A report from BBC Good Morning Ulster on a visit of INCORE Ulster University MSc and HECUA students visit to Stormont shortly after the 2017 election.
The Chair is delighted to be involved in this new scheme. Ulster University has announced the launch of a new Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) for social sciences funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
This DTP will focus on the provision of exceptional PG social sciences training producing world-class research across the full range of social science disciplines. The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 16 January 2017 (5.00 pm). Interviews will be held late January/Early February 2017.
For more information, click here.
As part of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival, join Amnesty International and the Innovative Peace Lab (InPeaceLab) a partnership of the Nerve Centre and Transformative Connections (and international partners) for an innovative and interactive session exploring how technology can be used to boost human rights research and campaigning at home and abroad.
Speakers will include:
- Patrick Corrigan – Amnesty International NI
- Brandon Hamber – INCORE and Innovative Peace Lab
- John Peto – Nerve Centre and and Innovative Peace Lab
Details: 6 December, 1pm. BA-02-004, Ulster University, York Street
For more information and to book click here.
As part of his recent state visit to the UK, President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia made a stopover in Belfast. The visit, which was planned for several months, took on a new significance given the October “No” vote in a referendum to endorse the peace agreement between the Colombian government and Farc.
President Santos has routinely noted that Northern Ireland is a “reminder of what is possible” and various delegations of politicians, civil society, academia and business from Northern Ireland have interacted with the peace process in Colombia over the years. It is clear from the visit that President Santos is seeking an international mandate to continue to garner support for a perhaps revised agreement, as well as to get more funds from the UK government to support aspects of the peace process. Northern Ireland offers the president an opportunity to show that peace and compromise can work in terms of political co-operation even if aspects of the peace process remain unfinished. For example, proposals for dealing with the past have still not been agreed 18 years after formal agreement.
But being in Northern Ireland will also present challenges for President Santos on the home front. Although the international community have been helpful in the peace process, some of those who supported the “No” campaign have criticised the president for being overly focused on the international community and his standing, rather than listening to how many Colombians feel. The peace process has become about presidential politics and not genuine social engagement, some would say. The transformation of some former combatants from guerrillas into formal politicians, a key part of the failed agreement, also remains a contentious point in Colombia and one the “No” campaign exploited.
For those who oppose President Santos’s political perspective and approach to peace in Colombia, the Northern Ireland process might not be seen as a rosy example. There is a sizeable amount of the Colombian population who still see any involvement of former combatants in government as problematic. The president is walking a tightrope between maintaining international standing and support, winning over more people to his position which includes the need for compromise with the Farc, and keeping the Farc on board. The latter remains a growing challenge as proposal from those opposing the agreement seem to be focused on limiting Farc’s rights (eg to participate freely in so-called normal politics). The road ahead will indeed be bumpy.
On the positive side, it seems that most agree that a political agreement is needed to end the 50-year-old war. Colombians however clearly differ in the ways they think this should be achieved. Northern Ireland has balanced this position for years, and in that sense is a comparative case study to be taken seriously. It also highlights that peace is never a done deal, and that building peace, as obvious as it sounds, is always a process that requires constant attention and nurturing. This is as true for Colombia as Northern Ireland where distrust, separation and a legacy of violence continue to impact on how the future might look.
Published by Professor Brandon Hamber, John Hume and Thomas P O’Neill Chair in Peace based at the International Conflict Research Institute at Ulster University, Irish News, 7 November 2016.
The original article is available here, Irish News, 7 November 2016.
As part of his state visit to the UK, Juan Manuel Santos arrived in Belfast today. He was welcomed at Stormont by First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. He also attended a lunch at the Titanic Centre organised by InvestNI, and then visited the Girdwood Community Hub. Professor Hamber was offered to opportunity to attend the Girdwood event, however, due to prior commitments with a visiting delegation from Georgia could not attend.
However, Professor Hamber and Professor Mallinder were interviewed by BBC Radio Ulster about the visit to Northern Ireland. Listen to the interview, click below.
Professor Hamber will be part of the Unusual Suspects Festival taking part in Northern Ireland. The Unusual Suspects Festival is a three-day festival of ideas, solutions and debate exploring what happens when social innovation meets collaboration and how together we can meet some of society’s most pressing challenges.
Professor Hamber, John Peto (Nerve Centre) and Enda Young (Transformative Connections) will host a session at the Festival that will ask how “How can technology help develop connections between people and places? What’s the role of digital platforms in divided societies?”. Join for an innovative and interactive session exploring how technology can be used to boost and create peacebuilding, or #PeaceTech.
We will be joined by Melissa Mbugua, the Innovation Engagement Officer from Ushahidi, the Kenyan crowdmapping platform that’s been used in Kenya after the election violence in 2008, Syria and across the world.
The session will be hosted by the Innovation Peace Lab (InPeaceLab), a new initiative created by the Ulster University, will host the session, alongside the Nerve Centre, Transformative Connections and other international partners.
Wednesday, 12th October 2016 at 2:00pm to 4:00pm at the The Nerve Centre at 7-8 Magazine Street Derry BT48 6HJ .
To register click here.
Great to hear John Caulker speak about “Sustainable Peace in Post Ebola Sierra Leone” at a recent seminar hosted by the Chair within INCORE. It was fascinating to hear how the community networks that the project John Caulker established called Fambul Tok (“Family Talk”) were used to help building community resilience in the face of the virus. Fambul Tok was set up to deal with the legacy of war and focused on sharing stories often from perpetrators of violence, but the community solidarity they built through that reconciliation project became instrumental in combating misperceptions and changing behaviour around Ebola. They are now looking to roll out a wider process of networks since the end of the epidemic. Caulker was also critical of the international community who treated the epidemic as solely a medical problem failing to see that engagement of communities was needed to stop it and that communities also had to deal with the problems Ebola caused (inter-community tensions and stigma). In post-Ebola Sierra Leone problems still prevail in that funding support is for “Ebola victims” which singles people out rather than support whole communities. Caulker believes any interventions should be community-centric.
The seminar was recorded and the recording will be posted on the Hume O’Neill Peace Blog soon.