The Derry-Londonderry Forum welcomes you to the
2nd Annual Conference of the Forum for Cities in Transition
The Forum for Cities in Transition hosted its second annual conference at the Guildhall, Derry-Londonderry, May 23rd-26th 2011.
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 similar situations.
This year’s conference brought together international delegates from 12 cities to share information, discuss models of best practice, examine ways of improving community relations, and identify programmes and projects that delegates developed and declared on the final day of the conference to implement in their home cities or as joint projects within their sister cities. Over 30 outcomes were pledged and will be posted to the website.
Delegates included mayors, councillors, municipal officers, and representatives of the business, voluntary and community sectors. The participating cities are:
The members of the Forum chose Derry-Londonderry to host this year’s conference, because of their desire to come and learn firsthand from the city’s experiences of the Northern Ireland peace process. The local members in the Derry-Londonderry Forum showcased the achievements of their own city and offered assistance to other cities’ efforts to build lasting peace.
The conference programme was a mixture of panel discussions with experts and practitioners; workshops for delegates to discuss what they hd seen and heard; and site visits to local communities across the city.
This year’s main conference themes have been chosen using feedback from delegates at last year’s annual conference in Mitrovica:
- Northern Ireland peace process
- Economic development and urban regeneration
- Women in transitional socieites
- Culture, art and conflict
- Developing policies of desegregation
- Conflict and mental health
For complete coverage of this year’s conference please click on the menu to the left of the webpage “Derry~Londonderry 2011”
The Derry-Londonderry Forum is the steering committee for the Derry-Londonderry Conference of the Forum for Cities in Transition. Most members participated in the inaugural conference in Kosovo, 2010, and have been working tirelessly since then to ensure the success of the conference. Members consist of representatives of local authorities, political parties, community and voluntary sector, church, local police and business.
The organisation of such a prestigious conference took a lot of hard work and effort from a lot of people to ensure that it is a success and meets the objectives of the organisers, participants and funders. We are very proud of the programme that has been developed for the conference, and are confident that it meets the expectations of the interest groups.
All members are really excited to be hosting such an important international conference in the city, and will make every effort to ensure that all participants enjoy and benefit from the experience of being here.
Chair of the Derry-Londonderry Forum
The Forum for Cities in Transition (FCT) only works if at the close of this conference, each member city commits itself to implementing an outcome that is within its means and resources to carry out. In this sense, the Derry-Londonderry event is not a conference per se, but a continuation of the proceedings that began in Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica in May 2010.
The FCT is action driven. Without cities agreeing to make commitments and then following up to ensure their implementation, the conference becomes a chattering box — much said, great ideas exchanged, some friendships made, some fun, shopping and sightseeing and then home, and on to the next conference.
These are not the outcomes that conform with the principles drawn up by the founding cities — Derry-Londonderry, the Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot communities in Nicosia, Kirkuk, and Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica at the FCT’s founding gathering at the University of Massachusetts Boston in April 2009, principles enumerated in the “Call to Action”, to which all participants are asked to append their signatures as a mark of their seriousness of intent.
The announcement of the outcomes to which the nine cities attending the Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica conference committed themselves at the last plenary session, with a designated member of each city standing before his/her peers and affirming what project(s) their city would implement before the following year’s conference was the high point of the conference, an acknowledgement of the huge effort and infusion of money by Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica to ensure a successful conference, that the FCT was an ongoing process, not a once in a lifetime experience. These commitments involved the attending cities undertaking projects that would either strengthen relations among their once warring communities, thus furthering reconciliation and ongoing recovery, or undertaking a project(s) that would benefit a sister city, on a lower rung on the ladder of transition to transformation.
Without this process of bonding, of identification with the devastating consequences of your sister cities’ conflict (because it mirrors your own in so many ways), and a willingness to learn from each other’s experiences, to find common paths facilitating transition and in the absence of an understanding that collectively you can undertake projects that individually you would not be capable of, the quintessential reason for the existence of the FCT simply gets lost in a cauldron of idle talk, talk that will not translate itself into meaningful action.
The Derry-Londonderry Forum has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that the programme you will be part of over the next four days leaves you with indelible impressions of how the communities of Derry-Londonderry — Catholic and Protestant, pro-united Ireland and pro-United Kingdom — continued to build on the common ground they had found even before peace had prevailed. Theirs is an extraordinary story, which they will share with you — the story of where their communities — protagonists in a 35-year conflict — once were, where they are now, how they got there, and what their common aspirations for the future hold.
It is for you, their sister cities, to listen, question, learn, cooperate and work together.
Director, Forum for Cities in Transition
BBC Radio Foyle presenter Sarah Brett interviews Professor Padraig O’Malley and Michael Doherty about the second annual Forum for Cities in Transition conference hosted by Derry-Londonderry
0830-0845 Opening Plenary
0845-1015 Panel Discussion: Northern Ireland Peace Process
- Quintin Oliver: Video
1145-1315 Panel Discussion: Economic Development/Urban Regeneration
1545-1645 Panel Discussion: The Role of Women in Transition Societies
09:00 to 10:30 Panel Discussion: “Transforming communities through the arts”
A panel discussion on the practical applications of the visual and performance arts in transforming communities from conflict environments/dealing with the past.
Niall McCaughan: Video
An informal business round table discussion on how to create new local jobs and attract visitors through collaborative community based strategies.
Jim Roddy and Allan Leonard
Mitte (Berlin): Video
13:15 to 14:15 Lunch
Before lunch is served, Martin Melarkey (Nerve Centre) will present videos of its work and official documentary of the Forum for Cities in Transition (by James & Petra Taylor)
Nerve Centre – Derry-Londonderry Voices: Video
14:15 to 16:45 Site VisitsDelegates choose, in advance, from one of the following available site visits for the day:
- International School of Peace Studies; Re-imaging: Caw/Nelson Drive, Lincoln Court, Bonds Street
- Bogside Artists; the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall
- An Gaeláras, Cultúrlann Uí Chanain (Irish Language and Cultural Centre)
- Oakgrove Integrated Primary School
International School of Peace Studies: Video
09:00 to 10:30 City Presentations/Updates
10:30 to 10:55 Panel Discussion: “Building Foundations”Chair:Ken Gibson (Overview): Video
Panellists:Una McKernan: Video
12:00 to 12:25 Panel Discussion: “Building Bridges”Chair:Gerard McCoy (Overview): Video
Panellists:Duncan Morrow: Video
Gerry Speiran: Video
14:00 to 14:40 Panel Discussion: “Building Integration”Chair:John Carson (Overview) (Video)
Panellists:Martin McDonald: Video
Andrew Bell: Video
Jennifer Hawthorne: Video
09:00 to 10:30 Panel Discussion: “Conflict and Mental Health”
- City declarations of specific, small-scale projects to be delivered for the Forum’s annual conference 2012
- Report from the FCT Women’s Caucus
- Selection of host city for Forum’s 2012 Conference
- Review of a peer-monitoring system by each city
- Other outcomes
14:30 to 15:00 Concluding Comments
The Forum for Cities in Transition (FCT) is explicitly grounded in there being tangible outcomes at the close of each conference, a commitment made by each city to carrying out a project that will further transition, reconciliation, and development in its own city and/or to help one of its sister cities where its expertise in a particular area can be of significant benefit. Commitments are designed so that cities on the higher rungs of transition assist those on the lower rungs. They are embodied in the principle that divided cities collectively can do together what they cannot do separately.
The process is reciprocal because in serving their sister cities, those further along in transition are sharply reminded of where they once were, where they are now, and where they hope to go in continuing their own processes of transition and reconciliation.
With regard to outcomes pledged in Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica May 2010 that are now completed or due to be completed by the fall 2011 the following reflects the current position:
- Derry~Londonderry hosted the FCT 2011 conference.
- 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 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.
- The McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston, placed Ardiana Osmani and Milos Golubovic, in one of the School’s programs, beginning in September 2011.
- The Northern Ireland Foundation (NIF), co-secretariat arm of the FCT conferred two special citizenship awards, the highest that the Foundation can award, on Vuk Mitrovic and Sanja Mrkic, as part of a study visit to NGOs and the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland in May 2011.
- Women representing participating cities established a Women’s Forum to explore the special attributes women bring to the negotiating table; how such attributes differ both in style and approach to substance from conventional models, usually designed by men with men playing the key roles in the negotiating process.
In accordance with the mission statement of the FCT, the emphasis of the Derry~Londonderry 2011 conference was also on the realization the of practical outcomes that would assist participating cities improve the daily lives of their citizens, and enhance engagement between officials, NGOs, and residents.
As a result of the extensive one to one networking, bilateral and multilateral deliberations that took place among city delegations during the Derry~Londonderry conference, both in formal and informal sessions, the following projects were pledged as the outcomes of the 2011 forum:
- Announced the City of Kirkuk will host the FCT conference in 2012.
- Will work with the Northwest Regional College Derry~Londonderry to facilitate exchanges of staff and students with the Kirkuk College of Technology.
- Will work with Kaduna and Ramallah on sectarianism issues, with the three cities committed initially to establish the modalities of how they might approach this outcome using the FCT’s web site as the basis of communication and beginning the dialogue; the ultimate goal of this commitment is multilateral exchanges among the youth of these cities to take place in all three cities over a period of time.
- Will explore the establishment of a fund similar to the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) and draw on the expertise the IFI attendees offered.
- Will continue the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) ~ Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Training exchange.
- Will avail themselves of the expertise of both Nicosia and Derry~Londonderry to establish a business program, specifically designed to meet Mitrovica’s special needs.
- Will continue to play a leading role in developing and implementing the Women’s Forum.
- Will continue the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) ~ Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Training exchange.
- Will convene 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.
- Will (with Ramallah and Kaduna) develop college links and lectures (retired faculty) to run various training classes; Will explore with the relevant authorities how Derry/Londonderry might initiate a process for granting Kaduna students scholarships
- Will encourage cultural tourism kick starting it with visits by members of the Derry~Londonderry tourism office to a number of cities with a view to having them as guests for Derry~Londonderry City of Culture 2013.
- Will initiate an exchange with Nicosia: 5 Greek and 5 Turkish Cypriots to visit Germany and in return send 5 Turk and 5 German youth to Nicosia, Cyprus.
- Will work with Nicosia to produce a film festival about peace building and reconciliation, but which will require the engagement of all FCT cities.
- Will create an exchange program with Nicosia to facilitate the exchange of community volunteers between the two cities.
- Will work with the PSNI on a policing project that will focus on protection of human rights.
- Will host Muslims and Christians from Kaduna and develop an exchange program.
- Will develop Diaspora links for fundraising assisted by Haifa.
- PSNI exchange includes Belfast.
- Informal discussions to develop further links with Derry~Londonderry.
- Invited Director Padraig O’Malley to Mostar to meet with Mayor Beslic to gain Municipal representation.
- Will further train youth and professionals in Mostar in art and cultural activities, concentrating on the use of art as a tool of reconciliation in conflicts.
- Will exchange activities for art in public spaces and identify possible donors with the Playhouse in Derry~Londonderry.
- Accessibility of postal services to residents from East Jerusalem
- 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)
- 2 new baby-clinics in East Jerusalem (since last year, delegates opened 1 new clinic).
- 2 new welfare offices in East Jerusalem
- Equalize the queuing time for Arabs and Jews in municipal tax office
- Equalizing salary for community social workers from East Jerusalem
- Implementation of a city regulation – Free dental examinations for all kids (ages 6-16) including children from East Jerusalem.
- Organize 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.
- Will initiate a youth exchange with Mitte (see: Mitte).
- Become actively engaged in the Women’s Forum.
- Coordinate (all FCT city) film festival with Beirut.
- Volunteer-Cultural exchange with Beirut.
- Will come to Derry~Londonderry for a learning visit regarding hosting the FCT conference in 2013.
- Invite IFI officials to visit Kaduna to explore the possibility to set up a Kaduna Fund.
- Community exchange re: sectarianism with Ramallah (see Ramallah)
- Will explore with the University of Ulster how to establish exchange programs both at student and faculty levels.
- Will assist Ramallah with a platform for Diaspora fundraising.
- Will engage further with the Women’s Forum with a view to hosting a group of women in Haifa.
- Will establish a diverse multicultural centre for dialogue. Research will be presented in 2012.
- New City signatures to the Call to Action, now numbering 65.
- All Cities will participate in the Film Festival~Promoting Reconciliation.
- Will engage with the Women’s Forum.
The effectiveness of the FCT depends on the above outcomes being translated into action. The FCT Secretariat pledges to follow up on every outcome agreed to ensure implementation but ultimately, responsibility for and action towards project implementation belongs to the cities themselves.