Most important to a functioning FCT have been realized outcomes. Below are specific highlights of projects that were carried out. We have all witnessed the human impact on those who attend FCTs- the change of heart of seeing or hearing their own narratives through the eyes of another or lightening of the burden of grief, guilt, remorse and or despair when stories are shared in this special group. Surveys have captured the overwhelmingly positive feedback from individual participants about the how the forum impacted their lives and work.

Our next challenge is having a wider impact among higher numbers people in these cities – where outcomes or infrastructure/development projects could positively impact these communities. The seed hypothesis remains the guiding principle –one divided society is in the best position to help another and the emphasis on outcomes remains the same, conferences are a secondary consideration; what matters are projects that either help ameliorate reconciliation in a divided city or allow one city on a higher rung of transition to help a city on a lower rung.

Boston 2009 establishing FCT: Kirkuk, Nicosia, Mitrovica, Derry~Londonderry/Belfast

Not and easy task!  FCT successfully brought to the table representatives of all sides to the their respective conflicts in the cities above.  

  • Leaders established the FCT, drew up and signed the CALL to ACTION and agreed to meet the following year in Mitrovica. 
  • Three days the discussions were intense and the result was agreement to establish the FCT. 
  • At one plenary, Mitrovica mayor Rexhepi looked across the table at his counterpart and said, ” I have come 7000 miles to cross the river Ibar!” Imagine our surprise when the two parts of Mitrovica came together & announced that they would like to host the first conference in 2010 as a single city. 
  • This was announced in the presence of the Kosovar Minister of Local government, Sadri Ferati, and then Serbian state secretary for Kosovo Affairs, Oliver Ivanovic. 
  • Mitrovicans were awarded Chancellor’s medal at Umass for International Peace and Reconciliation. Video can be found here.

Mitrovica 2010

Throughout Jan-May 2010 Mitrovica FCT forum met weekly with north Mitrovicans taking the risk to cross the river to meet with their counterparts in south. 

  • The Mitrovica community center that was uninhabitable and was refurbished for the event – the river area and bridge area were cleaned up.
    • Ahead of the 2010 FCT (completed after midnight on the first day of the conference) The Cultural Centre in Mitrovica was completely renovated in 2010 by the Municipality of Mitrovica, including painting and plastering of the inside, reconstruction of the roof and floors and renovation of the chandelier in the main atrium.
    • Nine cities sent some 50 + delegates, representative of the communities with deep cleavages among them in their own cities. These included the founding cities – Derry~Londonderry, Belfast, Nicosia (Greek and Turkish Cypriots), Kirkuk, and host Mitrovica, and guest cities included – Mostar, Beirut, Jerusalem, and Haifa. 
    • The event was a reflection of how the two communities, Albanian and Serb were able to rise above the differences that provide the context for their conflict and create a vibrant program that opened to participating cities the day- to-day experiences of Mitrovicans on both sides of the River Ibar; of how they had found ways to transcend the multiple issues that drive division. 
    • The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and its Kosovo counterpart completed a joint policing partnership under which they exchanged best practice; the PSNI hosted a team of Kosovo police officials from Mitrovica representing both Kosovo/Albanian and Serbian officers in May 2011. The Brussels agreement directly cited efforts to create policing partnership and normalize joint security as a catalyst for its success.
    • FCT Call to action written in Mitrovica, 2010.  
  • The Haifa delegation will host members of the local volunteer corps from both Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica in Haifa and Jerusalem in August 2011 to learn from cross community youth initiatives that have proven successful in bridging community divides in Haifa

* A special session/retreat for KIRKUK was held in the mountains of Kosovo

Derry~Londondery 2011

Twelve cities participated: Belfast, Beirut, Kirkuk, Kaduna (NEW), Nicosia, Jerusalem, Haifa, Mitte, Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica, Mostar, Nicosia, Ramallah (new) and Derry~Londonderry itself.

    • This FCT was a reflection of how the two communities, Waterside/Cityside, Protestant and Catholic, Unionist and Nationalist were able to rise above their own divisions.
    • Showcased The Northern Irish Peace Process with lead negotiators – stakeholders.
    • Discussed best practice for economic development, mental health issues and provided the space for more intensive interaction among delegates, further encouraging a sense of shared purpose and bringing them closer to an understanding that together they could empower each other.
  • New and on-going projects realized: Belfast will facilitate Informal discussions to develop further links with Derry-Londonderry. Derry~Londonderry will continue the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) – Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Training exchange.
  • DerryLondonderry convened a one day retreat for members of the Derry Forum committee to explore ways in which Derry-Londonderry can combat sectarianism with the intention of defining the modalities of programs reflecting their deliberations to the school authorities in their respective communities with a view to having a program with similar content accepted and becoming part every school’s curriculum.
  • Jerusalem ensure accessibility of postal services to residents from East Jerusalem and advocate equalization for rights and services that are given to school children in East and West Jerusalem (received an approval from the city council for extra budget for this initiative) and organized a local
  • FCT in Jerusalem: with a long conference or a long series of meetings for high level officials, managers and deputy mayors from East Jerusalem with community leaders, religious leaders and activists from ease Jerusalem to share experiences, challenges (including challenges of working with the other side) already partly funded.

Kirkuk 2012

The 2012 Kirkuk FCT gathering held October 6th – 11th was an opportunity to tell the story of Kirkuk’s history and conflict, to learn from the challenges and achievements of its sister cities, to share information, discuss models of best practice and examine ways of improving community relations.

There were over fifty local people in attendance each day in addition to the fifty international delegates/panelists who converged on Kirkuk for four intense days of work and under the cloud of tenuous security risks.

Bearing in mind this was an explosive year – Post US withdrawal from IRAQ and the Syrian War began March 15, 2011 and the emergence of ISIS in Iraq.

The following event goals were met:

  • Brought a panel similar to the team that led off the Derry-Londonderry gathering with a comprehensive discussion of the Northern Ireland Peace Process. This panel was comprised of senior personnel from all parties and governments who played a role in that process: Séan Farren (SDLP Negotiator), Jeffrey Donaldson MP (DUP Negotiator), Christopher Maccabe (Former Senior Official, Northern Ireland Office (NIO), Peter Shirlow (Queen’s University Belfast), Daithi O’Ceallaigh (Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland), Chaired by Mr. Quintin Oliver, Stratagem, Belfast. Kirkuk delegates expressed this was the first time the processed was explained in such a way that truly understood the similarities and challenges of their own struggle and that of NI.
  • Made considerable headway in having all the various communal blocks in Kirkuk work together in ways they have not hitherto worked; breakdown some of the barriers of distrust that exist among them, and open them to a greater willingness to engage in conversations regarding their future. We recognized more work had to be done to keep buy in of Sunni Improved the city’s self-image by showing that it is capable of hosting an event such as this, putting aside partisan politics.
  • Fostered frank discussions about delicate/sensitive issues with their peers from other divided cities, including how the obstacles to negotiation were overcome (where they existed) and how communities, once at war with each other, now work to foster reconciliation at the grass roots level first and then at the political level.
  • Demonstrated that Kirkuk can put partisan politics aside and work together to show their sister cities that it was up to the challenge. The conference opened opportunities to engage with Erbil and Baghdad in a non-threatening way, leaving aside article 140 and the acrimony that emerges once it is mentioned. Working successfully together on a project of this magnitude raised confidence in their ability to put their fears aside and work in a spirit of cooperation and trust at resolving the issues of Kirkuk’s future.
  • Parenthetically, it also opened ways for Sunni and Alewite delegates from Tripoli to explore the impact of the conflict in Syria on their already fragile and sometimes combustible relationship. THIS HAS LEAD TO CURRENT ROAD MAP PROJECT WITH TRIPOLI

Youth Mitrovica 2013

The Inaugural Conference of the Youth Forum for Cities in Transition — held in Mitrovica from 23-27 September 2013 Youth from Belfast, Derry-Londonderry, Haifa, Jerusalem, Kaduna, Kirkuk, Ramallah, Tripoli and host city Mitrovica shared and explored local experiences, gaining invaluable and practical knowledge on how to build sustainable cooperative relationships within and across their communities and cities.

In her opening remarks at the event, the President of Kosovo, her Excellency Atifete Jahjaga, stated:

“From the city of Mitrovica, which unfortunately is divided in the middle, together you are sending strong messages of tolerance, understanding and peaceful coexistence. You who are sending strong messages that diversity is a value which should unite us and which enriches a society, a country.”

“It is the divided cities which remind us of a bitter past, which have left behind serious consequences, consequences which in many cases are still present. They remind us of the danger which comes from exclusion and refusal to accept and respect one another, to accept and respect diversity. Above all they reminder us how important peace is, how fragile it can often be, and how difficult it is to be built on ruins of destruction, the trust between people.”

The situation in the cities differed widely — from on-going violent conflicts (e.g. Kirkuk, Tripoli) to long-lasting conflicts (e.g. Jerusalem), to cities already recovering from conflict (e.g. Belfast and Derry-Londonderry). The delegates also focused on how youth activism develops, the potential of civil society, and especially the role of youth in conflict resolution.

Fourth Annual FCT Conference: Kaduna, Nigeria November 4th-8th 2013

The 4th annual conference of the Forum for Cities in Transition was held in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 4th-8th of November 2013, hosted by the by the Kaduna State Government, under the stewardship of H.E. Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero.

Thirteen non-African cities participated: Baghdad, Belfast, Derry~Londonderry, Haifa, Jerusalem, Kirkuk, Mitrovica, Mitte, Mostar, Ramallah, Sarajevo, Srebrenica and Tripoli Lebanon. Delegates included mayors, councilors, municipal officers, and representatives of the business, voluntary and community sectors. 

  • This was the first ever gathering with an international presence of this size and scope in the city’s history.
  • Seven Nigerian cities which experience the highest level of Muslim- Christian violence also participated: Maiduguri, Jos, Bauchi, Kano, Ibadan and Warri. One of the most significant outcomes of this year’s FCT was their pledge to launch a first ever peace hub in Kaduna that will serve to mediate tensions and build peace among the diverse communities of these northern Nigerian cities. Representatives from four African countries: Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Ghana also attended as observers.
  • Belfast stepped up to host 2014 FCT – dynamic, interactive conference focusing on sharing successes, challenges and ideas
  • Derry-Londonderry: Mediation, Peace and Reconciliation Group to share mediation training programs with Tripoli – which did occur with facilitation from Professor O’Malley in September 2016
  • Kaduna: Begin work on establishing a regional forum for FCT in Nigerian cities hub still to be realized – funded. Tripoli: Continuation of ongoing activities relating to non-violence campaign Mediation commitment, “Mercy Corps,” support for developing advocacy skills.
  • Today have completed Road map to Reconciliation – After two years of intense work and facilitation with Professor O’Malley and FCT.

Belfast 2014

The following event outcomes were delivered:

  • Training of 100+ participants in conflict transformation skills
  • Face-to-face contact of the ‘other’ within FCT city and across all FCT cities
  • During the event delegates were exposed to key interface areas and met with peace making practitioners in the
  • Gained First hand experience of reconciliation work in contested spaces

The event also contributed to longer-term objectives: 

  • Reconciliation through education, dialogue and cultural awareness
  • Development and maintenance of meaningful cross-border links
  • Promotion of improved Anglo-Irish relations
  • Promotion of cross-community and inter-denominational activities
  • Promotion of tolerance and acceptance of cultural diversity
  • Academic research aimed at promoting reconciliation
  • Contribution to political reconciliation

FCT Global

  • In December 2019, Thanking Henley & Partners for the recognition of Henley & Partners Global Citizen Award Prof. O’Malley said, “The process of building peace is not about ensuring that one group’s views prevail over another but about constructing a shared vision for a better future. Working with societies in transition has shown me that even though we face different problems, challenges, and contexts, we can both learn from and offer lessons to each other. I am grateful to Henley & Partners for its acknowledgement and support of the work that we are doing at the Forum for Cities in Transition.”
  • In 2020 FCT as been nominated, by a Chinese Human Rights Activist, for the prestigious UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence. The nomination process was supported by spectacular references from Professor Emanuela C. Del Re, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation of Italy;

Brendan Rogers, Deputy Secretary-General of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland.

  • FCT networkfund is established as crowdfunding arm of FCT Cities. All projects are campaigned via
  • On 24th November 2020, FCT members and supporters from Kirkuk, Mitrovica, Derry/LondonDerry, Belfast, Jerusalem,Tripoli, Kaduna, Rome, Boston and London reviewed their cross-community projects and activities. The conference also looked at the services introduced to FCT Cities, capacity building, education and funding support from grants to investment as well as the need to create a subcommittee with overarching FCT Vision in 2021.
    • The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prof. Emanuela Del Re highlighted, at the FCT we have an opportunity to improve our international collaboration. Through this network we particularly have the opportunity to develop relations with the United Nations, European Union, and public officials in other countries to build resilience to conflict risks, particularly violent extremism across communities, invest in infrastructures for peace, promote reconciliation and peace building. Prof. Del Re is a former member of FCT Secretariat (2010-2018) and former Vice President of FCT Rome (2016-2018).
    • FCT Global Director James Holmes introduced FCT IMPACT FUND, which provided micro and macro investment opportunities to FCT Cities.  If if you can improve life opportunities and give people hope for better future jobs and prospects, this will have a positive impact on reconciliation and the city. A lot of that happens in the workplace as it functions as a neutral area where communities can come together. This concept led to the creation of this impact opportunity in the hope that it will help in the peaceful future of cities.
  • Steve Martineau, Director of Friends Forever International invited FCT Members to the facilities in Annalong, Northern Ireland for a capacity building support.

Dietrich Bilger reconfirmed their networking  opportunities in FCT Cities via  Rotary Clubs.

FCT Tripoli: is officially represented by SHIFT NGO in Tripoli, Lebanon and achieved following outcomes: 

  • Discuss culture of mediation:
    • FCT delegate Toufic Alloush starts the work on securing a fund from the European Union in collaboration with the MercyCorps to launch a mediation and advocacy project in Tripoli
  • Develop youth together and community projects
    • FCT delegate Nabil Chinder supported by Bilal Al Ayoubi launch “Tripoli Deserves the Best” campaign including community projects, trainings, advocacy campaigns mainly funded by USAID/Office of Transition Initiatives.
  • Deliver free street art projects
    • FCT delegate Jean Hajjar (along with other co-founders of NGO Cross Arts) and supported by Bilal Al Ayoubi develop numerous free street arts projects funded mainly by USAID/Office of Transition Initiatives.
  • Continuation of ongoing activities relating to non-violence campaign:
  • Mediation commitment, “Mercy Corps,” support for developing advocacy skills
    • FCT delegate Toufic Alloush and Ataouna Ngo conclude the mediation project funded by EU.
  • Continuation of Hip-Hop revolution through Coalition against violence “Cross Arts project”
    • The FCT members leading Cross Arts NGO continued to perform various interventions under the umbrella of the newly established Coalition.
  • Kaduna twinning to work together on women’s projects
    • Kaduna and Tripoli delegations decided to focus on social media awareness and had several discussions and media materials shared for that sake.
  • Provide youth group attendees to future youth conferences
    • The FCT delegation provided youth from both Sunni and Alawite areas to participate in the establishment of the GAME NGO founded by Professor O’Malley.
  • 1000 students to participate in remedial learning projects
    • As part of the work under the Coalition of Campaigns against Violence in Tripoli, FCT delegate Nabil Chinder implemented this intervention supported by Bilal Al Ayoubi and funded by USAID/Office of Transition Initiatives. 
  • New collaborative project
    • After the Tripoli dual blast that targeted two mosques on a Friday prayer killing over 50 and injuring hundreds, the Coalition launched a collaborative project joining all the different FCT delegates and more activists from the city to rehabilitate the impacted areas, provide psychosocial support, revive businesses,
    • and raise peacebuilding awareness. 
  • Continue to prevent violence and preparedness of emergency services and create cultural events to present the real image of our city.
    • More work on that front was done by the Coalition led by FCT members and reflected during the emergency response intervention of hosting hundreds of families fleeing the frontlines into schools for few weeks.

– In 2016 the FCT delegates launched the research focusing on Reconciliation and Peacebuilding which later in 2017 became “The Roadmap to Reconciliation in Tripoli: Creating an inclusive process for launching a communal Reconciliation in Tripoli”

  • Tens of activities were done under the umbrella of the new Roadmap which built on the experience and social capital of the Coalition of Campaigns against Violence in Tripoli. 
  • Some of those campaigns/interventions are listed:
    • SADA Playback theatre troupe
    • Al Harake Barake advocacy campaign for the physically handicapped from the sectarian clashes
    • Taht El Saef public housing advocacy campaign for those who fled the frontlines during clashes and illegally took refuge in state owned apartments
    • Alb el Mashrou community group in the Qobbe Communal Housing complex
    • Koudwa women platform for peacebuilding and awareness raising.
    • Creation of numerous videos and media materials to highlight impact and raise awareness (uploaded on various social media platforms while some participated and won award in international film festivals).
  • SHIFT Social Innovation Hub founded by FCT delegate Bilal Al Ayoubi, Omar Assaf, and Hani Rstum in 2015 incubated the Roadmap to Reconciliation in Tripoli activities and supported the establishment of a number of donor funded projects to support the goals of the RRT. (Please contact us for the interventions under SHIFT).
  • Other RRT partners including Fighters for Peace and Peace labs continue to support the RRT through different interventions
  • List of Tripoli Pledges (realized) are available here
  • Mitrovica: In February 2021, FCT signed a Memorandum of Understanding between leaders from North and South Mitrovica.  Over the years extensive multilateral and bilateral deliberations, both in formal and informal sessions had followed and a set of outcomes of the Mitrovica Forum conference was unanimously adopted.
    • Professor Padraig O’Malley, Founding Director of FCT, visited Mitrovica between 25-27 November 2019. A meeting took place in the municipality of Mitrovica/Mitrovicë North and the Water Treatment Project was introduced by the municipality representatives as a cross-community project that can only be implemented with Mitrovica/Mitrovicë South partnership. 
    • Contributions to the implementation of Brussels Agreement 2013: FCT has opened to participating cities the day to day experiences of Mitrovicans on both sides of the River Ibar; explored how they had  found ways to  transcend the multiple issues drive division.
      • The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and its Kosovo counterpart completed a joint policing partnership
      • South and North Mitrovica members worked on a Memorandum of Understanding and signed it in 2021 to implement cross-community activities from businesses, employment, community activities to education.
      • FCT Mitrovica focuses on the economic, social, cultural and environmental aspects to facilitate collaborative cross-community practice.
      • FCT Mitrovica members contacted with International Business College in Mitrovica, German accredited a higher education institution and working on developing joint degree programmes with FCT Academy.
      • FCT Mitrovica stakeholders have agreed to share and develop strategies to submit business plans for 8 projects in discussion for the impact investment which has an aim to contribute the implementation Brussels Agreement and facilitate cross-community collaboration through cross-sector collaboration – industry, nonprofit, and government- to achieve  achieve mutually beneficial outcomes in their communities, across the country and the region. In this regard, the 8 projects that involve both South and North are:
  1. Water treatment plant
  2. Revitalization of the river banks
  3. Collector for waste water
  4. Central heating system
  5. Revitalization of parks
  6. Revitalization of touristic places and attractions in north and south mitrovica
  7. Economic development projects and employment support
  8. Innovative centre for youth
  • Jerusalem: The City of Jerusalem has participated in three conferences of the Forum of Cities in Transition, the first in Kosovo and the other two in Northern Ireland. The forum has assisted the city in a number of different ways: learning, creating essays/connections, promoting projects, influencing the public space and changes between the Palestinian and Jewish communities in Jerusalem.
      • The forum allowed members to create deep and effective working relationships with representatives from the Jerusalem Municipality, which we connected to the initiative of the Forum. The joint stay at the conference allowed them to examine and discuss important Jerusalem issues and challenges and formulate tailored solutions as the delegation included participants from the east and west of the city from the municipality and non-profit organizations of civil society.
  • The forum exposed members to a lot of information and tools they acquired from the lectures and the many conversations with representatives of the various countries. They declared that “We became acquainted with various models for dealing with challenges related to the divided city and were exposed to the successes that influenced the way we work in Jerusalem.  The forum allowed us to establish contacts with key people from various fields from a variety of countries, including countries in which Israel is in constant conflict. Beyond the experience, it was an opportunity for meaningful learning for the members of the delegation.”
    • During the time of the forum, they formulated initiatives that were implemented, as part of the municipal work plan, after their return to Jerusalem. The initiatives affected daily life in the east of the city and relations between the communities.
    • Sample initiatives (partial list only):
  • Reducing gaps in East Jerusalem – improving physical and social
  • Addition of new community workers to the east of the city
  • Creating leisure activities and classes for children and youth
  • Pedagogical rehabilitative framework for youth
  • Program for parents and children
  • Drug-related program – prevention and information
  • Program for dealing with violence – prevention and information
  • Community gardens (for residents to meet)
  • Accompanying families with children with needs
  • Construction of 5 more schools in the east of the city
  • A new center for hearing impairments
  • 3 sports halls
  • Paving access roads in complex neighborhoods combined with public
    participation work to address objections
  • Construction in a private area using local manpower (construction of
    fences, retaining walls, etc.).
  • Establishment of new emergency teams + retention and development of
    existing teams
  • Connection with the Derry-Londonderry police on the subject of police
    community work
  • Connection with the German team around the issue of urban planning as away to create a meeting between communities