CJR Welcomes New Executive Director

Jonathan Derby smiles in front of tree and building

In June of 2023, PLNU began the search to identify the next Executive Director of the Center for Justice and Reconciliation (CJR). Under the leadership of a hiring committee, individuals from around the globe applied for the position and went through a multi-stage interview process. After an extensive search, we are thrilled to share that Jonathan Derby will be joining the CJR as Executive Director on February 12th. 

Jonathan comes to PLNU with experience as a lawyer, adjunct professor, and nonprofit leader. In 2004, Jonathan graduated from Pepperdine Caruso School of Law with a Juris Doctor (JD) degree. He worked 14 years with organizations in India to help the most vulnerable access justice. In 2005, he joined International Justice Mission (IJM) in Mumbai, which combats sex trafficking and forced prostitution. He became Field Office Director in 2008 and led a team of 40 staff. In April 2012, Jonathan moved to Delhi and started Counsel to Secure Justice (CSJ), an organization that provides legal support and restorative care to children who experience sexual harm. As he and the team worked closely with Delhi's justice system, Jonathan saw restorative justice's transcending potential to repair brokenness and harm caused by crime. 

Most recently, Jonathan served as Special Advisor for Restorative Justice for Prison Fellowship International, where he focused on educating and building capacity among global partners on restorative justice concepts and best practices. In addition, he revised and published an important restorative justice textbook, Restoring Justice, with co-authors Dan Van Ness, Karen Heetderks Strong and Lynette Parker.

“I’m excited and honored to lead the Center for Justice and Reconciliation into this new season,” says Jonathan. “I look forward to investing in our team and building upon the credibility and good work the Center has already accomplished. My hope is to bring a perspective to our work that emphasizes healing, responsibility and living in right relationship with God, one another and all creation.”

Jonathan will be moving to San Diego from Fresno, California, where he has been teaching restorative justice at the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University, Caruso School of Law. We are confident that under Jonathan's leadership, the CJR will expand its impact and fulfill its mission to honor the dignity of all by removing barriers through education, advocacy, and innovation.

As the Center for Justice and Reconciliation begins its next chapter, there is much to be excited about as we continue to pursue a world where all can flourish free from oppression and exploitation.