The Beuthins live in Flint, Michigan, where a clean water crisis and economic and racial inequities are challenging all citizens to be both peacemakers and peacebuilders.

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