The Chair continued work on AHRC Project “Screening Violence: A Transnational Study of Post-Conflict Imaginaries” with partners in Newcastle and Bristol Universities, and works with co-investigators and partners in Algeria, Argentina, Colombia, Northern Ireland and Indonesia. Further data collection was undertaken in the summer, including the screening of the Colombian film “Falsos Positivos” in partnership with the Dungannon Film Club and a focus group following the film to engage the “social imagination of violence” on 14 June 2018. Film trailer below.
On 7 June 2019, The Chair was invited to a further Social Forum (hosted by Bake Bidea) in the Basque Country. This civil society structure aims to engage the wider society in the peace process and it took place in Biarritz. The Chair gave the keynote address followed by discussion with the wider public focusing on reconciliation and victims issues. The Forum specifically focused on issues in the French Basque Country, as well as reconciliation and victims issues.
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.
The Chair hosted on the Magee Campus Steve Youngblood from The Center for Global Peace Journalism, Park University. The Centre promotes the concepts of peace and peace journalism. A seminar entitled “Is Ethical Journalism Possible?” was held and attended by a number of journalists, students and academics on 28 May 2019. It was interesting to read Steve Youngblood’s blog on the event. He notes:
“Derry, attendees correctly pointed out the many obstacles to peace journalism starting with the name. The word peace, I was told, is loaded with baggage here, much of it negative. One journalist suggested calling PJ socially responsible journalism. I said they could call it bangers and mash if they like and that the principles and concepts are more important than the label. Regarding those principles, journalists at my lectures and workshops seemed to generally agree about their utility. Underscoring this, another participant said that PJ is not that radical and it “nothing different than what we already aspire to.” That’s encouraging”.
The visit of Steve Youngblood was sponsored by the US Embassy-London.
On 18 April 2019 Ulster University gave an Honorary Degree to Congressman Dr Richard Neal for his services to contribution and promotion of peace in Northern Ireland. The Chair delivered the encomium for Congressman Neal at the event. The degree was conferred upon him by Vice-Chancellor and President of Ulster University, Professor Paddy Nixon at a ceremony attended by Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. As a supporter of the University’s John Hume and Thomas P O’Neill Chair in Peace at the Magee campus and its work since 2015, Congressman Neal addressed students and staff.
The event took part as part of a larger Congressional delegation visiting the border and seeking to gain greater insight into the state of the peace process and Brexit in particular.
On 17 April 2019 the Chair hosted an event on the topic of sexual abuse and institutional responses to sexual violence. A public seminar entitled “Sexual Abuse and Truth-Telling: Institutions Under the Spotlight” was delivered by Dr. Carolyn Stauffer. Stauffer is a consultant and educator in the fields of sexual trauma and domestic violence and has conducted training across three continents. Stauffer served as the co-director of EMU’s Biomedicine program and is currently Associate Professor of Applied Social Sciences in Virginia, USA, teaching on the graduate and undergraduate levels. The seminar outlined the institutional challenges to addressing sexual violence, and engaged the audience in a discussion on the relevance of the topic to local and international contexts.
On the 16 of April 2019 the Chair hosted Dr. Carl Stauffer. Stauffer teaches Restorative and Transitional Justice at the graduate Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, USA. He concurrently serves as Co-Director of CJP’s Zehr Institute of Restorative Justice and is the Academic Director of the Caux Scholars Program in Switzerland. A seminar was hosted by the Chair jointly by INCORE and TJI entitled “Memorialization: Remembering without Revenge”. In the seminar Dr Stauffer tackled the collective memory of historical harms. The point was made that it is no longer a question of if we will remember, it is instead a question of how we will remember past atrocities. Building on the work of Mirolsav Volf, the seminar wrestled with the question of whether it is possible to “remember rightly in a violent world?”