Prof. Aertsen receiving his award from the Chair of the EFRJ Board, Siri Kemeny.

To honour outstanding work for bringing forward Restorative Justice in Europe, The European Restorative Justice Award was launched with the 10th Anniversary of the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ). 

There was no doubt about who should be the first one to receive the award. The idea to establish the EFRJ was conceived by late professor Tony Peters and Ivo Aertsen, who at that time were colleagues at the University of Leuven. But it was Ivo who took the initiative and has been the driving force in establishing, organising and making the Forum thrive and develop. Without Ivo’s enthusiasm and incessant efforts, it is questionable if there would have been a EFRJ. For this reason, Professor Ivo Aertsen is no less than the most worthy award-winner ever. 

But there are, of course, also more good reasons why Ivo is a worthy winner. I will mention a few more. He has been a keen advocate doing his own, but also stimulating and supporting other’s research in the field of restorative justice, while also keeping a close eye on the practice field. Ivo has contributed to a fruitful exchange and thus a positive development of restorative justice through this dual engagement. It must also be mentioned that he has contributed to ‘spread the word’ by travelling all over Europe and overseas, and thus sharing generously from his knowledge in the field. This has helped many a country to take important steps in establishing and developing restorative justice practices and institutions.

Last, but not least – Ivo is a most likeable fellow!