Dr. Hizkias Assefa is professor of conflict studies (SPI only) at Eastern Mennonite University and is an active peacebuilding practitioner and trainer in many parts of the world. Operating out of Nairobi, Kenya, he has worked as a mediator and facilitator of reconciliation processes at political and community levels in a number of civil wars in Africa, Latin America, and Asia including Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Israel/Palestine, and Guatemala. In Kenya he worked with the African Union and United Nations at mediating between the government and the opposition parties involved in the 2007 election-sparked violence. This work led to the power-sharing government that governed the country between 2008 and 2013. Recently, he mediated the conflict between the Government of South Sudan and the South Sudan Democratic Army/Movement that led to the peace agreement of May 9, 2014. Currently, he is engaged in peacebuilding in the Christian-Muslim conflict areas of Nigeria. Dr. Assefa has served as a consultant on peacemaking under situations of humanitarian crisis to the United Nations, the
European Union, and several international and national Non-governmental organizations
(NGOs). He holds an LLM from Northwestern University, MS in economics, MPA in public
management and a PhD in public and international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Catherine Barnes has worked for conflict transformation and social justice for more than thirty years. She is an affiliate faculty member of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University and a freelance practitioner (www.catherinebarnes.space). Catherine has extensive experience facilitating conversations on challenging topics, in locations ranging from the UN General Assembly Hall to village gathering places. She is increasingly focused on designing whole-of-system deliberative dialogue processes and training other practitioners in these skills.
Examples of recent processes she has helped to design and facilitate range from workshops for the
Afghan High Peace Council; a multi-stakeholder process to develop a vision for the Shenandoah River
Watershed; a consensus-building process to provide guidance on the status of LGBTQ persons in a
religious denomination; community dialogues for racial justice and healing in her home town; and the
Mennonite Church USA’s Future Church Summit convening more than 700 people in a process of church renewal. She finds that underlying process design principles can span these widely divergent contexts.
As a facilitator, trainer, researcher, policy advocate and consultant, she has worked with civil society
activists, diplomats and politicians, and armed groups in more than 30 countries to support their capacities for preventing violence and using conflict as an opportunity for addressing the underlying
systems giving rise to grievance.
She has written widely on peace processes, civil society roles in peacebuilding, and on issues related tostatebuilding, conflict prevention, genocide and minority rights. She is currently writing a book entitled:Ending Our Addiction to Coercion: Understanding Conflict Habituated Systems and How to Transform Them.
Catherine holds a doctorate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. She has worked with numerous peacebuilding and human rights organizations, including Conciliation Resourcesand Minority Rights Group International.
She now lives in Staunton Virginia with her husband and son, extended family and friends, with whom
she loves to garden, to cook, to make music, and to retreat into the wilds of the surrounding mountains.
Dr. Ram Bhagat is a longtime educator, arts innovator, and peacemaker. Ram is committed to healing trauma in classrooms, communities, and consciousness. He is the visionary behind the Richmond Youth Peace Project (RYPP), a dynamic program that promotes a culture of nonviolence to the city’s youth,
through innovative, youth-led peacemaking initiatives. He also serves on the board of The Conciliation Project (TCP), which uses active and challenging dramatic works to promote open and honest dialogue about racism and oppression in America in order to repair its damaging legacy.
Dr. Bhagat received his doctorate in Educational Leadership from VCU. He earned a Master’s of
Education in School and Community Counseling from Virginia State University and his Bachelor of
Science in Microbiology from Virginia State. His post-doctoral work is in the areas of Restorative Justice,
Trauma Healing, Social Emotional Learning, and Culturally Responsive Mindfulness practices.
Dr. Bhagat is the newly hired Manager of School Climate and Culture Strategy for Richmond Public
Schools. His primary role is to envision, design, and connect trauma informed practices and restorative practices to schools and communities throughout the division. He intends to help lead RPS and its partners, like VCU, in the creation of a sustainable and transformative model of equitable and just learning environments for all students.
Dr. Bhagat is actively involved in healing the effects of racial trauma within communities of color as a
leader of Emotional Emancipation Circles in Virginia. Ram was an inaugural member of the International Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities training for trainers in Burundi, East Africa, held in August 2011. This transformative program facilitates healing community trauma, particularly trauma caused by violence, war, and genocide. Ram began teaching Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) in 2017, after extensive coursework, training, and a supervised apprenticeship with Elaine Zook-Barge.
In the early 1990s, Ram co-founded Drums No Guns (DNG) world percussion ensemble to engage youth in “healing community with rhythm.” More than two decades later, the DNG Foundation continues to work with youth traumatized by gun violence around the country, using drumming, dance, and other culturally responsive contemplative practices.
Dr. Bhagat uses the drum to unite people of all ages, of all races. This award winning science teacher
created a series of innovative curricula for Yale University, through the National initiative to Strengthen Public School Teaching. His 3D curriculum is based on the principles of Aesthetic Education and Arts Integration, which infuses drumming, dance, and drama into the Chemistry curriculum.
His approach to Trauma Sensitive Restorative Justice in Education is rooted in the science of yoga and
indigenous mindfulness practices. He has been studying various forms of yoga with Dr. Janeshwar
Upadyay since 1975 and completed Integral Yoga teacher training in 2001.
A native son of New Haven, Conn., Ram lives with his blended family in Richmond, VA. He is an adjunct
faculty member with Eastern Mennonite University’s Graduate Teacher Education program and the
Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.
Jordan Brown (she/her and he/him) is a student, poet, writer, and community organizer from Georgia who has made a new home in Washington, DC. Through her academic and activist work, Jordan advocates for disability justice and focuses on making activist spaces more accessible, inclusive, and community-oriented. She is an apprentice restorative justice practitioner and has extensive experience facilitating workshops around various issues of identity and social justice. Jordan identifies as a Black, queer, disabled, gender non-conforming woman; she is a member of the Georgetown University class of 2021 and is now an MFA student in Creative Writing.
Dr. Martha A. Brown, president of RJAE Consulting, Intl., is author of Creating Restorative Schools: Setting Schools Up to Succeed available at Living Justice Press. Dr. Brown received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Florida Atlantic University and has more than five years’ experience designing and teaching online courses. Dr. Brown was Lead Instructor for Simon Fraser Universiy's Continuing Studies online Restorative Justice Certificate Program and was an adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University where she taught a course in Educational Assessment. She has published several peer-reviewed book chapters and articles on restorative justice and correctional education and has presented internationally at conferences sponsored by the National Association for Community & Restorative Justice (NACRJ), Restorative Practices International (RPI), American Evaluation Association (AEA), the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES), Visitor Studies Association (VSA), and the International Conference on Conflict Resolution in Education (CRE).
As a consultant, Martha assists non-profit, cultural, community-based, educational, and correctional organizations with program design, readiness assessments, strategic planning, student assessments, monitoring implementation, and defining and measuring program outcomes.
Lisa Collins is an educational professional with 25 years of experience. She holds degrees in psychology and education and works as an assistant professor at Lewis and Clark College and a business consultant. As a learning and development professional, Lisa supports talent management and business partners to solve workforce challenges.
Lisa is a professional who provides healing frameworks to a world in need. Dr. Collins specializes in racial healing for people of color and non-people of color. She utilizes her life coaching from Conscious Freedom and spirituality to provide acceptance and space for connectedness and oneness in a world that needs it so much.
Lisa is a medium, spiritual writer, and playwright. She utilizes these spiritual gifts to provide healing and openness that acknowledges the intersectionality of humankind.
Transforming Community Spaces through Equitable Collaboration - PAX 691
For 15 years as Director of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN), Dr. Dukes led an organization that helps individuals, communities, and public agencies find just and sustainable solutions to complex problems and conflict. He continues to work full-time at local, state, and federal levels on projects involving environment and land use, community development, health, and education. He has also facilitated public conversations on topics ranging from faith and sexual orientation to reparations for slavery.
Dr. Dukes’ work at IEN has included the following highlights:
- He directs IEN’s Transforming Community Spaces project, helping communities come to terms with spaces associated with problematic pasts. This includes a project developing a Truth and Transformation process for the Charlottesville-Albemarle area.
- He directed community engagement as a principal of the design team contracted to design the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia; the design was approved by the Board of Visitors in June 2017 and the memorial will be dedicated April 11, 2020.
- He served in a pro bono role as a member of the Charlottesville Commission on Race, Memorials and Public Spaces.
- He is currently leading the University & Community Action for Racial Equity (UCARE @ucareva.org), to examine and address the legacy of slavery and segregation at the University of Virginia and surrounding communities.
- His work in the Appalachian coalfields includes the Clinch River Valley Initiative (clinchriverva.com) from 2009-2018, a pioneering effort integrating economy, environment and community;
- He chaired the Response to Sexual Violence Working Group appointed by University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan in 2015 that developed consensus recommendations concerning the University’s response to sexual violence.
- He was lead mediator of the Dan River Basin Community Stakeholder Team, convened by IEN and Duke Energy following the company’s release of coal ash and coal ash water into the Dan River from 2014-2015. The Stakeholder Team identified community concerns and developed consensus for solutions that addressed the impacts of the coal ash release on the communities and resources downstream.
- He is co-founder and core faculty member of the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute (www.virginia.edu/ien/VNRLI_home.html), a program that develops collaborative leadership among and between community and advocacy organizations, industry and business, and the public sector.
- He spent seven years mediating national and regional discussions among tobacco farm and public health leaders for the Southern Tobacco Communities Roundtable, resulting in a series of agreements including over $2 billion in funding for tobacco farm regions and tobacco control (public health) efforts.
You may find a video of his talk “Charlottesville and Beyond” at the University of Denver’s Conflict Resolution Institute here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=GaEQha9MxNc
Katherine Evans has been a professor in teacher education at EMU since 2011. She teaches courses in educational psychology, special education, andrestorative justice in education (RJE). She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Research from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville where her dissertation research employed phenomenological interviews with middle school students about their experiences with in-school suspension. Prior to graduate school, Evans was a middle and high school special educator for students identified as having learning, behavioral, and emotional challenges. Her research, teaching, and scholarship focus on ways in which teachers participate in creating more just and equitable educational opportunities for all students, including those with disability labels, those who exhibit challenging behavior, and those who are marginalized for a variety of reasons.
While at EMU, Evans has been active in furthering the field of Restorative Justice in Education (RJE) both through scholarship and teaching and by working collaboratively with the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding to develop an interdisciplinary concentration in RJE within the current Masters in Education degree program. Beginning in the Fall of 2014, the EMU Education Department began offering both a concentration and a certificate in RJE. For more information, please refer to the website: http://www.emu.edu/maed/restorative-justice.
Evans has published several articles and book chapters related to zero tolerance policies, restorative justice, and school discipline practices and regularly presents at professional conferences. Most recently, she and Dr. Dorothy Vaandering published The Little Book of Restorative Justice in Education through Skyhorse Publishing. She is a member of several professional organizations including the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice, the Virginia Association for Community and Restorative Justice, and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
Jacqueline N. Font-Guzmán (Jackie) serves as the inaugural executive director of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), president's office. She is also a tenured professor at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.
Jackie has actively participated in the fields of conflict, peacebuilding studies, and DEI through national and international conferences/workshops. She has conducted a wide variety of trainings and seminars throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America. As part of her international practice and experience, she has provided mediation, facilitation, and consulting services to organizations including the World Health Organization, U.S. Postal Service, Judicial Academy of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, Spain Supreme Court Judicial Council for Continuous Education for Judges, Venezuela Supreme Court, Johnson & Johnson, Raytheon Company, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the Nebraska Bar Association.
Jackie is a Fulbright scholar and her research interests include the following:
- Qualitative research with a focus on the fields of healthcare disparities, interprofessional collaborations, law, citizenship, and conflict engagement. Specifically, how people construct meaning at critical points in their lives to explore the manners in which meaning-making leads them to productively engage with conflict
- How marginalized individuals create alternate stories and counter-narratives to transform (or dismantle) institutional/structural injustices
- Caribbean Studies, Colonialism, Healthcare Disparities, and Identity
Her scholarship has been recognized at the national and international level. Her book, Experiencing Puerto Rican Citizenship and Cultural Nationalism, was selected as the Puerto Rico Bar Association 2015 Juridical Book of the Year in the category of ‘Essay Promoting Critical Thinking and Analysis of Juridical and Social Issues.’ She was also corecipient of the 2012 Madrid Mediators Association Award for Best Publication in Mediation for Mediación y Resolución de Conflictos: Técnicas y Ámbitos.
Jackie received her BA from Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, her Masters in Health Care Administration from Saint Louis University, Missouri, her Law degree summa cum laude from the Interamericana University of Puerto Rico School of Law, and her PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University, Florida.
Jackie is passionate about music and sharing with friends her life, passions, vulnerabilities, strengths, and challenges. She loves the beach and mountains. She also enjoys traveling and reading poetry and literature.
Manuel García Dellacasa is a political economist whose research interests comprise urban development, labor markets, and the care economy. Focusing on Latin America, his work analyzes how urban environments can reproduce economic and gender inequalities even as they provide opportunities to overcome them. García’s research underscores the economic potential of community care as an instrument for growth and equality. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Smith College, where he teaches Political Economy, Development, Introduction to Macroeconomics, and Urban Economics.
Ilinisa has spent the last twenty years at the intersection of social justice and health equity. She has been a co-researcher on numerous photovoice projects with unaccompanied refugee minors and system-impacted youth. Another area of her work includes action research for consortiums of survivor-centered groups in the San Francisco Bay Area. She also has extensive experience as a participatory evaluator helping social service organizations shift towards restorative practice and relational models.
Ilinisa believes that organizations should conduct evaluations and research in line with their values, and center community in the development, evaluation and dissemination of their work. She sees the power of participatory action research as a tool to counter oppression, and loves teaching arts-based and participatory action research methods to communities and students in order to grow our collective ability to imagine and create a more just world.
Ilinisa holds a Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College in Sociology/Anthropology with a minor in
Peace and Conflict Studies, a Master’s in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley in
Health and Social Behavior, and a Graduate Certificate in Restorative Justice from Eastern Mennonite
Economics for Emancipation: The Past and Future of the Freedom Struggle - PAX 523
Jonathan Donald Jenner is an Assistant Professor of Global Political Economy at the University of Manitoba, and on a team of postdoctoral researchers at the South African Research Chair in Industrial Development (SARChI) at the University of Johannesburg. He recently finished his PhD in Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where his research in political economy, economic history, and economic development focused on how colonial economic structures affect economic possibilities today. Jonathan grew up in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and misses playing beach volleyball at SPI as a kid.
Katie Mansfield is the Lead Trainer for the Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) program within Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.
In 2020, she completed and defended her doctoral dissertation, entitled Re-friending the Body: Arts-based, Embodied Learning for Building Resilience. In addition to exploring expressive arts-based, embodied learning, her research required a deep look into whiteness, power oblivion, and shadow. Her doctoral work in Expressive Arts and Conflict Transformation from the European Graduate School (Switzerland) was supervised by Dr. Sally Atkins, with additional committee members Dr. Ram Bhagat and Dr. John Paul Lederach.
Also in 2020, with the onset of the pandemic, Katie started dancing five times a day, inspired by Muslim (and Catholic Worker) commitment to prayer five times daily and Alice Walker's assertion that "hard times require furious dancing." All are welcome to join at Dancing Resilience on facebook. (As of late August 2020, we've now danced more than 800 dances...)
Now more than five years into living in Virginia, Katie has learned to grow some of her own food, and she's thankful to be part of the advisory board of the Drums No Guns Foundation.
Before joining STAR, Katie worked with Mennonite Central Committee Kenya for three years as peacebuilding coordinator. Previously she worked with Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute, researching, writing, planning and network building with initiatives in Colombia, Argentina, Thailand and Nepal and linking Kroc’s alumni network. She also worked with CDA Collaborative Learning Projects’ Listening Project and engaged in peace education work in Davao (Mindanao), Boston, and Delhi. Prior to working in peacebuilding, she worked for eight years with a major multi-national bank in New York and London.
Katie completed her M.A. in International Peace Studies (Kroc Institute) in 2008 and her AB in History at Harvard University in 1996. She has also completed teacher trainings in yoga and healing dance. She studied personal embodiment for three intensive months at the Tamalpa Institute in California in 2014, and she completed a two-year training in Integrative Energetic Medicine with the Whitewinds Featherstone Institute in 2017.
Coming out of graduate school, Tarek Maassarani first engaged in whisleblower advocacy and practiced public interest and human rights in the District of Columbia. Since 2011, Tarek has been an active restorative justice practitioner. Tarek first served as the Restorative Justice Coordinator for the Latin American Youth Center, then transitioned to setting up Prince Georges County's first juvenile justice diversion program in partnership with the Department of Juvenile Services, Prince Georges Police Department, Public Defenders' Office, States Attorneys Office, and Maryland Judiciary. Starting in 2012, Tarek convened and coordinated the DC Alliance for Restorative Practices, a network of practitioners, police, educators, officials, and advocates aimed at supporting the integration of restorative practices in the District. By 2015, as the need for capacity building arose followed an increase interest in Restorative Justice, Tarek co-founded Restorative DC, a project of the local non-profit, SchoolTalk, to provide training and technical support to local schools, agencies, and communities. As part of Restorative DC, Tarek has supported a whole school implementation model and a youth diversion program in partnership with the Department of Human Service's Alternatives to Court Experience (ACE). Tarek trains, advises, and otherwise supports the DC Office of Attorney General, the Nevada Attorney General's office, and Virginia Commonwealth Attorneys offices across three different jurisdictions in implementing Restorative Justice as an alternative to prosecution. Tarek has trained thousands of educators, youth workers, and others around the United States and internationally. Over the years, Tarek has facilitated hundreds of restorative justice processes, including adult cases of sexual and racial harm and community accountability in activist and faith-based groups. Tarek's life passions also includes community organizing, nonviolent action, mediation, dialogue facilitation, and peace education. Tarek descends from a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-faith family, which includes two beloved sons.
Bernie Mayer has provided conflict intervention services for families, schools, public interest groups, communities, NGO’s, unions, corporations, and governmental agencies throughout North America and internationally for over 40 years. He is Professor Emeritus of Conflict Studies, Creighton University, and a founding partner of CDR Associates, a conflict intervention firm headquartered in Boulder, Colorado.
Before focusing on conflict intervention, Bernie was a child and family therapist in New York City and Boulder, Colorado. He has been a long-term social activist, working on a broad array of progressive causes including those supporting gender equality, anti-racism, environmental sustainability, and workers’ rights.
Bernie received a BA from Oberlin College, an MSW from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Denver. He has been a prolific author of books and articles, including The Dynamics of Conflict, Beyond Neutrality, Staying With Conflict, and The Conflict Paradox. He received the 2015 John M. Haynes Distinguished Mediator Award, presented by the Association for Conflict Resolution, the 2013 President’s Award and the 2009 Meyer Elkin Award presented by the Association of Family Conciliation Courts, and has twice received the CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution’s Book of the Year Award.
Bernie lives in Kingsville, Ontario with his wife, Julie Macfarlane.
Mikayla Waters-Crittenton- McCray serves as the Assistant Director of Student Accountability and Restorative Justice and as a Residence Director for Eastern Mennonite University. Prior to joining the EMU team, Mikayla worked to advance the awareness, and research around restorative practices in the context of domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence at Impact Justice. Mikayla trained national organizations across the US in restorative justice and is a certified rape crisis counselor. She earned an MA in Restorative Justice from Eastern Mennonite University and her undergraduate degrees in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Mary Baldwin University.
Claudia Costa Moreira is Director of Tearfund in Brazil, a Christian international humanitarian organization that has partnered for over 50 years with churches and community-based organizations to reduce poverty and injustice. She is Second Vice President of the Governing Council of the Brazilian Evangelical Christian Alliance. Claudia earned an M.A. in Conflict Transformation from EMU's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding with a Practicum on Leadership for Peacebuilding. She teaches the courses 'Peacebuilding and the Mission' and 'From Conflict to Reconciliation: a Journey with God' at Servant of Christ Theological Seminary in São Paulo. A STAR practitioner, Claudia has been giving seminars on 'Trauma and Resilience' and 'Organizational Trauma and Resilient Leadership' to leaders of social movements, humanitarian organizations and churches.
Her professional career includes 12 years working with World Vision Brazil, where she served as Director of Marketing and Fundraising. Claudia holds a degree in Business Administration and Marketing and specialized in Administration of Non-Profit Organizations. She is also Executive and Life Coach certified by the Integrated Coach Institute (ICI), an affiliate of ICF - International Coaching Federation. She has contributed chapters to the books "Unidade Perfeita" (Perfect Union) and "Raízes de um Evangelho Integral" (Roots of an Integral Gospel), soon to be published.
Claudia has worked across sectors, in international and cross-cultural environments, all the while leading, engaging, and inspiring diverse groups of people in change processes in adverse contexts. She describes herself as a lifelong learner, who thrives in new and challenging endeavors with the ultimate goal of contributing towards a more just world, as she integrates faith and work. She resides in São Paulo with her husband Paulo.
Kajungu Mturi is a graduate of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. Originally from Tanzania, East Africa, he worked in Zambia with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) under the Brethren In Christ (BIC) Church as a Peace Education Coordinator from 2013-2016. He coordinated Peace Clubs in 12 BIC schools and trained church leaders to address issues of gender-based violence and conflict transformation in more than 100 BIC churches in Zambia. He also worked with Prison Fellowship in Zambia on education and coordinating peace clubs for inmates and prison officers. Currently, he is working with Harrisonburg City Public School as a families outreach especially for the refugees’ families. In addition, he facilitates workshops on domestic violence and trauma healing with the Congolese community who live in Harrisonburg.
Bridget Mullins is a process designer, facilitator, artist, and independent consultant serving justice and equity-focused nonprofit organizations, community groups, and higher ed institutions. She specializes in helping teams unleash their creative, collaborative, and innovative capacity and is known for her engaging and (seriously) playful facilitation style. Her practice is infused with embodied and creative techniques from over a decade of experience with applied theatre, improvisation, and vocal performance. She enjoys experimenting with simple interaction structures to design engaging and effective processes for dialogue, strategic planning, person-centered organizational change, and collaborative learning, both in person and online. Before founding her own consulting practice, Bridget worked for 8+ years facilitating experiential learning programs for youth and young adults in partnership with U.S. and internationally-based NGOs. She has worked in more than 10 countries, particularly in Central and South America. These powerful and complex experiences fueled her passion for distributive and participatory approaches to dialogue and change-making and led her to complexity science and Liberating Structures, essential elements of her practice.
Bridget doubles as an actor with Pittsburgh Playback Theatre, Engagement Instigator with CreativeMornings/Pittsburgh, and occasional designer of zines. She loves zipping around on her bike, staying curious, and developing authentic relationships.
B.A. in Peace Studies and Music from the University of Notre Dame and M.A. from the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University.
Leanne Nurse is an environmental protection specialist with decades of experience in regional, national and international environmental collaboration and conflict resolution; environmental justice; climate change adaptation; and religion and environment programs. She specializes in convening difficult conversations about natural resource issues, helping parties recognize assets and assess vulnerabilities; design effective dialogue and learning processes; and reach common ground. Her work is grounded on principles of equity, inclusion and diversity.
Leanne earned an MA in Conflict Analysis and Engagement from Antioch University. She graduated from
the University of Virginia’s Natural Resources Leadership Institute, serving as a frequent contributor to
their programs. She was a fellow at Tufts University’s Summer Civics Institute and studied deliberative
democracy at the London School of Economics.
She also served on the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation’s board of directors (editor for
“Core Principles for Public Engagement”) and was an elected board member for IAP2’s (International
Association for Pubic Participation) US affiliate. Leanne was a broadcast journalist and a community
organizer prior to her career at the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Leanne is an adviser in her Buddhist community’s global network, coordinating peace, justice and
community relations projects. Her hobbies are fiber arts and jazz.
David Nyiringabo is a STAR practitioner and trainer. David has a Master’s of Arts in Conflict Transformation from the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, Eastern Mennonite University and a Bachelor of Development in Peacebuilding and Development from the Protestant University of Rwanda. David is passionate about any type of work that aims at freeing people from violence and poverty. Having grown up in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, David has worked and lived in war zones. He is a big fan of comedy, fishing, videography, action movies and traveling. He finds comedy therapeutic and truth revealing.
David works at World Vision-US as a Business Development manager. His current portfolio covers Emergency Response projects in Central African Republic, Uganda, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Venezuela, Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Before joining World Vision, David worked for Braley and Thompson, Inc. as Case Manager in Harrisonburg, Virginia. During his course of study at EMU, David worked as the Community Building Coordinator for the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding for one year and as Community Advisor at the Summer Peacebuilding Institute in 2019.
Prior to coming to the United States, David lived and worked in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In DR Congo David worked as the Assistant Coordinator at Congo Peace Network; while in Rwanda David worked as the Deputy Assistant Coordinator for the Great Lakes Christian Peacebuilders Network. David is a member of the Inspired Individuals Community of Tearfund UK.
Dr. Christina Parker is an Associate Professor in Social Development Studies at Renison University College at the University of Waterloo. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development and a Master’s of Teaching from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and is an Ontario Certified Teacher. Dr. Parker has taught conflict resolution and restorative justice in education since 2009, beginning first at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto. She has also led the Summer Peacebuilding Institute for the Consortium for Peace Studies at the University of Calgary. As a restorative justice practitioner and researcher, she focuses on how dialogic pedagogies facilitate inclusive spaces where all students can participate and have their voices heard. She has published several academic articles on peacebuilding education, restorative justice, multiculturalism, and anti-racist education. She is the author of Peacebuilding, Citizenship, and Identity: Empowering Conflict and Dialogue in Multicultural Classrooms and co-editor of Finding Refuge in Canada: Narratives of Dislocation. For more information, visit www.drchristinaparker.com.
Gaurav J. Pathania is a sociologist of higher education and currently teaches at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding in Eastern Mennonite University at Harrisonburg in Virginia. He has previously taught at Georgetown University, Catholic University of America and George Washington University in Washington, DC. Gaurav also served as a visiting scholar to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and at University of Southern California. His ethnographic research in cultural sociology addresses issues of caste, class and racial discrimniation among diaspora and focuses on contemporary identity movements among university students in the U. Gaurav has recently authored his first book, The University as a Site of Resistance: Identity and Student Politics (Oxford University Press, 2019). He is part of the editorial board of South Asia Research Journal of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Gaurav is an anti-caste writer, poet and activist, and currently working on his memoir. Gaurav won the national poetry award for 2016 organized by the Poetry Society of India. His anti-caste poetry appears in J-Caste journal published by Brandeis University.
Gloria Rhodes is associate professor of peacebuilding and conflict studies at EMU. As a faculty member at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, she teaches conflict and peacebuilding theory, personal formation for peacebuilding practice, and conflict analysis. She also teaches courses in conflict transformation and peacebuilding for the undergraduate program and the Masters of Nursing program. She has led semester and summer cross cultural programs in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Russia, South Korea and the Navajo Nation. She has served as Department Chair of EMU's Applied Social Science Department, Administrative Director of the Summer Peacebuilding Institute at EMU and as a program assistant for the National Conference on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution. Her areas of expertise include peacebuilding curriculum development and pedagogy, conflict assessment and situation analysis, practice-related research, group facilitation and mediation, enneagram training, and cross cultural education. She holds a PhD in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University.
Jonathan Swartz serves as Eastern Mennonite University’s Director of Residence Life, Student Accountability, and Restorative Justice. Jonathan also served as EMU’s Restorative Justice Coordinator from 2014-2017. Jonathan has taught courses as an adjunct professor in the Bible and Religion Department at EMU and has been a frequent guest lecturer in graduate and undergraduate courses in Restorative Justice. Jonathan has also taught leadership and first year seminar courses at EMU.
Along with serving as a certified trainer/instructor for the Green Dot violence prevention program at EMU, Jonathan has planned and implemented workshops and trainings to prevent sexual harm. In addition, Jonathan has served as a trainer with EMU’s STAR (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience) program - and has co-created and co-facilitated multi-day trainings on Restorative Justice, Trauma Awareness, and Resilience.
Jonathan obtained his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Bethel College (Mishawaka, IN), a Masters of Divinity (MDiv) degree from Eastern Mennonite Seminary (2014) and a Masters in Conflict Transformation (MACT) degree from the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University (2014). During seminary and graduate school studies at EMU, Jonathan served as a Campus Ministries Intern and as Restorative Justice Facilitator/Assistant Residence Director in Residence Life.
Jonathan’s research, reading, and practitioner interests include theology and race/whiteness, restorative justice practice and theory – including/especially RJ and race, healing and reconciliation, gender and masculinity studies, and contemporary justice/peace movements.