The Problem with Men?

On 5 August 2022, the Chair delivered the PJ McGrory Public Human Rights Lecture as part of the Féile an Phobail.

The lecture discussed masculinity in a global landscape of rising national fervour, armed conflict, gender-based violence, pandemics and endemic inequalities. It explored the link between violent masculinities and inter-personal, community and political violence and instability, while calling for new understandings of masculinities that can disrupt dominant narratives and lead to positive social change.

Masculinities in Northern Ireland

Voices from the Margins: Young men and post-conflict masculinities in Northern Ireland” by Brandon Hamber and Conor Murray is now available online.

The report points to the gap (noted in the YPS Progress Study’s recommendations) on masculinity and masculine identities as part of the gendered approach to implementing the YPS agenda. This policy brief focuses attention on supporting the development of alternative and positive masculine identities. While the paper draws on lived experiences in Northern Ireland, it derives lessons and recommendations, captures stories, and offers a narrative with wider relevance for other contexts.

The report was 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

Fire in the Belly

Seminar featuring voices from Northern Ireland, Libya and Somalia will honour Pat Hume’s legacy  

Pat Hume who was recently described by Monica Mc Williams ‘as the woman who never gave up’ is the inspiration behind Fire in the Belly, the third event planned in the Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Seminar Series.  

On Friday 1 October 2021, Monica Mc Williams who is Emeritus Professor at Ulster University, Board member of the John and Pat Hume Foundation and former Chairperson of Interpeace, will chair Fire in the Belly, featuring speakers from Libya, Somalia and Northern Ireland.   

Tim Attwood, Secretary of the John & Pat Hume Foundation, said:   

“It is important to acknowledge and highlight the positive work of young women and men working on peace at home and globally. The late Pat Hume had to scale so many obstacles working for peaceful change during times of great personal and political risk. She was described as ‘the woman who never gave up’. We must inspire a new leadership of young people in peacebuilding who will also never give up.”  

About Fire in the Belly:   

Fire in the Belly will feature lessons from young women peacebuilders from Somalia, Libya and Northern Ireland on inspiring leaders for peaceful change. It takes place online on Friday 1 October 2021 at 3:30pm and is free of charge and everyone with an interest is welcome to join.   

Professor Brandon Hamber, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace at Ulster University, said  

“A core focus of the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in peace is to support the next generation of peacebuilders. I can think of no better way to do this than exchange practical lessons between young women peacebuilders form around the globe. They have much to share and teach all of us.”  


  • Monica McWilliams is 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. She will Chair the session.
  • Hajer Sharief is a Libyan peace and human rights activist. She co-leads the work of the Together We Build It (TWBI) organization in Libya.
  • Ilwad Elman is 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 is 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.

About the Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Seminar Series:  

This is the third seminar in the new Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Seminar Series explores the positive contribution of youth to peace. Every 6-8 weeks, a free online platform is 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 PeaceInternational Fund for Ireland (IFI), and Interpeace.  

The seminar series sees young people from Northern Ireland enter conversation with leading international figures in youth work and peace building. In March 2020, Graeme Simpson, Lead Author for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security mandated by UNSCR 2250 and Director of Interpeace USA launched the Seminar series with a talk entitled The Missing Peace. While in May 2020, Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth took part in two sessions with young people in Northern Ireland.   

  • Ahead of the event on Friday, Hajer Sharief, the Libyan peace and human rights activist, said:  

“Peace should be treated as a “public good” of which everyone has the right to build, shape and make. Therefore, the inclusion of women and youth in peace processes is not a matter of ticking a box, it’s a matter of providing people with the opportunity to practice their right to shape their own lives and societies”.  

  • Speaking about the importance of this series, Graeme Simpson, the Principal Representative (NY) & Senior Peacebuilding Adviser at Interpeace, said:   

“The global Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agenda has recognized that instead of treating young people as a threat, it is imperative to invest in the resilience, resourcefulness, and innovation of young peacebuilders. Interpeace believes that little is more important in amplifying the voices of young peacebuilders themselves, than the powerful leadership of young women, connecting with each other across the globe.”  

“The Youth, Peace and Security Seminar Series frames critical conversations which enable global youth leaders to pool our resources and work collectively with young women to breathe positive energy into their lives.  Young women need role models; women who they can up look to. I am looking forward to coming together to ignite that important fire in the belly.”  

“Fire in the Belly is an excellent opportunity for a wider audience to understand the influential role that women play within peace building. The Youth, Peace and Security Series complements the IFI’s ethos and also enhances our partnerships with other organisations. Engaging young people to offer them the best opportunities in life so they can develop, grow and give back to their own communities is a core focus of our work.”

Fire in the Belly is open to everyone with an interest and free to join.   

It takes place Friday 1 October 2021 at 3:30pm – 5pm. For further information and to be directed to Eventbrite for booking, visit:,-peace-and-security-leadership-series2

Celebrating Rights, Right to Celebrate

On the evening of 9 December 2020, the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) and her Youth Panel hosted a seminar to explore how the protections found within the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) can provide a framework for children and young people to confidently celebrate their identity and their culture in a non-conflictual way without threatening the identities and cultures of others.

Specifically, the event was a consultation and discussion aimed at assisting the Youth Panel to draw up a statement on how children’s rights can support children’s and young people’s expressions of identity and culture in a non-conflictual way. This is important in the context of the ‘Decade of Commemorations’ such as the Easter Rising and Battle of the Somme in 2016 and including the establishment of Northern Ireland as a state in 2021.

Professor Hamber was asked to address the group to help lay a foundation, along with other keynotes, for the group deliberations. In his input Professor Hamber reinforced the importance of young people’s participation in peace processes, and how research has routinely found young people feel excluded from mainstream peace processes. Professor Hamber made specific reference to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2250 adopted in 9 December 2015. This resolution, deals with the role of young people in issues of peace and security. Most important this resolution points to the positive role young people can play in peace processes.

Building on the “The Missing Peace” report, which was commissioned by the Secretary-General and authored by Graeme Simpson, Professor Hamber made the point that we should look at young people as an asset in peace processes rather than treating them (and particularly young men) as a threat. When it comes to issues such as commemoration, the point is not to force certain understandings of history about the past on young people, but give them the freedom to express their views and ensure their voices are heard. We need to let young people interact with the past, that is “it’s not about educating or sharing parents’ views. We need to give space for young people to interrogate the past and interpret it through the lens of present”.

Militarised Masculinities and Peace

Professor Hamber took part in podcast as part of Geneva Peace Week (2-6 November 2020) on “Militarised Masculinities and Sustaining Peace: Lessons from the Ground”.

Militarised masculinities and its impact on peace has received little attention. Militarised masculinity, an idea of a certain ‘maleness’ that is violent, is central to elites strategies in staying in power. The podcast by Impunity Watch and the Master programme in Transitional Justice of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights provides space for an in-depth debate around this neglected topic with Brandon Hamber from Northern Ireland and human rights activist Brisna Caxaj from Guatemala.

Listen Now

Listen Now

Masculinities & UN WPS Agenda

The WPS agenda, as defined by the UN Security Council, has latterly addressed itself more directly to the question of ‘engaging men and boys’.

Professor Brandon Hamber, the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, reflects on these developments and its significance in an online seminar available now.

Listen to Seminar

This event is part of the WPS@20 seminar hosted by the Ulster University Transitional Justice Institute to mark the upcoming 20th anniversary of the adoption of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security by the United Nations Security Council.

Masculinities in Transition Publications

The issue of masculinities in conflict is a topic Professor Hamber has been working on for some years now. This work now explores the changing nature of masculinities in conflict, its relationship to transitional justice and how the Women, Peace and Security Agenda addresses issues of masculinity (or not). The Chair has published numerous articles on masculinities, and due to ongoing requests in this area below a list of these publications is now made available:

I have numerous requests for my writing and publications on masculinities, conflict and transition. So below I have compiled a list of published work to date:

  • Hamber, Brandon (2015). There Is a Crack in Everything: Problematising Masculinities, Peacebuilding and Transitional Justice. Human Rights Review, 17 (1). pp. 9-34 [Request Copy or Access in the Journal]

  • Gallagher, Elizabeth and Hamber, Brandon (2015). Addressing the psychosocial needs of young men: The case of Northern Ireland. In: Psychosocial Perspectives on Peacebuilding. Springer: New York, pp. 90-149 [More Information]

  • Hamber, Brandon and Gallagher, Elizabeth (2014) Ships passing in the night: psychosocial programming and macro peacebuilding strategies with young men in Northern Ireland. Intervention: Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas, 12 (1), 43-60 [Download]

  • Hamber, B. (2010). Masculinity and Transition: Crisis or Confusion in South Africa? Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, 5(3), 75-88 [Request Copy or Access in the Journal]

  • Hamber, B. & Palmary, I. (2009). Gender, Memorialization, and Symbolic Reparations. In R. Rubio-Marin (Ed.), The Gender of Reparations: Unsettling Sexual Hierarchies While Redressing Human Rights Violations (pp. 324-381). New York: Cambridge University Press [Request Copy]

  • Hamber, B. (2007). Masculinity and Transitional Justice: An Exploratory Essay. Peace Prints: South Asian Journal of Transitional Justice, 3(1), Autumn [Download]
  • Hamber, B. (2007). Masculinity and Transitional Justice: An Exploratory Essay. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 1(3), 375-390 [Request Copy or Access in the Journal]

  • Hamber, B. (2006). Where are the men in the battle for equality? Look South and Polity, 20 October 2006

  • Hamber, B. (2006, 12-13 October). ‘We must be very careful how we emancipate our women’: shifting masculinities in post-apartheid South Africa. Paper presented at the Re-Imagining Women’s Security: a Comparative Study of South Africa, Northern Ireland and Lebanon Round Table, New York [Download]

  • Hamber, B., Hillyard, P., Maguire, A., McWilliams, M., Robinson, G., Russell, D., et al. (2006). Discourses in Transition: Re-Imagining Women’s Security. International Relations, 20(4), 487-502 [Request Copy or Access in the Journal]

If you cannot access any of the above publications, please send a request and it will be forwarded.