St Patrick’s Symposium

At the invitation of the John Hewitt Society, the Chair, Professor Brandon Hamber, was asked to speak at the St Patrick’s Symposium on 15 March 2021. The Symposium focused on the topic of Reminiscence.

The event “At Home with St. Patrick” in Armagh differed from other St. Patrick’s festivals by examining and celebrating who St. Patrick was, his values, his life and his legacy. This holistic approach aimed to offer insights that can reflect on life in the contemporary world.

Drawing on this broad idea, the Chair’s lecture focused on the topic of “Nostalgia, Conflict and Dreaming of Never Again”. The lecture explored the complicated process of remembering conflict, and the tension between solidarity and relationship building within communities (which can be remembered nostalgically) and the horrors of the political conflict itself.

Peace as Violence

On 10 March 2021 the Chair presented a paper at the “Understanding Violence Seminar Series” hosted by the Department of War Studies, King’s College London.

This talk explored how peace processes, and the aftermath, are experienced by survivors and former combatants. It argues that the change in context embodies a range of new forms of violence and harm for some. It draws on case studies of empirical research with former combatants and survivors in Northern Ireland and South Africa, as well the case of some Vietnam Veterans who formed part of a recent research project. It explores how a sequential understanding of trauma can help explain the challenge of reframing meaning away from violence once a formal peace has been established.

Youth, Peace and Security Series

The Chair is delighted to be help organise and launch the new Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Series. The seminar series will explore the positive contribution of youth to peace. Every 6-8 weeks, an online platform will be created for young leaders to share their experience from around the world.

The seminar series is a partnership between Ulster University (INCORE & TJI), The John and Pat Hume Foundation, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, International Fund for Ireland (IFI), and Interpeace.

Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Launch

The Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Series will be launched on 8 March 2021 with “The Missing Peace”, championing young people as positive contributors to peace, register here.

By way of background, 0n 9 December 2015, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 2250. The resolution is an important landmark for recognising the positive role young people can play in conflict and post-conflict settings. The UN Secretary-General commissioned Graeme Simpson to carry out a global study on youth and peacebuilding mandated by UNSCR 2250. The study was presented to the Security Council in April 2018 and to the UN General Assembly in September 2018. A key message of this report, and subsequent work, is to recognise and support young people as positive contributors to peace, moving away from a deficit model that sees young people as a threat to security.

Launch Programme

To launch the series Graeme Simpson will share his experience from working not the report and subsequent processes. Speakers will include:

  • Graeme Simpson, Lead Author UN Independent Youth, Peace and Security Progress Study: “The Missing Peace”
  • Professor Mo Hume, Professor of Latin American Politics, University of Glasgow
  • Paddy Harte, Chairman, International Fund for Ireland
  • Chair: Professor Brandon Hamber, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace at Ulster University


RSVP essential to receive the live stream link which will be sent 48 hours before the seminar, so please register here.

Graeme Simpson is the Principal Representative (NY) & Senior Peacebuilding Adviser, Interpeace, a global peacebuilding organization working in 20 conflict and immediate post-conflict zones around the world. He was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as the Lead Author of the Independent Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security: The Missing Peace. He is also an Adjunct Lecturer in Law at Columbia University School of Law in New York City, where he teaches a seminar on transitional justice and peacebuilding. Graeme has an LLB and a master’s in History from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He was co-founder and Executive Director (1995-2005) of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) in Johannesburg, SA.

Youth, Peace & Security Leadership Series

This dialogue was part of the new seminar series entitled Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Series. The seminar series explores the positive contribution of youth to peace. Every 6-8 weeks, an online platform will be created for young leaders to share their experience from around the world.

The seminar series is a partnership between Ulster University (INCORE & TJI), The John and Pat Hume Foundation, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, International Fund for Ireland (IFI), the Centre for Youth Research and Dialogue and Interpeace.

To review all posts about the series, click Categories, Events and “Youth Leadership Series” on right side bar.

CAIN live archive

Ulster University has confirmed that its highly regarded CAIN archive will be retained as a live and curated archive, made possible by support from Initiatives of Change. The funding follows a consultation in 2019 and comprehensive efforts by the University and the CAIN team to secure the long-term future of the archive. The funding will directly support a significant modernisation of the site, including the introduction of cutting-edge archival content management systems not available when the CAIN site was first pioneering online archives, over two decades ago. The University is also making funds available to invest in the technology that will enhance the experience for all those who use the popular platform.

Read more here.

Photo by Eamon Melaugh

Passing of John J. Sweeney

AFL-CIO President Emeritus, John J. Sweeney

Saddened to learn of the death of AFL-CIO President Emeritus, John J. Sweeney. Ulster University offers an annual John J Sweeney Scholarship in his name. It has been a very successful programme so far, attracting some great recipients over the years since his launch to our MSc Peace and Conflict Studies. We feel privileged to offer this scholarship at Ulster University in honour of President Emeritus Sweeney and it now forms an even more important and fitting legacy to his lifetime’s work. The scholarship, for a full-time student from the USA with Union connections, is generously supported by AFL-CIO.

The tributes paid by the President of the United States, and all who knew him, are a testament to the impact that he had on the lives of so many working people. We feel honoured to have hosted Mr Sweeney and his wife at the Magee Campus a few years ago when we launched the scholarship. Our condolences to his family, friends and former colleagues at this immensely sad time.

Colombian Truth Commission

A dialogue was held on 16 December 2020 hosted by the Truth Commission for Colombia entitled “Let’s talk about coexistence and reconciliation”. This reflexive dialogue focused on the mandate of the Commission to promote coexistence and reconciliation. The dialogue sought to learn from international experience to overcome challenges and help strengthening the work of the Commission and its legacy in Colombia.

The dialogue was an online discussion between panelists which included Professor Hamber. The participants, based on their experiences, responded to guiding questions put forward by the moderator. Participants included Brandon Hamber (Northern Ireland); Sergio Jaramillo (Colombia); John Paul Lederach (USA); Elizabeth Lira (Chile) and Kimberly Theidon (USA, Colombia).

In his input Professor Hamber stressed how despite significant investment in relationship building work in Northern Ireland from the EU, IFI and Atlantic Philanthropies that has strengthened community relationships, opportunities have not always been maximised. This he argued was because community and political processes have been treated separately., Ongoing political division at the leadership level undermines community interventions. In addition, the vision for reconciliation has focused on limited co-existence that accepts social, educational and residential divisions or changing these issue marginally, rather than a more transformative approach. The has created a negative rather than positive peace in Northern Ireland.

The panel discussion can be viewed below:

Experiences of Disappearances

As part of the ongoing “Following the Footsteps of the Disappeared” programme run by Conflict Textiles a new video interview was released on 10 December 2020, Human Rights Day.

In this video interview with Nicole Drouilly and Professor Brandon Hamber, Nicole shares, in-depth, her experiences of searching for her sister Jacqueline, husband and unborn child, who disappeared in Chile in 1974. The discussion centres around a textile she made about her experiences. The textile “Stitching the Search” was displayed on 3 December 2020 as part of the ‘Conflict Textiles’ permanent, rotating exhibition at the Magee Campus Library, Ulster University.

Following the Footsteps of the Disappeared is a partnership between Conflict Textiles, the Ulster Museum, and the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, Ulster University. To find out more about Conflict Textiles visit.

Stitching the Search, Nicole Drouilly. Photo Andrew Proctor