Since 2002, Peacebuilders has sought to establish a restorative approach to preventing and addressing conflict and in helping youth build personal capacity. Our programs have led to partnerships with schools, jails, and various community organizations, as well as the establishment of the very first restorative justice clinic in Toronto at the 311 Jarvis Youth Court.
Origin of Peacebuilders
Peacebuilders International Inc. originated in 2002 as the action plan of youths and adults who were conflict resolution trainers and practitioners from Bosnia, Canada, Colombia, Jamaica, Macedonia, Northern Ireland, South Africa and the United States. Their vision was to promote respectful, equal relationships based on positive values despite ethnic, religious, or other differences. They decided to use Talking Circles as their core methodology to include diverse participants and give them an equal voice.
In 2004 the Peacemaking Circles Pilot Project was launched with funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario to support youths in St. James Town and Regent Park.
In 2006, Eva Marszewski established Peacebuilders International (Canada), known as “Peacebuilders,” as the Canadian Charity that would continue Peacebuilders International’s mission and vision. With funding from Justice Canada, Peacebuilders launched the Youth Circles project, a restorative justice clinic that works with youths from priority neighborhoods across Toronto. Project partners included St. Stephen’s Conflict Resolution Services and Pro Bono Law Ontario.
Since April 2009, Peacebuilders’ own fundraising has supported the Youth Circles Program and the development of additional programs that reach out to youth and communities that have not traditionally had fair access to the justice system, provide a safe and inclusive space for respectful dialogue, and promote community leadership and the use of Peacebuilding Circles in educational and correctional settings.
About Our Founder
Eva E. Marszewski, O. Ont., L.S.M., is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Peacebuilders International (Canada). Currently, she is also an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and has developed and teaches “Law and Social Change: Restorative Justice”. Eva was one of the founders of the SPIDR youth initiative, one of the founders of YouCAN!, a member of the Board of Directors of SPIDR (now ACR), and a member of the Executive of the Ontario Bar Association, ADR Section. She founded the charity, Peacebuilders International (Canada), in 2006. For her pioneering work in adapting Peacebuilding Circles to Toronto’s diverse inner-city communities, Eva was awarded of the prestigious Law Society Medal from the Law Society of Upper Canada, the YMCA Peace Medallion in 2006, the Canadian Congress on Criminal Justices’ Crime Prevention Award in 2007, the Dianne Martin Medal for Social Justice Through Law in 2009, became a Fellow of the Ashoka Foundation in 2010 and on October 3, 2013, became the first recipient of the Roy McMurtry Community Service Award. Eva was most recently awarded the 2015 Order of Ontario, which is the province’s highest official honour recognizing her high level of individual excellence and achievement in Restorative Justice.