TCRJ Founder and President
Marinetta Cannito Hjort, MA
Marinetta Cannito Hjort has over twelve years of experience as a scholar, teacher, trainer, facilitator, consultant on Restorative Justice, Conflict Transformation, and Alternative Dispute Resolution methods in international, academic, governmental, civil, and religious settings. She has direct experience in about 20 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia.
Her work stresses the close relationship between justice mechanisms and local processes in its goal to attain peace, reconciliation and social reconstruction. She has launched a series of strategy trainings that provide tools to establish or strengthen collaborative networks among governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to promote crime prevention measures and help the sustainability of changes.
She has served as Adjunct Faculty for the Eastern Mennonite University and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and has given lectures and seminars to undergraduate and graduate students at universities including Yale Divinity School, American University in Washington, D.C, and the Waldensian Faculty of Theology in Rome, Italy. Ms. Hjort collaborates with the US Institute of Peace, through lectures and interviews on nonviolent transformation and applications of restorative justice in identity-based conflicts and on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), and with the Center of Justice and Peacebuilding of the Eastern Mennonite University. She frequently serves as the keynote speaker at Restoratives Justice conferences in English, Spanish, Italian, and French Speaking countries.
Ms Hjort has authored a book on Conflict Transformation in Italy: La Trasformazione dei Conflitti. Un Percorso Formativo, Claudiana editrice, Torino (2017) https://www.claudiana.it/scheda-libro/marinetta-cannito-hjort/la-trasformazione-dei-conflitti-9788868980023-1933.html; various articles on Restorative Justice and Conflict Transformation; and translated academic articles and professional publications. Her 2007 article La Giustizia Rigenerativa: Promessa e Sfida per una Trasformazione Sociale (Restorative Justice: Promise and Challenge for a Social Transformation), written for Mediares, the leading Italian publication on Mediation, represents the first and most comprehensive article written in Italy on the Restorative Justice paradigm.
She facilitates mediations between parties in conflict, and has designed Mediation Training Manuals for Liberia, Haiti and Côte d’Ivoire, to be used for judicial and training institutions and civil society organizations, taking into consideration the law on mediation approved in those countries.
In May 2005 she was invited by representatives of the anti-mafia movement in Palermo, Italy, to conduct a workshop on Restorative Justice for the National Conference, “Finding Ways to Overcome the Culture of Mafia”, to explore the potential contribution of Restorative Justice in addressing the challenges posed by the culture of mafia.
In June 2009 she helped coordinate a Study Tour Delegation to Italy composed of Attorney Generals and representatives of Citizen Participation Councils from five Mexican States and three US Attorney Generals who intended to learn better practices and strategies to combat organized crime. The delegation met with the highest levels of the governmental branch of the anti-mafia and crucial citizen groups.
Mrs. Hjort has experience in integrating gender frameworks in programmatic activities; has assisted justice and mediation centers in the development of a gender-based analysis framework and a system to quantify and evaluate the impact of alternative approaches on the reduction of gender-based violence.
She was a Commissioner for the Truth Commission on Conscience in War (www.conscienceinwar.org) which held its hearing in New York City in March 2010. In November 2010, the Commission released its report and recommendations to national, community and religious leaders in Washington, DC.
She previously worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy, for fifteen years, and for the nonprofit organization Witness for Peace in Washington, DC for four years. She also served for ten years as a Chaplain on the American University campus in Washington, DC, where she helped nurture a thriving interfaith culture among the American University students, organizing, leading and supporting panels, workshops, trainings, social activities and interfaith dialogues.
She holds two Bachelors degrees (Modern Languages and Theology obtained in Italy) and two Masters degrees: M.A. in Theological Studies, from Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC (summa cum laude); and M. A. in Conflict Transformation from the Center of Justice and Peacebuilding of the Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA.
She is fluent in Italian, English, Spanish and French.