Boko Haram crisis resolution will be long: Michael Doherty (BBC Radio Ulster)

Speaking on the BBC Radio Ulster news programme, Good Morning Ulster, FCT Derry-Londonderry chairperson Michael Doherty discussed the current girl kidnapping crisis in Nigeria, by Boko Haram.

Mr Doherty explained that Boko Haram has a literal translation of the prohibition of Western education, and how its leader has a belief that the captured girls are spoils of war, with whom he can have sex.

Doherty believes that the girls have been split up into smaller groups, making a recovery process more difficult.

He quoted fellow Forum member from Kaduna, Pastor James Wuye, who said that once someone is indoctrinated with the values of hate, it takes time to decommission that mindset. Consequently, the larger issue of the hold that Boko Haram has in parts of Nigeria will take much longer than people presume:

FCT 2013 Northern Ireland interviews (BBC Radio Ulster)

Karen Patterson (BBC Radio Ulster) interviews Tim Attwood (FCT Belfast) and Michael Doherty (FCT Derry-Londonderry) about their forthcoming travel to Kaduna, Nigeria, for the annual conference of the Forum for Cities in Transition:

Mark Patterson (BBC Radio Foyle) interviews Michael Doherty separately:

Derry-Londonderry group finds hope in Iraq

Derry-Londonderry group finds hope in Iraq
Forum for Cities in Transition
14 October 2012

A delegation from the Maiden City returned from a four-day visit to Kirkuk, Iraq, where they shared learning with twelve cities in transition from conflict towards a sustainable future.

The delegation from Derry-Londonderry, which hosted last year’s Forum for Cities in Transition event, included Councillor Gerard Diver, Jon Burrows, Michael Doherty, and Chris Yates.

Gerard Diver, former Mayor of Derry-Londonderry, remarked:

“This was my fourth consecutive attendance of these Forum meetings, starting with a pilot conference in Boston in 2009. The annual gatherings are excellent opportunities to learn from each other.

“We found hope and confidence among our counterparts in Kirkuk, towards building a better city with improved public services for all its citizens.”

Michael Doherty, director of the Peace and Reconciliation Group, added:

“Crucially, these annual events are followed up by specific pledges — real projects delivered in collaboration with other member cities. In the past we’ve brought police officers from Mitrovica to Derry-Londonderry, to learn how we deliver community based policing.

“Excitingly, resulting from this year’s conference in Kirkuk, we will investigate how we can host a delegation from the Kirkuk Police Service to participate in the 2013 World Police & Fire Games.”

Chris Yates, PSNI Foyle Chief Inspector, and his colleague Jon Burrows, reflected on what they saw in Kirkuk:

“During our visit in Iraq, we met with civil society leaders, and we are greatly encouraged by their work, especially considering the greater security instability that they face daily.

“It is the mixture of the need to provide security and consensual policing, with broad engagement with local communities, that provides the sound foundations for sustainable peace. Witnessing other cities pursue this approach gave us confidence that we are getting things right back home.”

ENDS

NOTES

The Forum for Cities in Transition is an international network of mayors, councillors, municipal officials, business people, and representatives of the voluntary and community sector.

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.

The Forum for Cities in Transition is an initiative of the John Joseph Moakley Chair at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The Secretariat is shared by the Northern Ireland Foundation and the Moakley Chair.

The 2012 annual gathering of the Forum was held in Kirkuk, Iraq, from 7-10 October, hosted by Kirkuk Provincial Council and facilitated by INSAN Iraqi Society. The participating cities were: Beirut, Belfast, Derry-Londonderry, Kaduna, Kirkuk, Mitrovica, Mitte, Mostar, Nicosia, Ramallah and Tripoli.

Conflict and mental health on the agenda for international conference

Conflict and mental health on the agenda for international conference
by Forum for Cities in Transition
26 May 2011

The final day of the second annual Forum for Cities in Transition conference will focus on the link between conflict and mental health.

The conference which has been ongoing in the Guildhall all week has brought together 12 cities emerging from conflict to the city to discuss transition from conflict to peace.

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. The Derry-Londonderry Forum is a founding member.

Spokesperson for the local forum for Cities in Transition, Michael Doherty said

“Northern Ireland is in many ways more advanced in our peace process than many of the countries participating in the conference, which is why we have decided to focus on conflict and mental health. At last year’s conference in Kosovo, many of the participants wanted to discuss this issue, as this is something we have experienced in our own transition from conflict to peace.”

The panel brings together academics and practitioners working in the field of conflict and mental to discuss the issue. Panellist include Brandon Hamber, Maureen Hetherington, Lord John Alderdice, Marie Breen-Smyth, David Bolton and Arlene Healy.

After the panel discussion, delegates will come together in smaller groups to discuss what they have heard, and outline practical examples of how they can bring what they have learned back to their own communities and cities.

ENDS

Notes to the editor:

  • 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
  • The conference is funded by Department of Foreign Affairs, International Fund for Ireland, American Ireland Funds and Monitor, Boston.

Culture, art and conflict: Learning from the Derry-Londonderry experience

Culture, art and conflict: Learning from the Derry-Londonderry experience
By Forum for Cities in Transition
24 May 2011

Delegates attending the second annual Forum for Cities in Transition conference will learn how we have transformed our communities through the arts.

The conference is taking place this week in the Guildhall, and delegates from 12 cities will focus on culture and the arts as a part of the second day’s agenda.

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 at a meeting of the Derry-Londonderry forum, Michael Doherty, forum member said:

“On Tuesday we are focussing on how the people of the City have used culture and art, to bring our two communities out of conflict and help to build peace and reconciliation.

“We have specially included panel discussions to showcase the achievements of our city in the field of art and culture and to illustrate how we have brought our two communities together through performing and visual arts. We also want to show participants how we have worked to develop a shared understanding of culture.”

Panellists for this session, which is chaired by Pauline Ross of the Playhouse, are Erik Ehn from Brown University, Alice McCartney, Derry City Council, Declan Mc Gonigle and Mela Zuljevic, an international delegate.

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. That is why we are taking delegates out of the conference hall and into our local communities and to let them and speak to people working in our communities and peace building at a local level. Delegates will visit, Culturlann, Bogside Artists, Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall, Caw and Nelson Drive re-imagining communities programme and the International School of Peace.

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

Peace tops agenda for world forum (Belfast Telegraph)

Peace tops agenda for world forum
Mary-Anne McNulty (Belfast Telegraph)
11 May 2011

A major international peace studies symposium is to be held in Londonderry this month.

The second annual Forum for Cities in Transition conference will see delegates form 12 conflict-affected cities, including Jerusalem and Beirut, gather in the Guildhall for the four-day event.

According to forum chiefs, delegates chose member city Londonderry as this year’s venue because of the “desire to come and learn first-hand from the cities’ experience of the Northern Ireland peace process”.

The forum, an initiative of the Moakley Chair of Peace and Reconciliation at the University of Massachusetts Boston, was set up in 2009 with the aim of encouraging mutual learning, dialogue and the resolution of conflict through non-violent methods.

It is based on the principle that cities in conflict or that have emerged from conflict are in the best position to help other cities in the same situation.

Derry/Londonderry forum Michael Doherty said he expected day two of the conference, which will focus on the positive impact the arts has had on community relations in the city, to be a particular highlight.

“We want to show participants how we’ve used various forms of art to transform our communities, and used culture and arts to bring our two communities together”, he said.

Delegates will be brought on a special fact-finding  tour of many of the city’s cultural hotspots, including the Playhouse and Waterside theatres and the Bogside Artists’ area.

Panel discussions showcasing the output of the city’s artists and performers have also been arranged.

“We want delegates to go home with practical ideas and solutions they can put into practices at home and strengthen their own efforts in peace building in their own cities.”

Other topics which will be explored include the wider peace process in Northern Ireland and the experiences of women in transition societies. The conference runs from May 23 to 26 at the Guildhall.