Councillors fly to secret Iraq meeting (Sunday Life)

Councillors fly to secret Iraq meeting
(Sunday Life)
7 October 2012

Four Belfast councillors were among a delegation that flew into war-torn Iraq in almost total secrecy today.

The UUP’s Bob Stoker, SDLP man Tim Attwood, John Kyle of the PUP and Alliance’s Mervyn Jones flew out but their names had been kept under wraps and a strict embargo was placed on advance news of the trip to oil-rich Kirkuk.

The councillors, along with a number of public representatives from Derry and delegates from the voluntary and community sector, are attending a Forum for Cities in Transition conference.

But as they would have been aware in advance, Kirkuk, north of Baghdad, is one of the most dangerous and disputed areas in the country.

Terrorist bombers and insurgents maintain the ability to strike almost at will and embassy officials in the region also warn: “There remains a high risk of kidnapping and caution should be exercised.”

As Allan Leonard, director of the Northern Ireland Foundation, pointed out yesterday: “Given the problems Kirkuk is experiencing it’s not something we wanted in the public domain in advance. Names before the conference began would be bad.”

The Foundation is an independent, non-profit organisation that develops programmes around a shared future in Northern Ireland.

It is co-Secretariat of the Forum conference, which works on the principle that cities which are in conflict or have emerged from conflict are in the best position to help other cities in a similar situation.

Surprisinly, even among the city delegation from Derry there is no representative from either Sinn Fein or the DUP.

“They did not take up the invitation,” said Mr Leonard.

Peace professor: What keeps people apart are barriers ‘created mostly by their governments’ (WBUR)

Peace professor: What keeps people apart are barriers ‘created mostly by their governments’
http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2011/06/17/ireland-ethnic-omalley
Here And Now (WBUR)
17 June 2011 

Here And Now Guest: Padraig O’Malley, professor of international peace and reconciliation at the University of Massachusetts:

The city of Derry, once a flash point during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, was the setting for the latest meeting of the Forum for Cities in Transition.

Participants from other divided cities around the world attended the conference as part of a long process to bridge ethnic gaps.

UMASS International relations professor Padraig O’Malley told Here & Now‘s Monica Brady-Myerov that “what keeps people apart is not people, it’s artificial barriers created mostly by their governments.”

 

Haifa as a Model City of Joint Living project gains international recognition (New Israel Fund)

20110617 NIF Shatil

MARSHOOD FathiHaifa as a Model City of Joint Living project gains international recognition: A first-hand report from Fathi Marshood, director of SHATIL in the North
http://www.nif.org/component/content/article/13-stories/1119-haifa-as-a-model…
Fathi Marshood (New Israel Fund)
16 June 2011

Last month, Shahira Shalabi, head of SHATIL’s Shared Society projects, and I had the privilege of sharing the lessons and challenges of SHATIL’s Haifa as a Model City of Joint Living project with representatives of cities in transition from throughout the world.

The project works to transform Haifa into a shared city based on partnership respecting all residents and strengthening a mutual sense of ownership over life in Haifa.

It was an invaluable learning experience for all of us to hear about the work of and mingle with representatives from Beirut; Belfast; Derry/Londonderry; Kaduna (a new city in Nigeria); Kirkuk, Iraq; Mitrovica, Kosovo; the borough of Mitte in Berlin; Mostar, Bosnia; Nicosia, Cyprus; Jerusalem and Ramallah.

We met together in the Forum for Cities in Transition second annual conference in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland for five days to advance our efforts to bring peace to the cities in which we live and love – and sometimes clash.

Participation in the conference and the related forum position SHATIL as a social change leader both locally and internationally. Every other delegation – with the exception of Beirut – was organized by the municipalities.

The Haifa delegation of three Jews and three Arabs, including members of the Haifa City Council and leaders in municipal planning and social services, was organized by SHATIL.

There were many moving moments in the conference for me, including the presentation of a Kurdish woman from Kirkuk whose husband was killed by the authorities for his anti-establishment views. This woman grew from her tragedy and today sits on the Kirkuk City Council with Turks, Christians and Sunni and Shiite Muslims and tries to promote a different view of the future of her city.

In Kaduna, Nigeria, where the conflict is between Muslims and Christians, thousands of people were slaughtered and churches and mosques were burned.

To see representatives of these communities working together now is simply amazing.

In one of our efforts to support one another, we invited Serbian and Albanian volunteers from Kosovo to Haifa for 10 days in August, two of which will be devoted to a workshop on conflict management. SHATIL is planning the program and the Haifa Municipality is hosting the group.

We are also thinking about the feasibility of inviting representatives of these cities to Haifa in order to work on promoting women’s issues and participation in the peacemaking process.

One of the tools we learned about that we would like to incorporate into our program is the use of art to promote coexistence with both children and adults. And of course others learned from our experiences as well.

We left inspired. If people who have lived through such dire conflicts can succeed – we can, too.

‘Integrated Communities’ featured in Forum for Cities in Transition 2011 (RDC)

‘Integrating Communities’ featured in Forum for Cities in Transition 2011
http://www.rdc.org.uk/news/default.asp?ID=1053&itemId=4&topicId=2&amp…
(Rural Development Council)
31 May 2011 

The RDC managed programme was featured in the presentations of International Fund for Ireland at the Forum for Cities in Transition during Community Relations Week.

Speaking at the event International Fund for Ireland Chair, Denis Rooney CBE said: “This week’s conference has provided the Fund with the perfect opportunity to showcase its work to an interested, knowledgeable and very influential national and international audience. With more than 25 years’ experience of developing and funding initiatives that tackle segregation and support reconciliation between Unionists and Nationalists we are committed to sharing our experiences and expertise with other countries and regions who want to move beyond conflict to create more stable civic societies”.

International Fund for Ireland plays key role at the Forum for Cities in Transition 2011 second annual conference (IFI)

20110528 IFI 02
Pictured at the conference are from left : Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, Dr Denis Rooney CBE, Chairperson of the Derry-Londonderry Forum for Cities in Transition Angela Askin, Director, Forum for Cities in Transition Padraig O’Malley, Junior Ministers, OFMDFM Martina Anderson MLA and Jonathan Bell MLA (c) Lorcan Doherty Photography

International Fund for Ireland plays key role at the Forum for Cities in Transition 2011 second annual conference held in the Guildhall, Derry-Londonderry
http://www.internationalfundforireland.com/component/content/article/93-press…
(International Fund for Ireland)
28 May 2011

The International Fund for Ireland played a key role at the Forum for Cities in Transition second annual conference held in the Guildhall, Derry-Londonderry this week.

Chairman of the Fund, Dr Denis Rooney CBE, said: “This week’s conference has provided the Fund with the perfect opportunity to showcase its work to an interested, knowledgeable and very influential national and international audience. With more than 25 years’ experience of developing and funding initiatives that tackle segregation and support reconciliation between Unionists and Nationalists we are committed to sharing our experiences and expertise with other countries and regions who want to move beyond conflict to create more stable civic societies”.

20110528 IFI 01
Pictured at the conference are from left :Junior Minister OFMDFM Jonathan Bell MLA, Deputy First Minister Mr Martin McGuinness MP MLA, Chairperson of the Derry/Londonderry Forum for Cities in Transition Angela Askin, Director, Forum for Cities in Transition Padraig O’Malley , Junior Minister OFMDFM Martina Anderson MLA, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, Dr Denis Rooney CBE, Mayor of Derry Mr Maurice Devenney and Gregory Campbell MP MLA (c) Lorcan Doherty Photography

Divided cities in peace meet (Londonderry Sentinel)

Divided cities in peace meet
http://www.londonderrysentinel.co.uk/news/local/divided_cities_in_peace_meet_…
(Londonderry Sentinel)
26 May 2011

TWELVE cities – formerly riven by conflict and communal violence – sent representatives to Londonderry this week to take part in the second annual conference of the Forum for Cities in Transition (FCT).

Belfast, Beirut, Kirkuk, Kaduna, Nicosia, Jerusalem, Haifa, Mitte, Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica, Mostar, Nicosia, and Ramallah were all represented at the Forum which 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.

The forum was established by Irish native, Professor Padraig O’Malley at the University of Massachusetts Boston in April 2009.

At this year’s conference the Northern Ireland Peace Process takes centre stage and senior negotiatiors from all sides of the conflict have been sharing with their international audience how they concluded that violence would only perpetuate killing.

Ivanovic: Fate of Kosovska Mitrovica is crucial for Kosovo issue (EMportal)

Ivanovic: Fate of Kosovska Mitrovica is crucial for Kosovo issue
http://www.emg.rs/en/news/serbia/156091.html
(EMportal)
26 May 2011

State Secretary for Kosovo-Metohija Oliver Ivanovic, who is partaking in the second international conference dubbed Forum for Cities in Transition, in Londonderry, northern Ireland, stated that the fate of the divided city of Kosovska Mitrovica would largely resolve the fate of Kosovo-Metohija.

The fate of Kosovska Mitrovica is crucial for the resolution of the Kosovo issue, and therefore it is important to use the experience of other world cities with similar problems in the search for a solution for the city of Kosovska Mitrovica, Ivanovic told.

Kosovska Mitrovica has been divided as a result of the lack of trust between people, and although it would not be easy, this division can be abolished, he said.

“A lot of positive energy from the people with vision and persistence is needed for such a problem to be solved,” Ivanovic stated.

Forum for Cities in Transition has gathered delegations from Beirut, Belfast, Kosovska Mitrovica, Haifa, Jerusalem, Kirkuk, Kaduna, Mostar, Nicosia, Ramallah, Mitte and the host city of Londonderry.

The Forum was established in Boston, the U.S., in April 2009 by the representatives of the cities of Kirkuk, Nicosia, Londonderry & Kosovska Mitrovica so as to improve life of citizens in divided cities.