The Centre's commitment to restorative practices

Monday, April 22, 2024

The Centres Commitment to Restorative Practices

The new Restorative Justice (RJ) Specialization for Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) Major students and Diploma for all University of Waterloo students is now available! Throughout the years the Centre for Peace Advancement has hosted many participants with restorative justice expertise, including those working with Grebel Peace Incubator start-ups and Core Collaborators, researchers, and students.  

past and present coordinators
Fatoumatta to the left, Michelle in the middle and Teresa to the left 

Former Centre for Peace Advancement Coordinator and current Grebel Peace Incubator participant Michelle Jackett is a team member at Just Outcomes, a consulting firm that supports communities and organizations in reimagining just responses to harm and its causes. Michelle herself has been committed to building just and trauma-informed communities using restorative approaches for the past fifteen years. This has included co-teaching PACS 329: Restorative Justice at Conrad Grebel University College from 2013-2023 and co-authoring The Little Book of Restorative Justice for Sexual Abuse: Hope through Trauma, published in 2015. Michelle is one of the many people who helped bring the RJ Specialization to fruition. 

Outgoing Centre Coordinator Fatoumatta Camara researched the alignment between restorative justice and traditional justice in The Gambia for a course in her Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies program at Grebel. Prior to colonialism there were no prisons in The Gambia, and the community would meet in a circle under the baobab tree to hear from the person who had caused harm and to decide by consensus what consequences would be appropriate. Like RJ, this enables those who have caused harm to take accountability for their actions as a whole person, in a unique situation, and as part of a wider community. 

Returning Centre Coordinator Teresa Edge worked as a Restorative Justice Co-Ordinator at District Court for a few years in Aotearoa New Zealand, where restorative justice is embedded in the formal justice system. She later worked as a Restorative Justice facilitator, mainly facilitating cases related to car crashes, burglaries, and assaults. In Kitchener-Waterloo, Teresa continues to practice restorative justice as a volunteer with the Community Justice Initiatives in their Restorative Responses to Harm or Crime and Community Mediation programs. 


Former Centre Program Assistant (and communications intern for Project Ploughshares) Selah Woelk is a current PACS student. Selah also did a practicum placement with The Ripple Effect Education (TREE) for a Social Development Studies course on Restorative Justice in Education. She is passionate about community-based peacebuilding and restorative justice. Speaking with people like Michelle and taking RJ courses opened her eyes to new possibilities to move forward with seeking justice and fostering peace. 


Current volunteer at TREE and past Grebel Peace Society leader Imogen Sloss is a double major in PACS and Psychology. Imogen learned more about restorative justice through PACS 331: Trauma, Healing and Social Transformation, a course she took with Professor Johonna McCants-Turner, and about transformative justice, which looks at the deeper, systemic issues at play.  


Finally, TREE’s Executive Director, Laurel Boytim, is also a MPACS grad and former Community Mediator with CJI who integrates restorative practice into all of TREE’s work. 

The stories of Michelle, Fatoumatta, Teresa, Selah, Imogen and Laurel highlight how Centre for Peace Advancement participants intersect with Restorative Justice in many ways. These are just some of the inspiring people creating peace through the Centre and in our communities. 

Students can learn more online about the academic requirements for the Restorative Justice Specialization and Diploma and how to volunteer with TREE. Members of the public can learn more about restorative practice though Grebel’s Conflict Management certificate program and volunteering with Centre for Justice Initiatives