Forum for Cities in Transition: Derry-Londonderry a model for other cities in transition
By Forum for Cities in Transition
25 May 2010
A group of civil society representatives from Derry-Londonderry are taking part in the final day of the Forum for Cities in Transition Inaugural Conference in Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica today. During the conference the representatives from a variety of civil society organisations have visited community groups in Metrovica and discussed how to further community interaction with delegates from divided cities around the world.
The Derry-Londonderry delegates shared their perspectives and experiences on peace building and reconciliation with delegates from Haifa, Jerusalem, Kirkuk, Belfast, Mostar, Beirut and Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica. They also participated in workshops during which the delegations discussed the strategies they had put in place to overcome conflict and post-conflict challenges.
Speaking at the conference Brian Dougherty, Director of St Columb’s Park House said: “The conference provided another useful perspective in what has been stage two of the process. We have established friendships and made new contacts that will help us in our work in Londonderry. The mediation techniques described will be particularly useful personally in my work at St Columb’s Park House”.
Michael Doherty, Director of the Peace and Reconciliation Group also added: “This conference has been a productive and inspiring event. It is rare that we have opportunities to compare and share our experiences with other cities that are experiencing some of the same challenges that we are.
“By sharing our experiences in Derry, and listening to other delegates from around the world, I realise that there is always more work to be done and that we should strive to ensure that Derry/Londonderry progresses further and becomes the model for post-conflict transition.”
Jim Roddy, Derry City Centre Manager stated: “This conference has been an interesting event and has certainly given us hope that we are on the right path in Derry-Londonderry. We are making tremendous progress in our city and I want to continue this progress.
“By sharing our experiences with others I hope that we can help people in other divided cities to achieve a more stable and peaceful life. Having listened to the other delegates this week I know I have learned important lessons that I can use to benefit the people of our city as well”.
The Forum for Cities in Transition was established in Boston in April 2010 by representatives from Kirkuk, Nicosia, Derry-Londonderry and Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica. It is an initiative of the University of Massachusetts Boston, which hosted the founding conference. The University and the Northern Ireland Foundation, Belfast, are the Secretariat.