We are sad to share the news about the passing of our beloved colleague, Kris Vanspauwen. Kris, as a mediator and researcher was active member of the European Forum for Restorative Justice for a long time and formally joined our team 10 years ago as Executive Officer. In this role for only two years, he made tangible impact. He extended our partnerships and staff capacity, secured structural funding, digitalised processes, started building a long-term strategy and initiated important internal processes that were key to become the organisation we are now. As a genuinely open and curious person, he built good connections with many EFRJ members, asked their opinion and listened to their insights. But, most of all, he led his team with attention and care for each one of us and also for the team as a whole. He often convened a team meeting with a bag full of fresh croissants and a good cup of coffee for everybody before he shared his structured plans, accurate analysis, surprising ideas, careful reflections and even dilemmas. We shared opinions, talked about what matters in our work and in our life, we travelled together, we solved impossible situations, but most of all, worked a lot. And he also realised when his family needed him more than what this demanding job allowed. Still, we were lucky that not much later we could again collaborate in different roles with Kris, first as consultant and then as strategic advisor, a role that he took up during his illness and continued with great commitment until recently. Restorative justice and dialogue were among his many passions, that were not only part of Kris’s professional identity, but he embedded these core values in many other aspects of life. He valued and nurtured human relations the most.
Kris, your Forum Family is grateful for your dedication, wisdom and leadership at the EFRJ and after we regained our balance, we will continue to walk the path that you showed us. We dedicate this Restorative Justice Week to celebrate your life and heritage.