UN Youth Envoy & Young Leaders

On Thursday 20 May 2021, the UN Secretary Generals’ Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, held a unique meeting with 20 young people from across 10 local and regional organisations in Northern Ireland and the border regions.

Jayathma Wickramanayake

This was part of the new seminar series entitled Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Series.

In preparation for a public dialogue with the UN Secretary Generals’ Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, 10 youth organisations were consulted and detailed discussions took place. Here Elizabeth McArdle of Ulster University and Youth Pact who led the webinar with the Chair, captures the spirit of what was discussed and shares two padlets reflecting content put forward by the youth groups who took part. 

Young People as contributors to peace

Padlet. To view the details click this link.

Resolution 2250 recognises the contribution that young people make to peace and security locally and globally. Young leaders explained the work and roles they undertake to build grassroots communities and peace-building initiatives locally; from community gardens, to podcasts on mental health; from drumming workshops to recording My Story; from lobbying and campaigning to civic action and marches. 

To see the work and actions of this group of young leaders, click this link.

Young participants spoke about the building of tolerance within our society; with competing identities that need to find space to exist. Where tolerance is lacking, then violence spills over.  However, tolerance was viewed as a pitstop on the journey, with real acceptance and connection with other different people and cultures being part of a lasting peace.  

Issues of education were fore-fronted with the educational under-achievement of Protestant young people highlighted and access issues for young people with disabilities adding to issues of systemic inequality.  For these, young people called for greater engagement with the formal education structures and local politicians. 

Mental Health

This is a serious presenting issue, for the UN youth Envoy and for the young people locally.  Links were made between young people living in poverty and under pressures, and their experiences of mental health.  The pressures on young people and their access to mental health services has been exacerbated due to Covid-19.  Immediate investment is needed by governments to address these issues and give young people the support to recover from the educational and social isolation of the past year.  

Padlet. To see the details click here.

This is a snapshot of the discussion with the young people on 20th May 2021; with further discussions of the gendered nature of peace-building and conflict; the daily actions of bread-and-butter peace-building and the ‘silent pandemic of mental health’.  

To see more of the young people’s concerns, passions and actions, click here.

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.

Sustainable Peace in Post Ebola Sierra Leone

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.

Fambul TokDate: 26 September 2016.
Time: 1pm to 2:30pm.
Venue: Ulster University, Belfast Campus, York Street, BA-03-019.

RSVP essential, to register click here or click on the image.


Guerrand-Hermès Foundation Peace Dialogue

Participants in the dialogue.
Participants in the dialogue.

On 14-15 Dec 2015, the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace (GHFP) with partners the Fetzer Institute brough ttogether a small group of international experts at Highley Manor House in Sussex for a first dialogue in this series to consider the nature of peace and how to apply this understanding in determining the structures, systems and institutional cultures required to bring about a common political vision of peace internationally and globally.  The insights from each dialogue and learnings from the Spirit of Humanity Forum 2017 will be disseminated more widely in different forms of report in 2016/7, including volumes of edited books to be published by mainstream publishers. Professor Hamber participated in the dialogue.

Beyond Walls Documentary

On the 3rd of December 2015 the documentary trailer of the film “Beyond Walls” was launched. The documentary is the next phase of an exciting international conflict transformation project, delivered in partnership between INCORE (Professor Hamber) and Beyond Walls (CIC) (Alistair Little and Wilhelm Verwoerd, Directors).

From the end of 2012 until mid-2014 this project gathered learning from experienced practitioners and participants (mostly from veteran/former combatant backgrounds) promoting peace/reconciliation/humanisation in places of deep seated political conflict. Filmed reflective workshops were held and interviews conducted in South Africa, Israel-Palestine, Northern Ireland/North of Ireland and Ireland. The extensive film footage and written transcripts from these workshops and interviews provide rich, real life material on the challenges of undertaking peace/reconciliation/humanisation work.

Watch the trailer:

BEYOND WALLS from Tom Ciaburri on Vimeo.

Funding is currently being sought for the completion of the documentary and allied educational resources. Contact Professor Hamber if you are interested in being part of this initiative.

Hague Policy Dialogue: “Making Transitional Justice Work”

I399dd96dfb45f0dfea4990cb335d3993mpunity Watch (IW), International Development Law Organization (IDLO), and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) organised an expert meeting entitled “Making Transitional Justice Work” from 25-27 November 2015 in The Hague. The meeting convened a highly qualified group of policy makers, practitioners and experts in the field of traditional justice to discuss and develop new ideas for effective and reinvigorated transitional justice policy in accordance with practical challenges. The meeting also focused on the practical guide on transitional justice to be used by the Dutch government and other policy-makers in the field. The Chair attended the meeting, participated and facilitated a session.

Policy Dialogue on Non-recurrence

The Chair attended a high level policy dialogue in Sweden this week, 14-15 October 2015. The mbh2wyxvh_400x400eeting focused  on the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence latest report. The report focuses specifically on the issue of non-recurrence. The Special Rapporteur draws attention to different interventions that can impact of non-recurrence including the role of civil society, the spheres of culture and personal dispositions, as well as the role education reform, arts and culture, and trauma counselling. Professor Hamber focused his interventions and presentation on “Cultural Interventions in Divided Societies: Lessons from Northern Ireland”.