Mark Umbreit

biography type
Founding Director

Dr. Mark Umbreit is a Professor and founding Director of the Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking at the University  of Minnesota, School of Social Work. Mark serves on the faculty of the Center for Spirituality & Healing in the Academic  Health Center at the University of Minnesota, teaching courses on Peacebuilding Through Mindfulness Practice, and  Forgiveness & Healing. He also serves as a Visiting Professor at the Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee teaching a course on Peacemaking and Spirituality. In past years, Mark has also served as a Fellow of the International Centre  for Healing and the Law, and a Fellow of the Center for Contemplative Practice in Society. He is an internationally  recognized practitioner and scholar with more than forty years of experience as a facilitator of dialogue, peacemaker, trainer,  teacher, researcher, and author of 12 books and more than 200 other publications in the fields of restorative justice,  mediation, spirituality, forgiveness, and peacemaking. Over the past three decades, Dr. Umbreit has provided consultation  and conducted training seminars and lectures in 29 countries (in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Mideast, and North and South  America) and nearly every state of the U.S.).

As a practitioner, he periodically facilitates peace-building circles in the community, and restorative dialogues between  family survivors of homicide or other victims of severe violence and the offender in their quest for healing and strength. Over  recent years he has worked with colleagues in Northern Ireland, Italy, Liberia, and Israel/Palestine on peace building  initiatives. In recent years he has been working extensively with the Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul in the wake of  criminal and civil ligation related to a long history of massive clergy sexual abuse. Restorative justice was listed in the final  settlement agreement as a key requirement of fostering accountability and healing. 

Mark has provided technical assistance and training in support of restorative justice initiatives and victim offender  mediation/conferencing programs in hundreds of communities in the U.S. and many countries. Dr. Umbreit’s multi-site and  multi-national research has contributed significantly to restorative justice policy development in the U.S. and other countries,  as well as providing resource materials and guidance to practitioners. Mark recently worked as a Senior International  Consultant with the United Nations Development Program and the Ministry of Justice in Turkey to support their legislative  efforts to implement victim offender mediation throughout the country. At the National Restorative Justice Conference in  June of 2013 Dr. Umbreit was elected the founding President of the new National Association for Community and  Restorative Justice in the U.S. and was re-elected to a second term. Dr. Umbreit is currently working with the United Nations  Development Program and the criminal justice and corrections system in Brazil. In September of 2019, the International  Association of Schools of Social Work recognized Dr. Umbreit among the 50 most notable social workers in American  history, based on his global impact as a practitioner and scholar. Mark was also ranked among the 50 most influential  contemporary social work faculty in the U.S., by the Journal of Social Service Research based on the depth and range of his  work as a practitioner and scholar. In recognition of his decades of service and peacemaking work, Legacy magazine  dedicated a feature piece on Mark in their Summer 2017 issue. Exploring Mark's organic teaching methodology through the  energy of storytelling, Legacy magazine creates a snapshot of Mark's pioneering research and its impacts on our  communities, both locally and abroad.

Dr. Umbreit's bio
Dr. Umbreit's short CV
"Peace Takes Practice": a story about Mark and his work

photo of founder Mark Umbreit