As part of his state visit to the UK, Juan Manuel Santos arrived in Belfast today. He was welcomed at Stormont by First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. He also attended a lunch at the Titanic Centre organised by InvestNI, and then visited the Girdwood Community Hub. Professor Hamber was offered to opportunity to attend the Girdwood event, however, due to prior commitments with a visiting delegation from Georgia could not attend.
However, Professor Hamber and Professor Mallinder were interviewed by BBC Radio Ulster about the visit to Northern Ireland. Listen to the interview, click below.
Professor Hamber will be part of the Unusual Suspects Festival taking part in Northern Ireland. The Unusual Suspects Festival is a three-day festival of ideas, solutions and debate exploring what happens when social innovation meets collaboration and how together we can meet some of society’s most pressing challenges.
Professor Hamber, John Peto (Nerve Centre) and Enda Young (Transformative Connections) will host a session at the Festival that will ask how “How can technology help develop connections between people and places? What’s the role of digital platforms in divided societies?”. Join for an innovative and interactive session exploring how technology can be used to boost and create peacebuilding, or #PeaceTech.
We will be joined by Melissa Mbugua, the Innovation Engagement Officer from Ushahidi, the Kenyan crowdmapping platform that’s been used in Kenya after the election violence in 2008, Syria and across the world.
The session will be hosted by the Innovation Peace Lab (InPeaceLab), a new initiative created by the Ulster University, will host the session, alongside the Nerve Centre, Transformative Connections and other international partners.
Wednesday, 12th October 2016 at 2:00pm to 4:00pm at the The Nerve Centre at 7-8 Magazine Street Derry BT48 6HJ .
Great to hear John Caulker speak about “Sustainable Peace in Post Ebola Sierra Leone” at a recent seminar hosted by the Chair within INCORE. It was fascinating to hear how the community networks that the project John Caulker established called Fambul Tok (“Family Talk”) were used to help building community resilience in the face of the virus. Fambul Tok was set up to deal with the legacy of war and focused on sharing stories often from perpetrators of violence, but the community solidarity they built through that reconciliation project became instrumental in combating misperceptions and changing behaviour around Ebola. They are now looking to roll out a wider process of networks since the end of the epidemic. Caulker was also critical of the international community who treated the epidemic as solely a medical problem failing to see that engagement of communities was needed to stop it and that communities also had to deal with the problems Ebola caused (inter-community tensions and stigma). In post-Ebola Sierra Leone problems still prevail in that funding support is for “Ebola victims” which singles people out rather than support whole communities. Caulker believes any interventions should be community-centric.
The seminar was recorded and the recording will be posted on the Hume O’Neill Peace Blog soon.
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.
Date: 26 September 2016. Time: 1pm to 2:30pm. Venue: Ulster University, Belfast Campus, York Street, BA-03-019.
In May the Chair travelled to Uganda. The trip was aimed at continuing to forge links with the Refugee Law Project and specially to participate in The Institute for African Transitional Justice (IATJ) an annual event established in 2010, by the Refugee Law Project (RLP) with financial support by the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF).
The event brings together transitional justice experts from across the African continent and beyond, to develop timely, topical and context-appropriate African Transitional Justice theory and practice. The event brought together a total of 71 participants, from ten different countries across the globe including Spain, England, Northern Ireland, Kenya, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Germany, United States of America and host country Uganda.
Professor Hamber gave the keynote address to the conference which focused on theme “Too little too late – or too much too soon?- The Time and Timing of Transitional Justice”. The 6th IATJ was held in Gulu from 29th May to 03rd June 2016.
The event provided an important opportunity to better understand the long-term aftermath of the war that ostensibly ended in 2008.
On visiting some local communities in Northern Uganda it was clear that the issue of dealing with the disappeared, memories of the conflict and displacement, the consequences of physical and community destruction of resources, ongoing distrust of the current government to support local communities, and inter-community trust remain key issues.
Most impressive was the local mourning rituals that have been developed around dealing with the disappeared, work with male victims of sexual violence and also the Refugee Law Projects work in the new The National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre (NMPDC).
The Chair aims to continue to work with groups and individuals in developing work in Uganda in the coming years.
Impunity 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.
The Chair attended a high level policy dialogue in Sweden this week, 14-15 October 2015. The meeting 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”.