Restoring Community

A Science of Human Dignity

The desire to be treated with “dignity” is a universal component of human experience. This is the foundation of my recent paper, A Science of Human Dignity. Across time and cultures, human beings have expressed this desire in a multitude of ways.

There are three dimensions of human dignity that are clearly evident within restorative practices scholarship — expressed as three areas of universal human need. These are the need to belong and to have voice and agency.

Regardless of the many things that divide us, we all seek strong, meaningful and lasting bonds with others (the need to belong). Each of us also needs to know that our unique voice will have an opportunity to be heard, and that our personal story matters to those around us (the need to have voice). Lastly, we need regular opportunities to use that belonging and voice to impact the world around us (the need to have agency).

As a new field of inquiry within the social sciences, restorative practices is exploring this fundamental aspect of human experience and applying those insights to some of the world’s most pressing needs and challenges. That is our collective mission.

You’ll find many stories related to our mission in this issue of Restorative Works. In particular, we are thrilled to share some of the groundbreaking work by IIRP students and alumni around the world.

The IIRP Graduate School pursues this work through education, consulting and research. We are international, freestanding and wholly dedicated to restorative practices — the science of relationships and community.

An institution does not need to be large to make a sizeable impact on the world. In this sense, the IIRP Graduate School is at the leading edge of the future of higher education. The complexity of social life and the realities of work in the 21st Century demand modestly scaled, focused and strategic higher education institutions capable of going deep into specific challenges faced by civil society.

Our graduate programs, professional development, conferences and symposia, strategic consulting projects and growing range of research activity provide a global platform for inquiry, influence  and impact.

You can help to magnify that impact today. Please consider donating to the IIRP’s new Impact Scholarships Campaign at You’ll be providing crucial support for real communities and the next generation of changemakers around the world.

John W. Bailie, Ph.D.

Restorative Works