Northern Ireland peace process to take centre stage at international conference

Northern Ireland peace process to take centre stage at international conference
By Forum for Cities in Transition
23 May 2011

The Northern Ireland Peace Process will take centre stage at the first day of the second annual conference of the Forum for Cities in Transition (FCT), which is taking place this week in the Guildhall. Participants from twelve cities across four continents that have been divided by violence will participate in the conference.

The Forum for Cities in Transition brings together citizens from cities divided by conflict, with the aim of encouraging mutual learning, dialogue and the resolution of conflict through non-violent methods. The Forum works on the principle that cities that are in conflict or have emerged from conflict are in the best position to help other cities in the same situation.

Speaking as delegates to the conference began to arrive in the City, Brian Dougherty, forum member said:

“We have chosen to focus on the Northern Ireland peace process as we are more advanced in our efforts than many of the countries who are attending the conference. They want to come to the City to see what we have achieved, and hear from our panellists how we have managed our transformation from violence to peace.”

Panellists discussing the Northern Ireland Peace Process include, Niall Burgess, from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Bairbre de Brun MEP, Mark Durkan MP, Jeffery Donaldson MP, Ken Maginnis, former MP, Sir William Jeffery and Ambassador Nancy Soderberg, who was senior policy advisor to Senator Edward Kennedy, advising and supporting his work on bringing peace to Northern Ireland.

Panellists participating in the session on the Northern Ireland Peace process have been selected due to the influence they had on building peace and bringing forward the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Dougherty continued, “We wanted to show the perspective of the peace process from both governments and the main political parties involved in negotiations.

“After the panel discussions delegates will discuss in workshops what they have learned from the panellists. We want delegates to go home with practical ideas and solutions that they can put into practice at home and strengthen their own efforts in peace building in their own cities.”

Other topics on the agenda for the first day of the conference are Economic Development and Urban Regeneration and the Role of Women in Transitional Societies.

The economic panel is chaired by local forum member, Jim Roddy, and include Greg Clark, Aideen McGinley from Ilex, Liam Nellis from Intertrade Ireland and Garvan O Doherty. They will address the issue of economic development in plans for reconciliation and conflict transformation.

The panel on women in transitional societies brings together local women such as Avalia Kilmurray from the Community Foundation NI and Christine Bell with international delegates to discuss this issue from an international perspective.

ENDS

Notes to the editor:

  • The conference is funded by Department of Foreign Affairs, International Fund for Ireland, The American Ireland Fund and Monitor, Boston
  • Delegates from each city include Mayors, Councillors, Municipal Officers, Business Representatives and Representatives from the community and voluntary sector.
  • Approximately 70 delegates from across the world will attend the conference.
  • Names of the participating Cities: Beirut, Belfast, Derry-Londonderry, Haifa, Jerusalem, Kaduna, Kirkuk, Mitrovica, Mitte, Mostar, Nicosia and Ramallah

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