Professor Hamber was named on the application entitled “Transformative Memory: Strengthening an International Network” led by Dr Baines Professor and Dr Pilar Riaño Alcalá from the University of British Colombia and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The project seeks to create an international network of scholars, artists and community-based memory workers to co-create and exchange knowledge and practice on the ways memory is employed to address the responsibility people have towards the well-being and rights of others in the aftermaths of mass violence. Current partners are from Canada, Colombia, Indonesia, Uganda, Peru, Northern Ireland and the United States. The network, called the Transformative Memory Partnership, has now been launched.
In February 2020, Professor Hamber, the Hume O’Neill Chair, accompanied the project participants from Uganda, Colombia, Canada, and Indonesia on a study visit and exchange to Colombia. Hosted by the National University of Colombia in collaboration with the Communications Colective Montes de Maria, the University of Los Andes and Erika Diettes’ studio, the Colombian Exchange. Participants came from Colombia, Indonesia, Canada, Northern Uganda, The United States and Northern Ireland participated (list of participants).
The visit (full chronicle of the visit here) focused on lessons about how memory work is undertaken in conflict and post-conflict settings, and include time in Bogota but also in the Montes De Maria a rural part of Colombia deeply affected by the conflict. A range of information sharing and learning exchanges took place, including visits and sharing to conflict-related museums, as well as exchanges with local communities (e.g. exchanges in San Basilio de Palenque, the first free Black town of the Americas to discuss indigenous experiences of conflict; and also visits to El Salado and meeting local communities impacted upon by massacres). There was, among others, also exchanges with representatives (magistrates, commissioners and coordinators) from the three organisations of the Integral Transitional Justice System; The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP); the Truth Commission, and the Unit to Search for the Disappeared.
On 10 and 11 December 2019 the Chair hosted Sumona Das Gupta and Nikhat Sattar from India and Pakistan respectively at the Magee Campus. The guests are both part of Women Mediators across the Commonwealth (WMC), which is an innovative new network of women mediators coming together to exchange and learn from each other, and to advocate for the increased representation of women in peace processes globally. The purpose of the visit was aimed at sharing global lessons on mediation. The visitors also met some local groups, and specifically shared experiences with Syrian women at the Derry Women’s Centre. The Chair is also involved in ongoing discussions about future collaborations.
On 9 August 2019, the Chair hosted two guests from Detroit on the Magee Campus who were visiting with the Derry Model Project. The two esteemed guests were Dr. Charles Simmons and Reverend Simmons the founders and directors of The Hush House Black Community Museum and Leadership Training Institute for Human Rights. A fascinating discussion was hosted where the Chair, Professor Elizabeth Crooke and Dr Philip McDermott (Ulster University) all gave inputs, and then the group shared experiences on using museums, memory and heritage to build human rights.
On 6 June 2019, The Chair met with Mr J.R. Kim, Director of the Center for North Korean Human Rights Records in the Ministry of Unification in South Korea. The meeting on the Magee Campus focused on sharing lessons between contexts, and also the current state of the peace process.
Each year Grand Valley State University sends students to Northern Ireland on a Peace, Conflict, and Reconciliation study abroad program. On 7 November 2018, The Chair addressed the group discussing a wide range of subjects including reconciliation and the current state of the peace process.
Ulster University partnered with Build Up and the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building to host the fifth international Build Peace Conference on 29-31 October 2018. The conference brought together practitioners, activists, academics, policy makers, artists and technologists from across the world to share experience and ideas on using technology, arts and other innovations for peacebuilding and conflict transformation. As part of the conference, Dr Coyles and Brandon Hamber arranged a tour for participants of “Hidden Barriers” in Belfast which is linked with ongoing research in this area. The tour focused on Ligoniel focusing on social division linked to architecture and design. To read more about “hidden barriers” research click here.
Great to host students from the Irish Institute at Boston College this week on the Magee Campus. Interesting discussions on conflict and the peace process, and of course how this also relates to some of the issues people are struggling with in the US.