"Conflict, Violence, and Reconciliation": An Undergraduate Workshop on Restorative Justice
February 4-5, 2011
This workshop opened on Friday evening with a working supper and a viewing and discussion of Facing the Demons, a film about a robbery-murder in Australia and its aftermath. The film documents the meeting between the family, friends, and coworkers of the victim, and the offenders and their family. Judah Schept, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Criminal Justice and a community organizer with Decarcerate Monroe County, led a conversation on the benefits, drawbacks, and implications of efforts to bring about victim-offender reconciliation. Students were then assigned different roles, either as a party in a conflict or a mediator, for the next day's session. On Saturday, participants received instruction in the methods, skills, and techniques of restorative justice and then play their roles in a restorative justice conference, under the guidance of Edwin Greenbaum of the Community Justice and Mediation Center, Sally Jones of the Student Advocates Office, and Lisa Bingham and Nan Stager of SPEA. After considering what went well, what went wrong, and what could have been done differently, participants then focused on and played roles in perhaps the broadest method of conflict resolution, the truth-and-reconciliation commission, with the example of Rwanda, under the guidance of Marvin Sterling of the Department of Anthropology. This workshop was organized by Extracurricular Programs Committee member Ronak Shah and was co-sponsored by the Wells Scholars Program.