Co-operation Ireland believe that it is important to give our young people an opportunity to meet, learn about the traditions and cultures of other young people living on the island of Ireland if we are to create a more peaceful respectful stable society. In Northern Ireland in particular many children are separated from their peers at a very young age, as early as 4 years. Often they go through their formative years without having the opportunity to meet someone their own age who is from a different religion or cultural background. Over the years Co-operation Ireland has developed numerous programmes based around education and the education system, all of which aim to improve relations between our young people and communities. Co-operation Ireland runs a number of projects that are specifically for young people in education.
Entwined Histories – Part 1, The Ulster Covenant
Co-operation Ireland has developed a series of commemoration projects linked to the upcoming decade of historical anniversaries. The first in the series examines the Ulster Covenant. The young participants learn about the signing of the Ulster Covenant, preceding and subsequent events; the general political, economic & social context of 1912; and basic film-making skills (with our partner Cinemagic).
Six groups of 15 young people aged between 14-17 years, reperesentative of a cross section of young people, then produce a short film through which they state their perspective and feelings on an important historical event.
The climax of the project is a showcase event at City Hall, Belfast, where the films are screened and the young people are presented with certificates.
Entwined Histories - Part 2, The Shipyard
The second in our series of commemoration projects follows the work done around the Ulster Covenant, focusing on the Shipyard during this significant 1912 period. This was a historic time for the Shipyard with the launch of the Titanic and the effect of the signing of the Ulster Covenant on community relations within this working environment - a working environment that was so influential in Belfast at the time.
50 young people aged 14/15 are participating, representing a cross section of schools with Belfast/Greater Belfast, engaging in drama and other active and experiential activities in order to learn about the Shipyard from the personal stories of the workers, through to the political and social background in Belfast at the time. We are delighted to welcome Dan Gordon (The Boatyard) on board to share with the young people his knowledge of the Shipyard and expertise in drama facilitation techniques.
The final workshop will draw all the strands together, facilitating the young people to make sense of all the've seen and heard and prepare them for production of a final project. The young people will pick any medium they choose and the projects will be presented by the young people at a final showcase day.
Co-operation Ireland has recently two education projects specifically for pupils in County Louth and the surrounding area – Schools Connecting Cultures and Spiral for Schools.
Both projects address the priority identified by the County Louth Peace and Reconciliation Partnership of consolidating peace building among young people.
(i) Schools Connecting Cultures - Cross-Border Intergenerational Project for Primary Schools
The project works directly with 6 primary schools (five from County Louth and one from Northern Ireland) delivering a programme of activities, workshops and networking opportunities which aim to build awareness of sectarianism and racism among the participants and encourage them to challenge such issues effectively with their peers and in the wider community.
(ii) ‘Spiral For Schools’ - Cross-Border Intergenerational Project for Secondary Schools
The project is primarily for schools based in County Louth but it also has a cross-border element and includes a secondary school from Northern Ireland. Project activities will mainly centre around the urban areas of Drogheda and Dundalk and the more rural Cooley peninsula area. This ensures the inclusion of ethnic minority and minority faith communities, as well as those who have been directly affected by the conflict (victims) and those who have been displaced as a result of it.
Eight schools are involved, seven from County Louth and one in the Newry and Mourne district of Northern Ireland as well as a number older people from both sides of the border to participate in the storytelling and mentoring experience of the project.
All Island School Choir Competition
TheAll Island School Choir Competition is organised annually in October and November by Co-operation Ireland and RTE . The competition brings young people together throughout the Island and celebrates the wonderful tradition of choral music in second level schools across the Island.
The competition is open to all Second Level schools and choirs must have between 20 and 40 voices Application forms are sent to all schools and are also available to download in the Choir section of the website http://www.cooperationireland.org/choir.
Co-operation Ireland Student Journalism Conference
The aim of Co-operation Ireland’s annual journalism conference is to encourage student journalists to examine how the media can contribute to a greater understanding of the peoples’ cultures and traditions, both at a national and international level. Each year the conference is addressed by leading journalists and industry experts. The conference is specifically for journalism students from universities and colleges in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The conference is an opportunity to examine topical stories and network with their peer group. It is sponsored by the News Letter, the Irish News and The Irish Times.