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.
Key Concepts of Peacemaking Circles
- Circles are fundamentally democratic – allowing equal space for each participant to speak and to have and equal voice in the decisions that are made.
- Circles assume that not one of us has the whole picture– that it is only by exchanging and sharing of our perspectives that we can learn more about each other and come closer to a complete picture.
- Circles enable respectful and reflective dialogue even in very emotional situations.
- Circles create a safe space for participants to share their private thoughts in confidence.
- Circles are based on an assumption of positive potential – that something good can always come out of whatever situation we are in.