Youth and Psychosocial Support

Brandon Hamber; Denis Martinez; Marlies Stappers; David Taylor; and Thomas Unger have published “Youth, Peace and Security:  Psychosocial Support and Societal Transformation“.

This paper explores the key issue of mental health and psycho-social services (MHPSS), from a youth-specific perspective. Drawing on the assertions and recommendations of the YPS Progress Study, and coupled with the increasing attention to MHPSS within the sustaining peace agenda, this policy brief pays special attention to the role of youth-specific psycho-social services as a vital dimension of transformative youth resilience, essential to both addressing the consequences and prevention of violent conflict.

This is a report commissioned by Interpeace for their Outside the Box: Amplifying youth voices and views on Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) policy and practice series.


Watch a Video Summary of the Report


Download the Report

Policing: 20 Years On

The John and Pat Hume Foundation held an important discussion ‘20 years on – Reflections on the New Beginning to Policing’ on the Magee Campus of Ulster University, 9 November 2021. The Chair introduced and hosted the discussion for Ulster University as a Hume Foundation partners. The valuable reflections of Denis Bradley, Peter Smith QC, Judith Gillespie and Brian Dougherty are available on the John and Pat Hume Foundation YouTube Channel.

Fire in the Belly: Online

The 3rd Youth, Peace & Security Seminar “Fire in the Belly: Lessons from young women peacebuilders from Somalia, Libya and Northern Ireland on inspiring leaders for peaceful change” was held on 1 October 2021. The full recording of the event is now available online.

The panel included:

  • Monica McWilliams: Emeritus Professor of Women’s Studies at the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University, Board member of the John and Pat Hume Foundation and a former Chairperson of Interpeace.
  • Hajer Sharief: A Libyan peace and human rights activist. She co-leads the work of the Together We Build It (TWBI) organization in Libya.
  • Ilwad Elman: A young female leader at the forefront of the Somali peace process. She co-founded the Elman Peace Centre and is an Advocate for the Kofi Annan Foundation.
  • Emma Johnston: A youth worker in NI, working with Youth Action Northern Ireland. She is a representative on Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform, the UK Joint Committee for women and the Irish NAP For Women Peace and Security.

The panel discussion is introduced by Professor Brandon Hamber, the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace.

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

Transitional Justice: The ‘Disappeared’

On 31 August 2021, The Chair moderated a seminar entitled “Transitional Justice and the ‘Disappeared’ of Northern Ireland”. The seminar explores local and international issues of dealing with enforced disappearances. Speakers at the Seminar included:

  • Dr Lauren Dempster, Lecturer in the School of Law at Queens University Belfast, who has just published in 2020: “Transitional Justice and the ‘Disappeared’ of Northern Ireland”.
  • Respondent: Dr. Rainer Huhle, Germany, independent expert of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearance (2011-2019). Member of the Coalition Enforced Disappearances in Colombia and lecturer at the Master of Human Rights program of the University Erlangen/Nürnberg.
  • Moderator: Professor Brandon Hamber, the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, Ulster University.

The seminar is part of the “Following the Footsteps of the Disappeared”, a three-year programme that started in Chile in 2019 incorporating seminars and a textile display to mark International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on 30 August. It will end in Mexico in August 2022.

“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.

Seminar UN Envoy on Youth

The Chair facilitated a session on Thursday 20 May 2021, with the UN Secretary Generals’ Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake. In her talk the UN Envoy on Youth discussed UN priorities and issues concerning youth, peace and security.

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.

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:

Seminar: UK Combat Impunity

The third seminar in the Dealing with the Past series entitled “Is the UK heading towards combat impunity?” was hosted online on 5 June 2020, with some 65 people joining online.

In the seminar Dr Thomas Hansen, Lecturer in Law and member of the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University, focused on a number of initiatives and measures aimed at protecting military service personnel from investigation and prosecution currently being considered by the UK, including a Statute of Limitations, derogating from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in future armed conflicts; amending the Human Rights Act, and restricting UK courts’ ability to adjudicate civil claims originating from conflicts abroad.

Dr Hansen argued that these measures, if implemented, are problematic from a human rights and rule of perspective and undermines the UK’s role as a strong defender of human rights in the global arena and a champion of the international rule of law.

The seminar is part of the Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) and INCORE, in partnership with Healing Through Remembering and the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, online seminar series. The seminar was chaired by Professor Brandon Hamber. The seminar can now be watched online.