In an enlightening presentation, Dr. Marian Liebmann unfolded a tapestry of cities globally aiming to embrace the mantle of “Restorative Cities”. Leveraging the potency of a Quaker video titled “Building a Restorative and Sustainable City”, Liebmann took her audience on a journey – from the cobbled streets of Europe to the vast expanses of Australia, illustrating the remarkable efforts being made to promote harmony, mitigate conflict, and truly embody the principles of restorative justice.
For those unfamiliar with the term, restorative justice seeks to heal and rehabilitate, focusing on reconciling offenders with their victims and the wider community. But Liebmann’s presentation extended beyond mere definitions. Through practical examples showcased in the video, she demonstrated its application in a myriad of situations: schools navigating student conflicts, communities grappling with drug addiction, and even the armed forces implementing restorative processes.
One of the most poignant aspects of the presentation was the linkage of restorative practices with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set for 2030. Here was a clear call-to-action, an alignment of global efforts towards creating societies that are both restorative and sustainable. Liebmann deftly drew connections between the holistic approach of restorative justice and the broader aims of the SDGs, from promoting peace and justice to ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education.
Dr. Liebmann’s credentials speak volumes of her commitment to this cause. With a diverse background ranging from working with ex-offenders to her leadership role at Mediation UK, she possesses a wealth of experience that lent credibility to her narrative. Her contributions to the sphere, both as an art therapist and restorative justice consultant, are testament to her multifaceted approach to addressing conflict and promoting healing. As the audience learned of her involvement in aiding Bristol in its quest to become a restorative city and her active role at international platforms such as the UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, there was no doubt that they were listening to a true pioneer of the movement.
However, the journey to becoming a Restorative City is not without challenges, and Liebmann did not shy away from addressing them. The video’s conclusion provided valuable insights into the hurdles that such cities face, and more importantly, strategies to navigate them.
Beyond the facts and the strategies, what truly resonated was the underlying message of hope. The presentation was a vivid reminder of the collective will of communities and cities worldwide to foster environments of understanding and compassion. As Liebmann showcased the pioneering efforts of Quakers, who held the first meeting about restorative justice at the United Nations in 1990, it became evident that this was not a fleeting trend but a sustained global movement.
In conclusion, Dr. Marian Liebmann’s presentation was not just an educational experience but a clarion call for collective action. It challenged individuals, communities, and cities to look beyond punitive measures, to heal rather than harm, and to truly commit to building a future that is both restorative and sustainable.