Executive Director (retired), Shalem Mental Health Network, Ontario, Canada

Mark Vander Vennen, M.A., M.Ed, R.S.W., is a marriage and family therapist and registered social worker living in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada. In 2020 Mark retired as Executive Director of the Shalem Mental Health Network in Ontario, a position he held since 2004. Since retirement, Mark has remained actively engaged in Shalem’s aim to exemplify restorative practices as a comprehensive way of thinking and being, participating in Shalem’s variety of specific restorative programs, including FaithCARE (Faith Communities Affirming Restorative Experiences), the Centre for Workplace Engagement, EduCARE and Restorative Families. 

Mark is a licensed trainer of the IIRP and has presented at numerous IIRP World Conferences. As a social worker who has coordinated services for children and youth with complex needs, he has testified in both criminal and family courts and has seen firsthand the negative impact of the adversarial justice system. He is the coauthor of Hope in Troubled Times: A New Vision for Confronting Global Crises, Foreword by Desmond Tutu, author of “Towards A Relational Theory of Restorative Justice” in Restorative Theory in Practice, ed. Belinda Hopkins (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016), and coauthor of “Can we talk but still stay together: Using restorative practice to address conflict in faith communities” (Christianity and Social Work, 2021).

Board member since 2019