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Peacebuilders’ focus is not solely on what we do, but also how we do it. The restorative dialogue process that we call a Peacebuilding Circle is our fundamental methodology and central to all of our programs and initiatives. Peacebuilding Circles are structured group dialogues based upon traditional Aboriginal healing circle models that have been adapted by Peacebuilders to serve Toronto’s multicultural, urban populations. 

Circles employ a restorative justice approach that facilitates non-confrontational, egalitarian, and healing dialogues between youths and community members. Circles create a safe space and enable people to have respectful conversations about difficult subjects, share different perspectives, accept responsibility for their actions, and re-build relationships.

Peacebuilders is the 2015 Emil Gumpert Award winner of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

The American College of Trial Lawyers is the pre-eminent organization, which recognizes less than 1% of the best trial lawyers in North America as Fellows.

The prestigious Emil Gumpert Award (named in honour of the College’s first President) was established to support new programs with a primary purpose of maintaining and improving the administration of justice. The Award is in the amount of $100K (US). Because of the prestige associated with it, the Award is often used to leverage additional funding from private donors and government.

The Extra Judicial Measures Pilot Project will extend Peacebuilders’ restorative justice work with Toronto’s at risk children and youth and expand it into the Jane and Finch and Regent Park communities. Peacebuilders will be working more closely with Toronto Police Service and establishing a much earlier point of diversion of young people. In that sense, it is very much aligned with the Justice on Target initiatives.

Instead of waiting for months and years to be referred to a diversion program, young people will be able to be diverted very close to the time that an incident occurs.

Recent winners of the Award include:

  • The Human Trafficking Courts Project of New York’s Urban Justice Center (2014).
  • The Miller Resentencing Project of the Florida State University College of Law Children in Prison Project to assist juveniles sentenced to life imprisonment without parole (2013)
  • The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Arizona (2012),
  • Pro Bono Law Ontario in 2009.

Peacebuilders International (Canada) is honoured to be the 2015recipient of the Emil Gumpert Award!