Dealing with the Past Course for Professionals

Schloss Münchweiler in Switzerland the venue for the training
Schloss Münchweiler in Switzerland the venue for the training

For the last number of year the The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) in cooperation with swisspeace has organized a high level course entitled Dealing with the Past Advanced Learning Course for Professionals .
The course according to the organisers addresses a range of topics which are central to the development of a holistic approach to Dealing with the Past (DwP) and to the implementation of relevant mechanisms for dealing with prior and on-going grave human rights violations. Special attention is paid to case studies, to a gender based approach, to the need to integrate DwP in the negotiation of peace agreements, as well as in the post conflict efforts.

In 2016 the course took place in Switzerland, 5 – 13 July 2016. Professor Hamber and Alistair Little (Beyond Walls) were asked to contribute to the course a range a two day session on dealing with victim-perpetrator issues in post-conflict societies, reconciliation and dealing with the past.

Participants on the course
Participants on the course

Clinton International Summer School

img_8686The Clinton International Summer School ran at  INCORE from 17-24 June 2016.  The School in 2016, through the initiative of the Chair, sought to advance peacebuilding through positive change and economic development. The programme focused on building a new generation of global peacebuilders who can not only use the lessons from Northern Ireland peace process in their own contexts, but couple this with leadership, entrepreneurship and economic development.

The Summer School drew on a unique partnership of INCORE’s conflict transformation skills and facilitators from Ulster Business School. This module provided participants with a unique opportunity to experience first-hand Northern Ireland’s historical conflict and that region’s continuing road to reconciliation, peace and prosperity. The students were required to identify in advance a project that would improve the economic and social conditions in their home region. The team, including Professor Hamber and led by Michael McQuillan from the Business Insitute with his staff, worked with each participant to develop their idea over the course of the week enhancing it and helping put social change into practice

Dr Arun Gandhi’s Lecture Online

Below is a copy of Dr Arun Gandhi’s, grandson of Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi, lecture entitled “Building a Culture of Peace: Lessons from my Grandfather”.  Dr Gandhi delivered the lecture at the Great Hall on the Magee Campus as part of the launch of the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace.  The lecture was part supported by the Smyth Memorial lecture fund, and it is anticipated that the Smyth Memorial lecture will be an annual event hosted by the Chair.

Official Launch

The Chair was officially launched today 23 June 2016. This afforded a great opportunity to host Dr Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi. Dr Gandhi delivered at the Great Hall on the Magee Campus an inspiring speech on peace and non-violence, as well as sharing the lessons he learned while growing up in his grandfather’s home in South Africa.  The visit was the first headline event to be hosted by the Chair, and served as a fitting and moving launch. During his visit Dr Gandhi also met with Ulster University students and staff and the Clinton Summer School at INCORE’s participants, as well as community leaders as part of an IFI hosted seminar. The lecture was also part supported by the Smyth Memorial lecture fund, and it is anticipated that the Smyth Memorial lecture will be an annual event hosted by the Chair.

Visit to Uganda

6th Institute for African Transitional Justice
6th Institute for African Transitional Justice
Refugee Law Project Team and Offices
Refugee Law Project Team and Offices
Outdoor exhibition at the The National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre
Outdoor exhibition at the The National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre

In May the Chair travelled to Uganda. The trip was aimed at continuing to forge links with the Refugee Law Project and specially to participate in The Institute for African Transitional Justice (IATJ) an annual event established in 2010, by the Refugee Law Project (RLP) with financial support by the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF).

The event brings together transitional justice experts from across the African continent and beyond, to develop timely, topical and context-appropriate African Transitional Justice theory and practice. The event brought together a total of 71 participants, from ten different countries across the globe including Spain, England, Northern Ireland, Kenya, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Germany, United States of America and host country Uganda.

Professor Hamber gave the keynote address to the conference which focused on theme “Too little too late – or too much too soon?- The Time and Timing of Transitional Justice”. The 6th IATJ was held in Gulu from 29th May to 03rd June 2016.

The event provided an important opportunity to better understand the long-term aftermath of the war that ostensibly ended in 2008.

On visiting some local communities in Northern Uganda it was clear that the issue of dealing with the disappeared, memories of the conflict and displacement, the consequences of physical and community destruction of resources, ongoing distrust of the current government to support local communities, and inter-community trust remain key issues.

Most impressive was the local mourning rituals that have been developed around dealing with the disappeared, work with male victims of sexual violence and also the Refugee Law Projects work in the new The National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre (NMPDC).

The Chair aims to continue to work with groups and individuals in developing work in Uganda in the coming years.

Professor Hamber asked by the local community to plant a tree to remember the missing
Professor Hamber asked by the local community to plant a tree to remember the missing

Paper: Victim and Survivor Issues

cvsni-logoMore locally, Professor Hamber recently was able to make some very direct suggestions around victim policy at the “Building the Future: Victim and Survivor Issues in Context. Review of the Victims and Survivors Strategy 2009-2019 Conference hosted by the Commission for Victims and Survivors, Titanic Belfast, 9-10 March 2016. Professor Hamber presented a paper on the victim issues and stumbling blocks in the dealing with the past process. The paper argues that

1.We cannot build the future if we do not have a common vision for the future;
2.We cannot build the future if we do not truly understand the past;
3.We cannot build the future without a holistic and collaborative approach; and
4.We cannot build a future without dealing with dominant masculine cultures.

If you would like to read the paper it can be downloaded here.

Pictured at the Commission for Victims and Survivors Conference to review the Victims Strategy are Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Commissioner Judith Thompson and First Minster Arlene Foster (Credit: VCS website. Press Eye - Northern Ireland -9th March 2016)
Pictured at the Commission for Victims and Survivors Conference to review the Victims Strategy are Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Commissioner Judith Thompson and First Minster Arlene Foster (Credit: VCS website. Press Eye – Northern Ireland -9th March 2016)

Seminar: Role of Women`s Movement in Iran

Rezvan Moghaddam on the Magee Campus.
Rezvan Moghaddam on the Magee Campus.

The Chair and INCORE are privileged to be associated with the Scholars at Risk programme. Today we were able to host Rezvan Moghaddam from Iran. Rezvan Moghaddam is a women’s rights activist, researcher and co-founder of the One Million Signature Campaign. She has set up various associations, groups and committees to empower women on issues of peace, environment, health and gender. She has published numerous articles, participated in conferences, seminars and international gatherings, where she has presented papers on women’s issues. She is one of the founders of International Campaign Against Violence in Iran (ICAV). She spoke today at a seminar at INCORE on the Role of Women`s Movement in Iran.