In a thought-provoking presentation, Professor David Karp, renowned for his contributions to restorative justice in community and educational settings, unveiled the vision and mission behind the Restorative Justice Research Community (RJRC). Recognized for his extensive research, awards, and leadership roles, Karp’s initiative aims to foster connections, creativity, and collaboration in the field of restorative justice (RJ)
Housed under the funding wing of the National Center on Restorative Justice (USA), the RJRC promises to be an interdisciplinary academic haven. A place where scholars, researchers, and thought leaders can come together to mold the future trajectory of RJ research and inspire the upcoming generation of RJ enthusiasts.
Karp, currently serving as the director of the Center for Restorative Justice at the University of San Diego, outlined the multifaceted activities the RJRC has embarked upon. Each initiative, designed using a model of inclusive community engagement, is a testament to the community’s commitment to deepening the understanding and applications of RJ research.
First and foremost, the Fellowship Program, described by Karp as a “think-tank”, serves as a platform for scholars to address and explore the pressing challenges faced in the RJ domain. Meanwhile, the Restorative Inquiry initiative focuses on curriculum affiliates, aiming to advance restorative research methodologies and their applications in real-world settings.
Furthermore, the community will host a range of events, including the notable Justice Scholars seminar series and a biennial gathering. Such events are geared towards creating an atmosphere where scholars can collectively concentrate on addressing the needs and practical applications of RJ research.
Karp also introduced the audience to the RJRC’s digital treasure trove – the RJ library. This online reference database will house a plethora of peer-reviewed research articles, tools, methodologies, and much more, making it a go-to resource for anyone interested in the RJ field
However, what made Karp’s presentation particularly compelling was the underlying belief of the RJRC. To make tangible, real-world changes through RJ research, it is quintessential to remain anchored in restorative principles and values. Additionally, the community staunchly believes in transcending traditional boundaries, and encouraging interdisciplinary work across different sectors, disciplines, and even geographies.
With a career spanning multiple decades, Karp’s credentials, including a BA in peace and conflict studies from the University of California at Berkeley and a PhD in sociology from the University of Washington, make him an ideal champion for the RJRC’s mission. His numerous academic publications, books, and awards are a testament to his unwavering dedication to the field of restorative justice.
In conclusion, David Karp’s introduction of the Restorative Justice Research Community is a monumental step forward in the realm of RJ research. By cultivating a space for collaboration, innovation, and community engagement, the RJRC is poised to pave the way for groundbreaking discoveries and advancements in restorative justice, benefitting communities and individuals alike.