Irish Peace Centres
Through an integrated consortium approach, Irish Peace Centres looks to embed reconciliation through peace-building activities and share learning experiences which endeavour to change attitudes and behaviours towards sectarianism and racism.
The programme is being delivered by a consortium of peace-building organisations located across the island of Ireland:
- Co-operation Ireland (Lead Partner)
- Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation
- The Corrymeela Community
Irish Peace Centre’s vision is of a shared and vibrant civil society where personal relationships are the cornerstone of peace-building and motivate the continued journey of integrated action in developing peace and reconciliation.
Irish Peace Centres’ Aims:
- To advance the role of the Irish Peace Centres programme in the Irish Peace process in general and civil society peace-building in particular;
- To cultivate and sustain positive relationships at a local level, across the region and across traditional sectarian and new social divides;
- To nurture a network of people and groups that will grow out of the consortium to foster new attitudes and behaviours towards traditional and new issues of conflict impacting upon future generations;
- To recognise that peace-building is a journey of continual renewal and effort through which experiential learning can be transferred on a cross-community, intra-community and international level.
The added value of the unique consortium approach to peace-building aims to garner both local and international experience to deliver a vision of common experiential learning where inspirational example can make a real and relevant impact on our approach to sustainable peace-building.
Laura Stewart, Co-Ordinator for Irish Peace Centres and based within Co-operation Ireland said, “This project combines the experience and expertise of three well-established organisations that are dedicated to the concepts of mutual understanding, respect and peace building between communities. Thanks to the support of the Special EU Programmes Body and the European Union through the Peace III Programme, we have been able to develop a vision of common working and the sharing of best practice in peace building, that will benefit groups and communities across the region”
The project involves the delivery of four inter-related activities over a three-year period which are outlined below: ACTIVITY 1: Developing a consortium – creating a network of positive relationships to embed and strengthen reconciliation in the region. ACTIVITY 2: Interface reconciliation – overcoming inter community divisions. ACTIVITY 3: Experiential learning – capturing and sharing learning. ACTIVITY 4: Sustainable positive relationships – creating breathing spaces for crucial conversations.
ACTIVITY 1 – DEVELOPING A CONSORTIUM
This activity is aimed at creating a strategic cross border structure to supporting the network of people engaged in cultivating positive relationships at local level. Activities include events, meetings, workshops, residentials and training sessions that will take place at all three centres within a cross border strategic plan. Consortium activities will also include network cultivation and support, creating an information leaflet about the consortium with views and ideas, designing and issuing a quarterly newsletter and setting up a website and on line dialogue forum for the consortium. As well as developing the innovative partnership, Co-operation Ireland will undertake a major outreach and facilitation programme to maximise and encourage participation of groups and individuals who may not have previously engaged with Peace Centres.
ACTIVITY 2 – INTERFACE RECONCILIATION
This inter community, interface reconciliation activity intends to develop capacity engagement across traditional and emerging cultural divides. Activities will include training for intercommunity interface groups through residential community based capacity building programmes, e.g. community relations, experiential learning, cultural diversity, conflict management, mediation, creative expression, group work and communication. A high quality, intercommunity interface reconciliation programme will be developed and disseminated. A number of participants will be drawn from interface areas and trained. Six groups will be further supported in their work. A number of individual interface workers will be given further training and support to further interface reconciliation at the local level at interface areas.
ACTIVITY 3 – EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
This activity aims to capture the institutional and personal learning and best practice through issue based action research. The approach will be bottom up and exploratory and will result in new ways to understand and articulate the peace building work that is being conducted and continues in Ireland, North and South. Actions will include: Holding five master class seminars, a bi-annual international conference, two internal research studies per year, one external research study per year; and the development of web based publications. The consortium will work towards mainstreaming peace building and highlighting the benefits of transferability for this group of people. Both Donegal and Glencree centres are accredited learning centres with NIOCM and FETAC respectively. Training will be offered and will consist of both accredited and non accredited training.
ACTIVITY 4 – SUSTAINABLE POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS
It is intended to undertake ‘deeper’ peace work with fifteen mid level leaders on an annual basis who will in turn influence people and communities with which they work in a ripple effect. There will be four types of activities under this stream including cultivating a core group of peace practitioners amongst former combatants and survivors of the conflict, planting the seeds of reconciliation in local communities, promoting relationships between faith communities, and creating environments to aid the reconciliation process.