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.
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.
On 15 October the Chair, Professor Brandon Hamber, gave an address to the “Annual Conference 2020: Harnessing Potential” hosted by The Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law. The speech focused on the “Enhanced Integration of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in Peacebuilding”. The speech focused on sharing the recommendations for the UN Peacebuilding Architecture Review developed with a multidisciplinary Task Force of which I was a member. The Task Force was established by the government of The Netherlands which is promoting the integration of mental health and psychosocial support in peacebuilding efforts. You can listen to my speech below:
On 29 April 2020, at the request of the Stabilisation and Humanitarian Aid Department of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chair participated in an international Member State Consultation focusing on psychosocial issues and peacebuilding.
The event was aimed at enhancing the psychosocial focus on peacebuilding as part of the current 2020 Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture. The Chair is currently working on a working group with the Dutch government on their submission for the review. At the Member State Consultation, the Chair presented a paper entitled “Mind the past to build the future: Systematic attention for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in peacebuilding efforts”. The paper provides a basic introduction to the psychosocial dynamics that need to be analysed and addressed when working on the peace-conflict continuum, and the value-added of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in peacebuilding efforts.
The Chair, with the Transitional Justice Institute and INCORE, hosted a successful book launch of “Reconciliation and Building a Sustainable Peace: Competing Worldviews in South Africa and Beyond” by Dr Cathy Bollaert. The book, based on her PhD research at Ulster University (co-supervised by Brandon Hamber, Kris Brown and Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin), explores how competing worldviews impact on intergroup relations and building a sustainable peace in culturally diverse societies. It raises the question of what happens in a culturally diverse society when competing values and ways of interpreting reality collide and what this means for peace-building and the goal of reconciliation.
This is an important publication as it outlines key tenants of how the issue of could be dealt with in post-conflict settings, a very under-explored area. The article outlines three fissures evident in the embryonic scholarship, that is the privileging of direct violence and its limited focus, the continuities and discontinuities in militarised violence into peace time, and the tensions between new (less violent) masculinities and wider inclusive social change. The article argues for the importance of making visible the tensions between different masculinities and how masculinities are deeply entangled with systems of power and post-conflict social, political and economic outcomes. An analysis of masculine power within and between the structures aimed at building the peace in societies moving out of violence is considered essential. The article argues for an analysis that moves beyond a preoccupation with preventing violent masculinities from manifesting through the actions of individuals to considering how hidden masculine cultures operate within a variety of hierarchies and social spaces.
Masculinity is now a developing area and the Chair’s work has contributed to this, and Professor Hamber will also attend a conference in Oxford on the issue in October 2016.
The paper can be downloaded here for those with academic access, or alternative email Professor Hamber for a copy.