Community Partners

Ceema Samimi 

Dr. Ceema Samimi (they/them/theirs) is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. They have been a restorative justice practitioner for over 20 years and have volunteered as a circle facilitator and mediator. Ceema's research examines the intersections of service organizations, societal systems, criminalization, and race, and how these intersections impact young people. Ceema believes that institutions such as the U.S. education system are responsible for uplifting the power of young people and that the school-to-prison pipeline is one of the most egregious displays of youth disempowerment. 

E Ornelas

E Ornelas (they/them/theirs) is a PhD candidate and Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellow at the University of Minnesota. As the descendant of a survivor of the Sherman Institute, a Native boarding school in Riverside, California—and therefore robbed of cultural, linguistic, and tribal identity—E’s research interests focus on the continued survivance and futurity of Indigenous peoples, particularly through the use of literature. E studies community-based, abolitionist-informed responses to gendered, racialized, and colonial violence that Black and Indigenous fiction authors write about.
Contact info: [email protected]

Jennifer Blevins

Jennifer Blevins (she/her/hers) is a Research Assistant for the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work. She has an M.S.W. from the University of Minnesota with a concentration in community practice. Her research interests are in the areas of multiculturalism, the intersection of restorative justice and Islam, violence prevention, restorative dialogue and peacebuilding. Her current focus, Restorative Justice and Islam: Building Bridges of Understanding, is a collaboration with a number of organizations and mosques in the Twin Cities metro area. The goal is to identify and draw from the strengths of traditional community conflict resolution practices within Muslim cultures, and apply those practices to the creation of a culturally congruent restorative dialogue process in current times. 

As an educator, Jennifer has taught classes in rural and urban community organizing and development, group facilitation, restorative justice, conflict management, and working with new immigrant populations. She also assists in teaching courses on forgiveness and healing within the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota.

Jennifer has 25 years of experience working with communities in culturally specific and multicultural settings to identify solutions to community problems, implement action plans and advocate for public policy changes that increase individual and community wellbeing. Her experience includes working with Anishinaabe, Somali, Oromo, Hmong, Mexican, and Ecuadorian community groups to implement multi-year projects. Throughout her tenure as a community-based practitioner, Jennifer has utilized action research, community-based participatory research, asset mapping, and focus groups as part of the community engagement and systems change process. 

Sheryl Wilson

Sheryl Wilson (she/her/hers) is director of the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) and president of the National Association for Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ). She was previously the Executive Director of Southern Truth and Reconciliation (STAR). Sheryl also served on the VOMA Board of Directors. She holds both a B.S. in Mediation and Communication Studies and a restorative justice-based M.L.S. from the University of Minnesota.
[email protected]     More information about Sheryl.

Scott Vollum

Dr. Scott Vollum (he/him/his) is Associate Professor and Department Head in UMD's Department of Anthropology, Sociology & Criminology. At this time, his primary areas of academic interest and research are violence, the death penalty, restorative justice, and moral disengagement. His work on restorative justice includes examining the role of restorative justice in capital cases and in cases of exoneration of wrongfully convicted death row inmates as well as how restorative justice might provide guidance away from these retributive (and destructive) processes. Currently, he is working with Men as Peacemakers on an evaluation of their domestic violence restorative circles program in Duluth, Minnesota.  
[email protected]

National Associates

Marilyn Peterson Armour

Marilyn Peterson Armour, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Besides being a practitioner, she has completed research on meaning making in the aftermath of homicide with specific applications to victim offender mediation and dialogue. [email protected].       More Info    

Janine P. Geske

Janine P. Geske, Distinguished Professor of Law, is the director of the Marquette University Law School Restorative Justice Initiative. The Initiative is committed to supporting victims and communities in the healing process by providing information and training resources, and by facilitating communication.    [email protected]     More Info

Raj Sethuraju

Dr. Raj Sethuraju is an Assistant Professor in the School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University. He teaches courses in Victimology, Restorative Justice, and Diversity Matters for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice undergraduates as well as a Community Building and Civic Leadership class for graduate students. He has over 20 years of experience implementing various Diversity initiatives in universities and colleges and in the communities that surround them. Raj also works and volunteers with various Restorative Justice nonprofit organizations in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. He has presented to Restorative Justice groups in prisons, is a trainer for the MNCOSA program run by the MN Department of Corrections, and is involved in training volunteers for other non-profit community Restorative Justice organizations. His passion for restorative justice using the circle process is infectious and his engaging presentations and workshops are inclusive and humanizing.

International Associates

Jeff Barr
Northern Ireland 

Jeff is the managing director of the Koram Centre in Strabane, N. Ireland.  He is a community development practitioner, trainer, facilitator with experience in mediation, conflict resolution and reconciliation processes with victims and survivors of the conflict in Northern Ireland.  Jeff also holds a number of strategic posts and he is a promoter of empowerment practices that address psycho-social needs and develops social capital.
[email protected]

Munir Ahmed Shaik

Munir holds a master degrees in Economics, and Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice from University of Oxford, with focus on human rights and criminal justice system and transitional and restorative justice. Currently, he is the Senior Superintendent of Police with the Capital City Police Karachi, Pakistan. In 2007, he was selected as a Fulbright Fellow (Hubert Humphrey Fellowship) to enhance his professional and leadership skills as a mid-career professional in the field of restorative justice and peace making.
[email protected]

Ahmed Sirleaf

Ahmed is a Program Associate at The Advocates for Human  Rights focused on coordinating community outreach and international sensitization for the Liberian Truth & Reconciliation Commission's Diaspora Project.  A human rights advocate and scholar, Ahmed has a special interest in efforts to implement transitional justice initiatives in societies that have experienced severe violence. 
[email protected]

Elias Jabbour

Elias is the founder of the House of Hope. An Israeli-Palestinian-Christian-Arab, Elias is a respected practitioner of "sulha," a traditional Palestinian peacemaking process, and a leader of interfaith dialogue and reconciliation in Israel. 
[email protected]

Imho Bae 
South Korea 

Professor, School of Social Work, Soongsil University  
[email protected]

Keswick Chuk
Hong Kong 

Keswick is the Center in-charge of both the ELCHK, Integrated Service Centre for Reconciliation, providing different types of mediation service for the community, and the ELCHK, Youth Enhancement Scheme, providing counseling service to young offenders who cautioned under Police Superintendent Discretion Scheme.
[email protected]

Claudia Mazzucato

Claudia is a Professor of Law at the Catholic University of Milan, where she teaches penal law, criminology and juvenile justice.  She is a mediator for the Milan Office of Penal Mediation and has been appointed as expert on mediation and restorative justice for the Italian Ministry of Justice.  She also participates in international networks on mediation and restorative justice.[email protected]

Noah Salameh 

Noah is the director of  The Center for Conflict Resolution & Reconciliation. He holds a PhD in Conflict Analysis and resolution from Cairo University  and a  M.A. in International Peace Studies from Notre Dame University in 1994 and Dr. Salameh has more than 15 years experience in the field of conflict resolution and reconciliation.
[email protected]

Rina Ritter

Rina is a social worker  and facilitator of Restorative Justice Programs for the Department Welfare in Israel. She lives in the ethnically diverse Galilee, where Jewish-Arab interaction occurs on a daily basis. Rina strives to promote positive interpersonal relations between Jews and Arabs, and, as a Restorative Justice Facilitator, combines her values with a deep sense of compassion and peace-making.
[email protected]