I’ve had the honour of being invited as one of twenty people to present at the first international symposium on restorative justice and human rights in Greece. How could I possibly say no?!

We’ll be meeting June 2-7, on Skopelos Island (yes where the movie Mama Mia was filmed!). I received a lovely letter from the Mayor of Skopelos with beautiful brochures. I already sense this will be a unique and wonderful experience.

The event will take the format of an ancient Greek symposium allowing in-depth discussions around a variety of topics. Here is the abstract I submitted on what I’ll be discussing:

Since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), there is recognition that the inherent worth, dignity, equality, freedom and inalienable rights of every human being is the foundation for justice and peace. How do we actually realize human rights and co-create justice and peace for all? How can we honour the great diversity and differences among us, and connect with one another in a generative way, even when there is conflict or crime? In this paper, I explore human rights, restorative justice, and circles, as concepts and in practice. This exploration includes the interrelationship and synergistic potential between human rights, restorative justice and circles from different perception points. I explore human rights as values and restorative justice as a platform on which these values can actualize in the world. I specifically focus on the contribution of Circle as an effective restorative process and as a powerful application to transform and strengthen people, families, communities, organizations, and nations. Circles represent a fundamental shift in how we can connect with one another and they open up new possibilities for us to realize human rights.

The event is being organized by Dr. Theo Gavrielides, Director of Independent Academic Research Studies (UK), Prof. Vasso Artinopoulou, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences (Greece), and the Hellenic Social Mediation Centre (Greece), with support from the European Public Law Organisation and Mayor of Skopelos.

As the organizers said, it is our hope that “this high profile, focused, scientific and interdisciplinary event will influence and promote restorative justice and human rights issues in academia, research and policy areas internationally”. A more holistic approach to conflict, criminality, and human rights is needed.

I always welcome your comments and insights!