Eastern Mennonite University

ummer 2007

Next 13 Years May Be Even Better

Transitions. Change. New opportunities.
Challenges. Anticipation and hope.

These are in our minds and hearts as we embark on a year of saying good-bye to long-time, tried-and-true colleagues at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), while treasuring those who remain. We also will be welcoming new people, bringing energy and fresh ideas.

Ruth Zimmerman and Howard Zehr

My co-director, Ruth Zimmerman, will shoulder different responsibilities in September when she moves from CJP to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). She and husband Earl will be living in Calcutta, India, while co-directing MCC’s work in Afghanistan, Nepal and India. Ruth is the last of the founding group of CJP to move to other employment related to peacebuilding. I will sorely miss her exceptional contributions as administrator and leader.

Ruth’s departure has prompted us to seek an executive director who would combine into a single portfolio the duties now shared by Ruth and me. Once that person is on board, I will happily shift my attention to restorative justice projects that I have not had the time to focus upon. I will remain a faculty member of CJP.

Pat Hostetter Martin, who has guided the Summer Peacebuilding Institute for more than a decade, plans to retire at the end of the 2007-08 school year. We already can see the legacy of Pat’s work in the global influence of SPI alumni – working in locations as varied as prisons, refugee camps, universities and government ministries – along with the half-dozen peace institutes sprouting around the world, modeled on the one here in Harrisonburg.

Amid these changes, the hub of CJP – its faculty and staff – continues to roll forward. New books will be coming off the presses by Barry Hart, Nancy Good Sider, Lisa Schirch, and others – including a book on organizational management co-authored by Ruth Zimmerman and David Brubaker. These will add to the three dozen books by CJP faculty, staff and alumni that are in use by peace and justice advocates from Turkey to Japan.

STAR, under the Practice Institute, is widening its impact, as attested by the remarkable stories in this issue: "I Wanted to Know What Brought Them to Commit Murder" and "STAR in New Orleans."

Concepts promoted under the 3D Security Initiative (www.3Dsecurity.org), led by professor Lisa Schirch, are becoming widely referenced by decision-makers in Washington, D.C., and by military leaders. This year, CJP professor Barry Hart completes his tenth summer as academic director of an important European center for peace education and discussion, the Caux Institute in Switzerland. And professor Jayne Docherty is serving on the governing council of the International Peace Research Association.

CJP is well positioned to be in the forefront of addressing the role of religion in both conflict and in building peace. EMU as a whole is exploring, with an Islamic university in Iran, the idea of launching a Center for the Study of Abrahamic Religions, linking the study of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. CJP is also seeking to deepen and widen its work on organizational conflict and on care for the peacebuilder (notably, how to avoid “burn out”).

The next decade at CJP promises to be very interesting indeed. Come take classes, send support, stay in touch. It’s been a great first 13 years, but I think it might be an even better second 13 years.

Howard Zehr, Co-director

P.S. from Ruth Zimmerman: When I began working at EMU 13 years ago, CJP was just a gleam in a few people’s eyes. My time here is now over. I bequeath the vision and direction of CJP to the next generation of CJP leadership. I will always be grateful for the privilege of serving many of you in this position and at this place. My door will be open in India too.

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