The IIRP Presidential Paper Series will highlight some of the leading thinkers and new voices in the field of restorative practices, the science of relationships and community. Papers will explore innovative theory and applications in fields such as education, community health, social justice and organizational leadership.

In this series, the IIRP looks forward to pushing the boundaries of this new social science. The series will point to new directions for civil society advocates around the world.

A science of human dignity: Belonging, voice and agency as universal human needs

IIRP President John W. Bailie, Ph.D.

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Abstract: The desire to be treated with dignity is common to all human relationships. This desire manifests as the need to belong, to have voice, and to exercise agency in one’s own affairs. In its concern for these three areas of human need, restorative practices scholarship is beginning to provide a frame for the concept of human dignity that is communicable across cultures and disciplines via the language of the social sciences and testable through experimentation and research.

The science of relationships and community.

All humans are hardwired to connect. Just as we need food, shelter and clothing, human beings also need strong and meaningful relationships to thrive.

Restorative practices is an emerging social science that studies how to strengthen relationships between individuals as well as social connections within communities.

The IIRP Graduate School is devoted to scholarship and research, graduate education, professional development, world conferences and innovative civil society projects around the world.

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Basic Concepts Shape Our Culture

In this issue of Restorative Works, our annual magazine, you will hear about many important projects and stories from around the world. The unifying theme of this issue is that restorative practices is the science of relationships and community. In addition to organizations and schools, these practices and ideas have the power to transform everyday relationships, give regular people more voice, and increase their ability to impact the civil society issues that matter most. This is not a utopian philosophy. On important and complicated issues such as race relations, education reform, policing and civil engagement, this new social science offers no easy solutions. Yet the stories in this issue offer a glimpse into new ways of engaging with our neighbors — especially those with whom we disagree, who see the world differently, and even those whom we might fear. How we relate to everyone within our communities matters more than we might suspect.

At the IIRP Graduate School, we practice what we teach. Over the past year we have begun reexamining our own organizational community and making our collective expectations and commitments more explicit. Through a variety of experiences, we engaged all our staff in reexamining one of the most foundational keystones of our culture: our Basic Concepts. They express, in the clearest way possible, how everyone in the IIRP consortium of organizations is expected to approach relationships, with each other and with those we serve.

These are high expectations. They apply equally to everyone in the organization from the president, to trustees, to our international affiliates, to our CSF Buxmont demonstration programs, to the newest intern. I hope that you, and everyone we serve, will hold the IIRP accountable to these expectations. I also hope that they can serve as inspiration within your own community.

Everything of great value requires great effort. Restoring community requires that we face tough questions, complicated histories and challenging relationships. It is often hard and uncertain work. The IIRP is here to help you in that work, as we know you are here to support us in this mission.

John W. Bailie, Ph.D.

Our Basic Concepts

  • We believe that people are capable of growing and learning in their work and behavior.
  • We respond to situations WITH people, not TO them, FOR them, or NOT at all.
  • We separate the deed from the doer by affirming the worth of the individual while disapproving of inappropriate behavior.
  • People function best in an environment that encourages free expression of emotion — minimizing the negative, maximizing the positive, but allowing people to say what is really on their minds.
  • We are not expected to have all of the answers. Instead of trying to answer or act without adequate knowledge, we need to ask others for help.
  • We hold each other accountable by giving and receiving feedback respectfully.
  • We act as role models by admitting when we are wrong and being humble.
  • We help people develop competencies rather than providing the answers for them.

Restorative Works 2018 CoverDownload Restorative Works Magazine (PDF)

Restorative Works — the IIRP's annual magazine — shows how our students, alumni, faculty and partners have become catalysts for the kind of change we need now. They are helping adults and children in diverse communities stand together, discover their power and create positive change. We hope their stories will inspire you and give you hope for the future.

In this issue:

  • Basic Concepts Shape our Culture — IIRP President John W. Bailie, Ph.D.
  • Alumni Creating Positive Change
  • Faculty Focus on Marginalized Individuals
  • Strengthening the Spirit of Community in Detroit
  • Mending Racial Tensions
  • Collaborating for Equity in Education
  • Ending Gang Violence
  • Keeping Families Together
  • Easing Insecurity and Conflict in Nicaragua
  • and much more...

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2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011

The IIRP is committed to supporting promising individuals in financial need to learn the knowledge and skills to make a lasting positive impact in their communities. Impact Scholarships will provide full tuition and other support for dedicated professionals across the globe.

Your donation will fund students like Arti Mohan, in New Delhi, India. Arti is empowering victims of domestic violence and providing restorative justice to impoverished youth, thanks to her learning in the IIRP Master of Science program.

Give now.

"For communities where violence, impoverishment and marginalization are unimaginably high, I see my work as contributing to making the world a better place."

Arti Mohan ‘19

Work that makes an impact

We began as an international group of practitioners committed to growing a new social science of healthy relationships. Now our institution is recognized throughout the world for its positive contributions to civil society. We provide skills-specific education to scholar-practitioners, focused on real-life professional challenges.

Our alumni form a passionate network of leaders and role models the world desperately needs:

  • In Trinidad, music therapist Keisha Martinez is teaching abandoned children with disabilities the social and emotional skills they need to survive.
  • In Oakland, California, middle school educator Scott Krumsee is enabling students to recover from the emotional trauma of witnessing gun violence.
  • In Cape Town, South Africa, Family Court Magistrate Gabriela McKellar is providing healing and resolution for families embroiled in the trauma of familial litigation.

The IIRP has provided more than $1 million in scholarships since we were accredited as a Graduate School in 2011 — without the benefit of a large endowment, grant funding or the support of a major university.

Please give to Impact Scholarships. You'll be providing crucial support for real communities and the next generation of change makers around the world.

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Learn how to apply for Impact Scholarships.

The International Institute for Restorative Practices is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization as provided by U.S. Internal Revenue Service regulations and is registered as a charitable organization with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, contributions to which are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. The official registration and financial information of the International Institute for Restorative Practices may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement. Tax ID #: 23-3069199


by Ted Wachtel, IIRP Founder

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