Restoring Community

***April 3, 2018: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

Leading & Sustaining Change: The International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Canada Conference

April 30-May 2, 2018
ON, Canada
Holiday Inn Toronto International Airport

Over the past 20 years, restorative practices and restorative justice have made great strides to connect people and communities, strengthen relationships and repair harm. During the IIRP Canada Conference, scholars and practitioners from across Canada and around the world will share exciting developments and engage in conversations around how to foster these kinds of changes in society as a whole.

Speakers and panels will examine restorative practices in schools, criminal and youth justice, Indigenous communities and workplaces. More than 80 inspiring breakout sessions will also be featured.

To learn more about the conference and register go to:


  • Welcome Keynote: Anthony Housefather, MP,Chairman of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for the Canadian House of Commons 
  • An Evidence-Based, Indigenous Model of Restorative Practice: Dr. Patti LaBoucane-Benson, Director of Research, Training & Communication, Native Counselling Services of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
  • The Times They Are A Changin’: Restorative Practice and the Workplace: Anne Martin, Ph.D., Director of Restorative Practice Services, Shalem Mental Health Network, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • Teaching Leadership to Aboriginal Youth: Bryan Trottier, Leadership Teacher to Aboriginal Youth, Hockey Hall of Fame and NHL Top 100
  • Transforming Corrections in Ontario: Howard Sapers, Independent Advisor on Corrections Reform, Government of Ontario, Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • Restorative Practices in the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board: Joseph Tompkins, Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, Peterborough, ON, Canada
  • FaithCARE – 10 Years In: What We’ve Learned, Challenges We’ve Faced: Mark Vander Vennen, Executive Director, Shalem Mental Health Network in Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • Nurturing Wisdom, Courage and the Heart for Change: Alice G. Thompson, CEO, Black Family Development, Inc., Detroit, Michigan, USA
  • Some Challenges in Sustaining Restorative Justice in the Criminal Justice System: Tim Chapman, Chair, European Forum for Restorative Justice and Lecturer, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, UK

About the IIRP

The International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) is the world's first graduate school wholly devoted to developing the emergent social science of restorative practices. In addition to offering a Master of Science in Restorative Practices and a Graduate Certificate via online and hybrid learning, the IIRP is a world leader in restorative practices professional development. Our faculty, instructors, international affiliates, partners and licensed trainers collaborate to develop the practice, theory and research that underpins our work of 'restoring community' throughout the world in the fields of education, justice, social work, family and community development, leadership and organizational management. Learn more at

About IIRP Canada

IIRP Canada was founded in 2008 as an international affiliate of the International Institute for Restorative Practices to offer training and consulting in restorative practices across Canada. IIRP Canada works with schools, facilities, justice, community programs, indigenous groups, workplaces, faith groups and families, with a focus on strengthening relationships and repairing harm as a way of building community. IIRP Canada Regional Representative Gayle Desmeules, who is of Métis descent, is heading an initiative seeking solutions to better the lives of the Indigenous people of Canada. Learn more at

About Restorative Practices
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. Restorative practices is being applied in K-12 and higher education; community health; organizational leadership; criminal justice; and counseling and social work.

Bruce Schenk, Director
The International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Canada
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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***September 11, 2017: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

IIRP World Conference to Explore
the Future of Learning in the 21st Century

The International Institute for Restorative Practices Graduate School presents:
Learning in the 21st Century: A Restorative Vision, its 23rd World Conference
October 23-25, 2017
Hotel Bethlehem and IIRP Campus, Bethlehem, PA.

The conference convenes a diverse community of education practitioners, scholars and advocates working together to strengthen civil society. Throughout the three days we will explore how to build supportive school communities.

***August 9, 2017 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

IIRP Graduate School Awards First Shawn Suzch Scholarships, Supporting Innovative, Aspirational Students

Melissa Ash crop copyMelissa AshClaire Fall16 LR 1cropped CropClaire SinclairClaire Sinclair, a kindergarten teacher in Maplewood, N.J., and Melissa Ash, of Easton, Pa., an outreach educator at Lehigh Valley Crime Victims Council, have been awarded the first annual Shawn Suzch Scholarships by the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School.

Claire employs restorative practices in her kindergarten class to enable the children to get to know each other and build empathy, holding "circles" twice daily.

***July 6, 2017 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

IIRP Symposium to Explore Concrete Techniques and Alternative Approaches for Transforming Trauma

Led by Dr. Frida Rundell, IIRP associate professor and educational psychologist with over 30 years of experience working with at-risk youth and families, the symposium will provide a blend of theory, academic research and practical knowledge for developing healthy habits, pathways to healing and self-care.

***June 20, 2017 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

IIRP Graduate School Welcomes New Faculty Member

Gina AbramsGina Baral Abrams, Dr.P.H.

The IIRP (International Institute for Restorative Practices) Graduate School, in Bethlehem, Pa., is pleased to welcome Gina Baral Abrams, Dr.P.H., as the new Director of Research and Program Evaluation and Assistant Professor.

Most recently, Dr. Abrams has been teaching research methods in the online M.S.W. program at Boston University School of Social Work. She was previously Special Assistant to the Vice Provost for Student Affairs at Lehigh University and Director for Health Promotion and Wellness at Princeton University.

Dr. Abrams's background in public health, social work, and educational statistics, measurement and evaluation will enable her to contribute to the growth of the Graduate School. And her experience in mixed-methods research, program evaluation and online teaching, as well as two decades working in higher education, will provide valuable learning opportunities for our students.

***June 1, 2016 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

Detroit to Become a "Restorative City"

The International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) is embarking on an unprecedented initiative to improve the lives of children and families in Detroit, through a "whole-neighborhood" approach that mobilizes individuals to be active stewards of their community. "Toward a Restorative City: Focus on Schools and Sustainability for the City of Detroit," aims to embed restorative practices in neighborhoods, schools and systems, aided by a multi-year grant from the Skillman Foundation, starting with $250,000 for 2016.

The nation's largest provider of restorative practices professional development and the world's only graduate school dedicated to the practices, the IIRP is excited to participate in this groundbreaking project, along with Detroit nonprofit, Black Family Development, Inc. (BFDI), an IIRP partner.