Born in Albania in 1979, Prof. Brunilda Pali came of age during the regime change from an isolated dictatorship towards democracy. She left her country during the 1997 civil war towards Istanbul, where she studied Psychology at the Bosphorus University. In 2002 she received a full merit scholarship to study Gender Studies at the Central European University (CEU), and in 2003 she returned to Istanbul with another full merit scholarship as first-generation student of a ground-breaking master programme in Cultural Studies at Bilgi University. After her studies, in 2004 she returned to Albania where she worked in the NGO sector in the field of alternative conflict resolution, and held a lecturing position at the University of New York in Tirana.
Determined to learn more about alternative approaches to crime and conflict, in 2008, Prof. Pali moved to Belgium where she started working at the European Forum for Restorative justice and at the Leuven Institute of Criminology on several projects in the field of restorative justice. In 2016 she completed her PhD research in Criminology at University of Leuven on the potential and the limits of restorative justice for justice and security in intercultural contexts. In 2018, she was granted a postdoctoral fellowship by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) to conduct a systematic and critical investigation of the role, place and potential of restorative justice in the European penal systems and policies.
During the Spring of 2021 she held a visiting professor position at the Department of Political Sciences, University of Amsterdam, and in October 2021, Prof. Pali joined the Social and Anthropology Department at the University of Leuven to work in an interdisciplinary research project on the reintegration of Belgian returnees from Syria and Iraq in society. Her contribution to the project is largely about developing a sustained restorative approach, with a focus on the prison system. At the University of Leuven, she is also closely involved with the Center for Ethics, Religion, and Detention.
She is a board member of the European Forum for Restorative Justice, and since Autumn 2022, Dr. Pali is Adjunct Professor at the Vermont Law School where she teaches on Environmental Restorative Justice. She is co-editor of The Palgrave Handbook of Environmental Restorative Justice (Palgrave, 2022), Critical Restorative Justice (Hart Publishing, 2017), and Restoring Justice and Security in Intercultural Europe (Routledge, 2018). She researches, publishes and teaches on gender, social, environmental and restorative justice, cultural and critical criminology, and arts.
Throughout her work, Prof. Pali remains deeply committed to restorative justice and alternative approaches to punishment which go beyond imprisonment and state perpetration of violence, approaches that are more in line with human rights and democracy.