July 2014 | by Dan Harayda
Paula Kaldis, Assistant Dean of Students and a professor at the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover, served as a Delegate to the Second International Symposium on Restorative Justicein Skopelos, Greece. The symposium took place under the theme “Race and Power,” under the auspices of the Restorative Justice for All Institute (RJ4All).
The event built upon the successful model of the 1st International Symposium on Restorative Justice, which took place in 2012. At this year’s conference, RJ4All brought together 25 international experts in the field of race equality, international relations and restorative justice to explore new avenues in dealing with the issue of power structures within society, racism and the growing levels of violence and xenophobia locally, nationally and internationally. The ancient Greek Symposium methodology allowed for the exchange of ideas and experiences that will help bridge a gap in restorative justice and race equality issues including xenophobia and hate crimes, in academia, research and policy areas internationally.
During the week-long program, 10 countries were represented raising issues around indigenous, aboriginal, migrant, refugee and black and minority ethnic communities. The Symposium was a closed event, with no audience or external intervention; presenters had one hour to spend on their subject, involving the others in debate and dialogue.
The symposium’s subject matter was especially relevant to Kaldis’s areas of expertise.
“As an academic teaching juvenile law for 25 years and as a practitioner representing children for 30 years, this subject is fascinating, intense, and cutting-edge,” said Kaldis, who is of Greek origin. “Since the Symposium focused on race and power, the subject of school bullying seemed relevant, as bullies target victims who are different, whose color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or physical build stand out. Targets are powerless; bullies are powerful.
“I began to focus on how restorative practices in the schools as a preventive measure might be more successful. Many schools across the nation are using one form or another of Restorative Justice.”
Kaldis teaches a course at MSLAW entitled, “Collaborative & Alternative Justice,” which covers collaborative law, restorative justice, therapeutic jurisprudence, holistic law and other areas within the broad array of law practice as a comprehensive and integrative way of lawyering that is an alternative to the traditional litigation approach.
Founded by Professor Theo Gavrielides, RJ4All is jointly run with Professor Vasso Artinopoulou. Gavrielides is Director of Independent Academic Research Studies (IARS), Professor at the Centre for Restorative Justice of Simon Fraser University and Visiting Professor at Buckinghamshire New University, High Wycombe, United Kingdom. Artinopoulou is Professor of Criminology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens, Greece.
This event is unfunded and runs on the Institute’s non-profit principle. The International Symposia on Restorative Justice are held every two years.
About Massachusetts School of Law
Massachusetts School of Law’s mission is to provide a high quality, practical, and affordable legal education to deserving persons who have been unfairly excluded from law school. The school seeks to give these persons access to the societal advancement that is available, in law and other fields, to people with legal degrees. To accomplish its mission, Massachusetts School of Law serves persons from working-class backgrounds, minorities, mid-life individuals who seek to change careers, middle class people and immigrants. More information is available at www.mslaw.edu.