Class of 2024 graduates at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding were recognized at a Celebration of Blessings on Sunday, May 5, 2024.

Photos, remarks from 2024 CJP Graduation

The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) at EMU sent its graduates off into the world with words of praise and encouragement at its annual Celebration of Blessings on Sunday, May 5, 2024.

20240505-Commencement - CJP Celebration__MM-128
Scroll through the photo gallery.

Family members, friends, faculty and guests gathered at Martin Chapel to recognize the 33 graduates of CJP programs — many of whom crossed continents to attend EMU — and celebrate their achievements. 

The 2024 grads represent six countries — Japan, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, South Sudan, Ethiopia — and 14 states. 

Mission and vision
The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding prepares, transforms and sustains a global community of peacebuilders through mutual learning and the integration of practice, theory and research. It envisions a just and peaceful world devoid of systemic violence and oppression.
David Brubaker, dean of the school of social sciences and professions.
Kory Schaeffer, an MA in conflict transformation graduate.
Wima Ranasinghe, an MA in conflict transformation graduate.

David Brubaker, dean of the school of social sciences and professions, who is retiring this year, opened the ceremony by sharing the three core principles of CJP culture he’s learned in his decades with the program. Those principles are that “relationships matter,” that “our students are colleagues masquerading as students,” and the importance of developing theories of change.

Three CJP 2024 graduates shared reflections of their time in the program.

Sharon McKenna, an MA in transformational leadership graduate.

Kory Schaeffer, an MA in conflict transformation graduate, who also spoke at Lavender Graduation, invited the crowd gathered at Martin Chapel to imagine the world as a tangle of threads. Imagine each person leaving a trail of thread behind them with each step and each breath, he instructed, that intersects with everyone and everything they encounter. 

“Our earth is a tightly woven ball of yarn with layers 7,000 miles deep,” he said. “Amongst this giant ball of thread are bright streaks of color, the threads of peacebuilders, lovers, dreamers and healers. Weaving bright and bold and beautiful light into our threads of connection, we are remarkably beautiful people.”

Wima Ranasinghe, who traveled from Sri Lanka to earn an MA in conflict transformation, recounted meeting her classmates — her “fellow travelers” — in August 2022 for the first time. Since that first meeting, she said, they’ve enjoyed parties, sunset walks, clothing swaps, bounce house fun, hikes, coffee hours, movie nights, ping pong tournaments and basketball games together. 

“Over the last 21 months, we all have become each other’s study buddies, walking buddies, weeping buddies and, sometimes, drinking buddies,” Ranasinghe said. 

She expressed gratitude for her friends and to the many teachers, practitioners and supporters in CJP.

“We’ve undergone a process of learning, unlearning, and relearning, which has allowed us to see perspectives from multiple dimensions, and still, I feel it’s only a start,” she said.

Sharon McKenna, an MA in transformational leadership graduate, spoke about the difference between transformational and transactional leadership. Transactional leadership is about cost benefit, she explained, while transformational leadership is about motivation and inspiration.

“I got a bunch of prior degrees, and every one of them was transactional,” she said. “I paid for a class, I got a class. That’s not what I’ve experienced here at CJP. CJP has been truly transformational for me.”

CJP Class of 2024 Graduates

Master of Arts in Conflict Transformation
Moe Arakawa, Tochigi, Japan
Jessica Chisholm, Collinsville, Mississippi
Zua Companhia, Beira, Mozambique
Katie Corbit, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Shashi De Silva, Ambalangoda, Sri Lanka
Anna Dovbyk, Kyiv, Ukraine
Yolanda Emedi, Des Moines, Iowa
Olivia Hazelton, Philomath, Oregon
Mahboube Hosseinzadeh, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Stella Kayenga, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Felix Kayiranga, Epworth, Iowa
Ishtiaq Khan, Rockingham, Virginia
Philip Krabill, Elkhart, Indiana
David Kuany, Juba, South Sudan
Onyx Myanda, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Wima Ranasinghe, Narammala, Sri Lanka
Kory Schaeffer, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Selena Sherzad, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Graduate Certificate in Conflict Transformation
Cameron Carter, Ashland, Virginia

Master of Arts in Restorative Justice
Erin Bruemmer, Cincinnati, Ohio
Elham Khairi, Richmond, Virginia
Tibby Miller, Laramie, Wyoming
Mary Moll, White Salmon, Washington

Graduate Certificate in Restorative Justice
Debra Budiani-Saberi, Cabin John, Maryland
Eyerusalem Korra, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership
Cindy Angela, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Becky Gochnauer, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Saskia Keeley, New York, New York
Luke Litwiller, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Sharon McKenna, Atlanta, Georgia
Amber Oda, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Joshua Sperry, Berkeley, California
DeMointé Wesley, Houston, Texas

CJP faculty and staff members Gloria Rhodes, Paula Ditzel Facci, Amy Knorr, Catherine Barnes, Alena Yoder and Vernon Jantzi provided the positive affirmations to the graduates.

Following the graduate tributes, speakers recognized three faculty and staff members who will be departing EMU: David Brubaker, Lindsay Martin and Vernon Jantzi.

The event featured a graduate slideshow prepared by CJP student Maybree Spilsbury with music composed by 2024 CJP alumnus Luke Litwiller; musical performances from Rodrigue Makelele MA ‘20 (conflict resolution) and 2024 CJP alumnus Zua Companhia on drums and from 2024 CJP alumnus Philip Krabill, who sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”; and student blessings from CJP students Doro Maru and Spike Coleman.

Join the Discussion on “Photos, remarks from 2024 CJP Graduation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *