On on Friday night, 23 September 2016, the Chair attended the 2016 Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award in Buncrana, Co Donegal. The award (the 5th) was given to Chris Matthews. Matthews is an American political commentator and most well known for his talk show “Hardball” on MSNBC. He also served as Press Secretary to Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill.
At the event Matthews took to the opportunity to reflect on the current political situation in the US. He felt what was going on right now was “crazy”. There is a tension between Trump’s “nasty politics” and Trump selling people an unrealisable dream of “manufacturing in 1950s”, compared to Hilary Clinton as an experienced politician but being painted as “the establishment”. He also noted that when he worked with Tip O’Neill he focused on letting people “know who you are” and in O’Neill’s case that meant people could support him as his values were made more prominent. Matthews also reflected on O’Neill’s political style noting that he understood that debate was a way of moving politics forward, and that today people have forgotten this thinking debate is politics. When the debate is done compromises have to be made and the work done Matthews noted. He ended by saying that his “crystal ball is a bit foggy” about who would win the US election, but if African Americans, Hispanics and women vote, Trump will lose. But we will have to wait and see.
On the Saturday morning following the event Professor Paul Arthur, Honorary Professor at INCORE, gave the Tip O’Neill Diaspora lecture which he titled “Imagination and Politics”. He particularly focused on the relationship between Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill. Although from opposite political sides they had the foresight to realise they needed to work together, and they symbolised the importance of the democratic tradition.
The John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace will be hosting the seminar “Go Local: The role of communities in ensuring sustainable peace in post Ebola Sierra Leone” by John Caulker. John Caulker founded and has led the implementation of the Fambul Tok program since its inception in 2007, initially through his position as the founding Executive Director of Sierra Leonean human rights NGO, Forum of Conscience.
Date: 26 September 2016. Time: 1pm to 2:30pm. Venue: Ulster University, Belfast Campus, York Street, BA-03-019.
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.
The 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
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.
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.
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.