About - Center for Justice and Peacebuilding

The Center for Justice & Peacebuilding (CJP) was established at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in 1994 to further the personal and professional development of individuals as peacebuilders and to strengthen the peacebuilding capacities of the institutions they serve.  The program is committed to supporting justice advocacy, conflict transformation and peacebuilding efforts at all levels of society in situations of complex, protracted, violent or potentially violent, social conflict anywhere in the world.

Open to people from all countries and all religious traditions, CJP is an outgrowth of the centuries-old peace-church tradition. The program started as an active expression of the values of peace and nonviolence, social justice, public service, reconciliation, personal wholeness, and appreciation for diversity of all types as those were manifested in the Mennonite experience in domestic and international service in the areas of disaster response, humanitarian relief, socio-economic development, and conciliation. CJP quickly became a convening location for participants from similar organizations and other faith traditions working on promoting reconciliation and building sustainable peace in deeply divided societies.

CJP includes Graduate Programs in Conflict Transformation, Restorative Justice, and Transformational Leadership as well as the Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI), Strategies for Trauma Awareness & Resilience (STAR), and the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice. SPI supports a wide variety of short-term courses that may be taken for graduate credit or for training. STAR offers courses that prepare participants to understand and address the impacts of trauma on communities as well as individuals with a particular focus on the traumas caused by overt violence and by the protracted experience of living in systems of oppression and injustice. The Zehr Institute offers webinars and convenes participants interested in approaching the problems of responding to harm in restorative ways. 

Graduate Programs

CJP offers an MA or Graduate Certificate in Conflict Transformation or Restorative Justice and an MA in Transformational Leadership.  The graduate programs are designed to accommodate busy practitioners by offering full- and limited-residency formats.  The 15 or 18-credit Graduate Certificates offer students the opportunity to focus on specific areas of personal interest within the graduate degree curriculum. Graduate certificates are useful for adding new skills and knowledge to other professional disciplines. Or they may be used to test the waters before enrolling in a degree program. All courses taken for a certificate can be transferred into one of the degree programs. 

CJP is committed to creating and sustaining a mutual learning community that values the diversity and rich experience of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni.  The program places a high value on the relationships developed in this community and hopes they will become the basis for long-term partnerships and continued mutual support and learning.

The program is practice-oriented; faculty hold terminal degrees and they are also practitioners who organize learning experiences to prepare practitioners, and the student body is made up of peacebuilding and justice practitioners from around the world. Students who relocate to Harrisonburg for the programs engage in mentored practice throughout the program; with faculty and staff support. See http://emu.edu/cjp/grad/ for more information. As more students are enrolling in online or hybrid courses and staying in their own communities while they study, we are working to connect them with the almost 700 alumni of the degree programs and our extensive network of colleagues. The faculty try to provide assignment options that can be tied to a student’s work or volunteer activities.

The Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) 

The Summer Peacebuilding Institute is the interface between applied research, field work, and academic work.  SPI provides specialized, intensive courses that are of specific benefit for practitioners working in situations of protracted conflict.  The courses may be taken for academic credit or for professional training.  SPI attracts between 150-200 participants from more than 40 different countries each year.  EMU hosts SPI participants for six weeks in May and June of each year, during which time 15-20 courses are offered. Many MA and Graduate Certificate students enroll in SPI classes, particularly those students who are pursuing a degree in a limited-residency format.  SPI is designed to minimize the need for students to be away from their job and community for long periods of time. See http://www.emu.edu/cjp/spi/ for more information. In 2020, in response to the pandemic, SPI moved online and again in 2021. Online training only courses were offered in February and March 2021. In the future, we plan to return to on-campus courses in 2022 while continuing to offer online courses at other times during the year.

Strategies for Trauma Awareness & Resilience (STAR)

STAR is a trauma awareness and resilience program that brings together theory and practices from neurobiology, conflict transformation, human security, spirituality, and restorative justice to address the needs of trauma-impacted individuals and communities. STAR seeks to prepare individuals and communities to transform trauma and build resilience. Individuals can enroll in STAR for training or for credit. See http://www.emu.edu/cjp/star/about/ for more information.

The Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice

The Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice, founded in 2012, promotes dialogue and networking within the restorative justice field and provides education and training through web-based and onsite programs.

Mission Statement:

The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) educates a global community of peacebuilders through the integration of practice, theory, and research.

Vision Statement:

Preparing, transforming, and sustaining leaders to create a just and peaceful world.


The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding is a program of Eastern Mennonite University, an institution grounded in Anabaptist theology, life, and values.

CJP strives to practice and model holistic and values-based peacebuilding. Our values are visible in our processes and actions as we:

  • embrace nonviolence, right relationships, and just community in our lives and practice

  • honor human dignity, diversity, interdependence, and equality

  • foster respect, trust, and collaboration across faith traditions, cultures, and worldviews

  • ensure accountability, participation, and transparency

  • challenge ourselves and others to continual learning and growth

  • support the resilience and the sustainability of CJP/EMU and partner organizations by emphasizing personal, relational, spiritual, environmental, and financial well-being

  • offer hospitality, develop relationships, and build inclusive community with both individuals and institutions

  • focus on positive long-term and deep-rooted change that links personal and social transformation

  • recognize and draw on the capacity for peace in faith-based, spiritual, and secular philosophies

  • work to dismantle systems of oppression, including using our resources to proactively counter the drive towards economies of extraction of wealth (in all its forms) from communities

  • cultivate leadership at all levels and in all positions and promote a model of shared leadership when working with communities