Strengthening the Spirit of Community

You may have heard the African proverb, “The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.”

Restorative practices is an emerging social science that tries to address that dilemma by studying how to strengthen relationships between individuals as well as social connections within communities, to foster a more inclusive environment in which all can thrive. It looks at proactively building community, as well as restoring communities with dignity when there has been some harm. K-12 schools, institutions of higher learning and corporations that employ restorative practices have reported drastically reduced rates of absenteeism, disciplinary issues and overturn, with much higher self-reported rates of success and engagement. Restorative practices have also seen great success in the juvenile justice system with regard to rehabilitation, re-entry and recidivism.

The morning symposium will include a keynote address by Jean Michel Habienza, Co-founder and International Coordinator of iDebate Rwanda, who will share how debate has been used in the reconciliation efforts in Rwanda after the genocide. There will then be two consecutive offerings of concurrent breakout sessions on restorative practice basics, those for K-12 and for judicial system reentry efforts. We hope you will consider working this into your syllabus for the fall semester and encouraging your students to attend.

Hosted by the Office of the University Ombuds, the Department of Criminology, the UWG Debate Team and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion