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Dr. John Bailie’s Inaugural Address as President of IIRP

October 26, 2015

The power of restorative practices lies in the fact that the essential truths that it promotes call out to what is best in each of us. No matter who we are or where we were born, we all need strong relationships, families and communities, as well as workplace interactions in which we find meaning and a sense of belonging.

Restorative practices convey a simple idea: one with profound consequences for today’s world.

Our cofounder and first president, Ted Wachtel, expressed the fundamental hypothesis of restorative practices by saying that human beings are happiest, healthiest, more productive and more likely to make positive changes in their behavior when people in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them, or for them.

In other words, our relationships, families, communities, workplaces and societies function best when clear norms and expectations are provided, along with strong personal support and nurturing. We all do best when communities are demanding, but also show deep fundamental respect to us as individuals.

These very human needs have been the same throughout human history — and always will be. It is in relationships with others that we find ultimate meaning and fulfillment in life. These are the universal factors that make an individual more likely to enjoy a life filled with meaning and purpose.

Read the whole address.


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