Supporting Restorative Justice in Arlington County and the City of Falls Church


For Immediate Release:

The Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution and Restorative Arlington Sign Affiliation Agreement to Support Restorative Justice in Arlington County and the City of Falls Church

The Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University and Restorative Arlington, a local 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides restorative justice services to the schools, legal system, and communities of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, have signed an affiliation agreement that would facilitate collaboration between the two organizations and further cement the Carter School’s profile as a key resource in alternative dispute resolution in the DMV.

Similar to the agreement that the Carter School currently enjoys with Northern Virginia Mediation Services, this agreement will facilitate easier and increased applications for funding, expand internships and volunteer work, particularly with the Carter School’s Transitioning Justice Lab, and provide additional opportunities for collaboration on outreach and events.

Carter School students, faculty, staff, and alumni, led by Dr. Susan Hirsch, have been working with Restorative Arlington, a community-based, equity-focused organization, since their grassroots inception in late 2019.  In May 2020, Carter School Dean Alpaslan Özerdem and the Arlington County manager Mark Schwartz signed a Letter of Intent between Carter School and Restorative Arlington to collaborate on research, internships, events and programming, and training. In May of 2022, the Carter School Faculty Board approved the plan to create an MOU setting out terms for an affiliation agreement with Restorative Arlington.

According to Carter School Dean Özerdem, “Restorative justice is one of the most effective ways of building sustainable peace and enable opportunities for reconciliation. It is through restorative justice that divided communities are empowered to become active agents of removing the barriers of the past and thinking about the future collectively. Therefore, we are immensely proud of our partnership with Restorative Arlington, and what our collaboration accomplishes with the communities of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church.

Past collaborative projects include four Master’s courses focused on supporting Restorative Arlington activities; multiple training sessions in restorative approaches for the Restorative Arlington community as well as Carter School faculty, students, and alumni; several joint funding applications; and internships and volunteer work by members of Carter School’s Transitioning Justice Lab.  

Kimiko Lighty, RA’s Executive Director, shared “Restorative Arlington feels honored and joyful to formalize our ongoing partnership with George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution. We are excited to be part of the GMU family and to work and learn closely with alumni, faculty, staff, and students.”


About the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution:

George Mason University’s Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution is a community of faculty, students, staff, alumni, and partners with a fundamental commitment to building peace. Through the development of cutting-edge theory, research, education, and practical work, we seek to identify and address the underlying causes of conflict and provide tools for ethical and just peacebuilding on the local, national, and global stages. Learn more at

About Restorative Arlington:

Restorative Arlington is a grassroots, community-based 501c3 non-profit dedicated to bringing restorative justice practices to Arlington County’s legal system, schools, and the community. We envision an equitable, empathetic community that honors the dignity and humanity of all people

and creates pathways for belonging, healing, accountability, and growth. Our goal is to build a stronger sense of safety, belonging and connection through restorative  habits and practices so that we all live better, together. Learn how you can become part of the solution at


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