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.
Today, 10 July 2020, the Hume O’Neill Chair, Professor Brandon Hamber, made an online input to the “Summer Institute in Northern Ireland: Lessons in Community Peacebuilding”. The Institute was moved online due to the Covid-19 context. The Institute is led by Professor Marie Breen-Smyth and is based at the University of Massachusetts (Boston) in partnership with a consortium of local residents and International Peace Education Resources (IPER). Professor Hamber’s input focused on the issue of Dealing with the Past in Northern Ireland.
Nigel Glenny from INCORE, the HECUA Program Director of “Conflict, Peace and Transition in Northern Ireland” is currently in the US promoting the HECUA programme. The HECUA programme offers a full semester programme for US students placed at the Magee Campus with internships in Derry/Londonderry. The programme falls under the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, Professor Brandon Hamber.
“Conflict, Peace and Transition in Northern Ireland” focuses on the legacy of violent conflict and efforts to build sustainable peace. The programme examines the role of citizens as agents of transformation and is hosted by the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE).
On 16 November 2018, the Chair hosted a seminar on the Magee Campus that focused on “Civil Rights: Lessons from Ireland and US”. It was a timely seminar in that it considered over 50 years on what had been achieved in since the civil rights movements in the US and also in Ireland.
The main speaker at the seminar was Andrew Williams, Director of HECUA. HECUA (Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs) trace back to the 1968 unrest in North Minneapolis following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The urgency and turbulence of the situation prompted Ewald (Joe) Bash, National Youth Director of the American Lutheran Church, and Joel Torstenson, an Augsburg College sociology professor, to build a unique program for college students to understand the nature of the urban crisis. INCORE, under the management of the Chair, partners with HECUA each year to teach and place US students in Derry-Londonderry each year.
To this end, Andrew made the perfect speaker to reflect on the ongoing challenges, particularly in the US, with regard to race. A black person is killed by the state or state-sanctioned violence in the US every 28 hours noted Andrew. One of the most striking quotes Andrew spoke to and developed was ““…because white men can’t police their imagination, black men are dying” (Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric).
On the day Professor Paul Arthur, Professor Emeritus of INCORE and Ulster University, also shared his views and personal experience about the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland. He responded to Andrew’s talk noting that rof Paul Arthur says three words that stuck out were “wounded justice”, “indifference” and “mid-wife”. The hope lies in the growth of civil society that can be the “mid-wife” entrenching civil rights.
In December 2017 Professor Erin Baines, Associate Professor at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs (SPPGA) at the University of British Columbia, visited Belfast to explore ongoing partnerships and also engage with Ulster University MSc, LLM and PhD students. Professor Baines offered two classes on focusing on her work in Uganda entitled “Children & Futurities” and a second research focused workshop entitled “De-colonial approaches to research on violence”. Wider than this Profess Hamber and Professor Baines outlined some future plans for joint co-operation and research.
The Chair is delighted to be involved in this new scheme. Ulster University has announced the launch of a new Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) for social sciences funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
This DTP will focus on the provision of exceptional PG social sciences training producing world-class research across the full range of social science disciplines. The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 16 January 2017 (5.00 pm). Interviews will be held late January/Early February 2017.
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.