Major changes at Corrymeela
Colin Craig has now started as Executive Director of Corrymeela as part of a major restructuring which has been evolving over the last year; Colin is a former Corrymeela Centre Director from 1990-2001 (an article by him appears in the Easter 2014 issue of 'The Corrymeela Community' magazine). Bill Osborne who acted as Interim Chief Executive has now finished his work and Corrymeela is deeply grateful to him. The restructuring is intended to allow Corrymeela to play a more effective role in supporting grass roots reconciliation in Northern Ireland, particularly in the light of local government reform and broader good relations strategies. Corrymeela has a debt of gratitude to Indergit Bhogal as Leader of the Community, and Paul Hutchinson as Centre Director, who left the staff at the end of 2013. The restructuring process will continue through 2014 with a range of new staff positions and appointments coming into place - a new Head of Communications post will be advertised in early May.
2015 will be the 50th anniversary of the founding of Corrymeela and a range of events will be announced in due course. In other news, Corrymeela was recently pleased to welcome Andrew Robatham, Northern Ireland Minister of State, to the Centre. For further information on Corrymeela see www.corrymeela.org
Afri Famine Walk, Food Sovereignty Assembly
This year’s walk is on Saturday, May 17th and goes from Louisburgh to Delphi Lodge, Co. Mayo. Registration from 12.45pm; Walk beginning at 1.30pm. Walk leaders are Paul Nicholson, Luis Jalandoni, and Emanuela Russo with music by Imogen Gunner. Register online: Famine Walk 2014 on Fcebook page: The theme is “From famine to Food Sovereignty’, continuing on from last year, and the speakers will reflect on worldwide, European and Irish experiences. Similar to last year, walkers will be welcomed at Delphi Lodge where a tree will be planted and a moment’s silence will be observed in memory of those who died on the original Famine Walk in 1849. Afri, 134 Phibsborough Road, Dublin 7, ph 01 – 8827563, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Food Sovereignty Assembly: Gaining Control of Our Food
This takes place on Friday 16th May, 7.30pm, at TF Royal Hotel, Old Westport Road, Castlebar, Co. Mayo (opposite Mayo General Hospital). It will look at the failure to provide a secure income for farmers, the failure to provide healthy food for citizens, and the failure to nurture and care for our environment and the heritage of future generations. Contributions will come from Paul Nicholson (Basque Farmers Union and member of Via Campesina), Luis Jalandoni (involved with sugar workers and peasant settlers in Negros, Central Philippines), John Brennan (Leitrim Organic Farmers Coop), Rose Kelly (Afri) and a speaker from United Farmers Association. Organised by Afri in association with Food Sovereignty Ireland, to coincide with the Famine Walk the following day (contacts above).
Promise and pitfalls of compassion and forgiveness
“Exploring the Promise and Pitfalls of Compassion and Forgiveness - Sharing learning from South Africa, Israel-Palestine and the conflict in and about Northern Ireland” is a one day public event on 19th May 2014, from 9.30am to 5.00pm at Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast. It is part of an international conflict transformation project, delivered in partnership between INCORE and Beyond Walls Ltd. International Speakers include Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela and Themba Lonzi from South Africa, Bassam Aramin and Netta Hazan from Israel-Palestine, with additional input from Alistair Little and Wilhelm Verwoerd (Directors, Beyond Walls), and Brandon Hamber (INCORE). One of the aims of the project is to creatively share the learning with as many people as possible so to this end all the workshops and the public event are filmed, thus allowing for the development of multi-media educational resources. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis: RSVP not later than Monday 15th May to Shonagh Higgenbotham at email@example.com
Online course on public space and identity
The Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's University Belfast, director Dominic Bryan, has developed an online course on 'Identity, conflict and public space: contest and transformation'. This free course requires 3 hours a week and runs for 6 weeks; while it started on 28th April it remains open for the first two weeks. The course has been backed by disparate organisations on 'both sides' in the North and, while it will refer to Northern Irish examples will cast its net more widely and be of relevance elsewhere. Questions it addresses include who gets to use public spaces to express their identity, and what restrictions exist; how the state controls public space, including policing; and questions of freedom of assembly and human rights. Further details and introductory video
Christian Aid ‘Building Peace’ conference
To mark the Christian Aid Week theme of “Tackling Violence, Building Peace” , Christian Aid are running a conference in Belfast on Tuesday 13th May called “Building Peace: Footsteps along the road”. The conference is a chance to listen, learn and share experience of conflict and steps towards peace. It will explore the experience of Christian Aid staff and partners working in contexts of conflict in Colombia, Iraq and Mali. Alongside this will be the experiences of local people who have been involved in working towards peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. Speakers include Hero Anwar from Northern Iraq, Judith Maldonado from Colombia, Yacouba Kone from Mali, Professor Bill Rolston of the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University, and Bill Shaw from the 174 Trust in North Belfast. The conference will take place from 9am – 3pm at the 174 Trust, Duncairn Complex, Duncairn Avenue, Belfast BT14 6BP. Cost: £5 per person to include lunch and refreshments. Book your tickets online visit: Contact: Christian Aid, Linden House, Beechill Business Park, 96 Beechill Road, Belfast. BT8 7QN, ph 028 - 9064 8133.
Political psychology of war rape in Bosnia
A lecture on 'Transformations of Identity: The Political Psychology of War Rape in Bosnia' with Dr Inger Skjelsbaek, Peace Research Institute, Oslo, takes place in Dublin on Monday 12th May 2014 from 5.00 - 6.30 pm at the Neill/Hoey Lecture Theatre, Trinity Long Room Hub, TCD, co-organised by the Irish School of Ecumenics and the Centre for Post-Conflict Justice. For further information please visit www.tcd.ie/ise or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign to Stop Killer Robots
On 10th April, the Irish launch of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots took place at Trinity College Dublin with a keynote address by Professor Noel Sharkey, chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, a founder of the global Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. Afri—a peace and human rights organisation that opposes war and militarization—held the launch in association with the International Peace Studies Programme of the Irish School of Ecumenics. Other organisations participating in the Irish Campaign to Stop Killer Robots include Amnesty International Ireland and Pax Christi Ireland. As part of the launch events, Professor Sharkey and Irish NGO representatives met with officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Irish Defence Forces to discuss the new campaign and its objectives. In the meeting with NGOs, Irish disarmament officials confirmed that Ireland will participate in the first multilateral meeting to discuss concerns over these dangerous new weapons at the United Nations in Geneva in May. A short film (3 min) about the launch by Dave Donnellan.
Tools for Solidarity moving, anniversary
After more than 20 years settled in Crumlin Road, Belfast, Tools will have its own building. In March TFS took possession of the keys to its very own workshop at 55a Sunnyside Street – two traditional brick workshops/warehouses adjoined by offices in South Belfast, assisted by a loan from UCIT. There is also a small piece of land outside the compound belonging to the building which could be utilised in the future. There is so much work to be done before moving in - donations, materials or financial, welcome.
TFS will be celebrating 30 years of work with a festival in the period 20th - 24th August, including a gig at the Dockers Club on Friday 22nd August, with Tim McGarry as MC. See www.toolsforsolidarity.com
Escalating hostilities affect Chernobyl
The increasingly volatile situation in Ukraine has raised fresh fears over a $2 billion internationally funded construction project to make the still highly unstable Chernobyl nuclear power plant safe for the next 100 years. A gigantic containment shield - the largest moveable structure ever constructed - was due to be placed over the leaking reactor by the end of next year (October 2015) but it has now emerged that this could be delayed by up to two years. Chernobyl Children International states that the world - and Ireland as one of the countries funding this work - needs to be fully aware of the ongoing seriousness of the situation at Chernobyl. CEO Adi Roche says "Chernobyl is the old Soviet Union's deadly legacy to Ukraine and the world has very real reason to be extremely concerned about the ongoing threat it poses, especially at a time of great instability and growing hostility between Ukraine and Russia".
The situation in Ukraine has forced the suspension of a cardiac surgery programme organised by Chernobyl Children International (CCI) which is a joint initiative between Ireland, Ukraine and the US. See www.chernobyl-international.com
‘Lipstick on pig’ for Climate Bill
Friends of the Earth has described the Government's proposed changes to the Climate Bill as minor, mostly cosmetic, improvements: FOE Director, Oisin Coghlan said: "Minister Hogan's changes amount to little more than lipstick on a pig. His draft Bill was weak and his proposed changes are minor, mostly cosmetic, improvements. He has ignored the key recommendations of the all-party Oireachtas Committee report.” The draft Bill will next go to the Dáil and Seanad for debate, amendment and adoption. The draft and accompanying documents are on the Department's website.
Friends of the Earth, 9 Upper Mount Street, Dublin 2, ph 01 - 6394652, /www.foe.ie
Death of Hazel Senior
We regret to record the death, on 20th March, of Hazel Senior, former chair of the Peace People, and long time activist with Kilcranny House who say “Hazel was a stalwart supporter of the values and mission of Kilcranny House - the pursuit of peace and reconciliation in an increasingly troubled world.” A photo of her in 1986 appears on the INNATE photo site.
Discover the world through volunteering
There are over 750 exciting and worthwhile projects which volunteers can be involved in during 2014 through Service Civil International – in Ireland, Europe, and the wider world. The short- term volunteer projects (10 days to 2 months) enable people from Ireland to join with international volunteers and assist with a wide variety of projects of benefit to local communities and voluntary organisations. No Fundraising is needed. Volunteers receive free food and accommodation; pay their travel costs to/from the project; pay a small registration fee to VSI. VSI organises a comprehensive preparation for all volunteers. See www.vsi.ie Voluntary Service International, 30 Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1, ph 01 – 8551011.
International peace pilgrimage to Syria via Iran
Mairead Maguire and Ann Patterson of the Peace People were part an International Peace Pilgrimage to Syria via Iran, from 5th- 14th April. A report appears on the Peace People website
International solidarity and nonviolent resistance
This WRI webinar will take place on Tuesday, 13th May 2014 at 6.00 pm South African time led by Janet Cherry. Janet will examine contemporary and historical case studies of international solidarity campaigns, and invite discussion on lessons to be learned about strategies for effective international solidarity. The focus will be on labour movements and direct action campaigns, with examples from Africa, but with the objective of drawing out general lessons applicable to a range of struggles in various contexts. Janet is an activist and academic based at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. This is the fourth webinar in a series of webinars to follow in the run up to WRI 2014 Cape Town Conference in South Africa. To register for this webinar, please follow this link.
'Beyond Forgiving' film
INCORE in partnership with Initiatives of Change, The Wilderness Foundation and Healing Through Remembering is screening the award-winning film 'Beyond Forgiving' with Ginn Fourie & Letlapa Mphahele from South Africa at 5pm for 5.30pm start until 7.30pm on Friday 30th May in The Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts, Duncairn Ave, Belfast BT14 6BP. Followed by input and questions; Ginn and Letlapa will talk about their experience moving from victimhood to survivor in post-Apartheid South Africa. The audience will be invited to ask questions and debate on healing and reconciliation. Book here or for information contact Talia Smith ph 020 7798 6000
Fracking Free Ireland Campaign for the local elections
At the end of April 2014, Friends of the Earth launched the Fracking Free Ireland campaign for the local elections in the Republic In the run up to polling day in the Republic to be held on May 23rd, candidates are being asked to take the ‘Fracking Free Ireland Pledge’ which calls for a commitment to oppose the development of this controversial fossil fuel extraction industry in Ireland. The pledge simply states, “I support a Fracking Free Ireland. If elected, I will work to ensure that fracking is not permitted in my area.” The programme on FOE’s site above makes it easy to contact candidates.
In addition, the International “Frack-Free Europe” campaign was launched by the Euro-Maghreb Network this month. This campaign asks Members of the European Parliament and candidates in the European elections to commit to supporting a range of measures including a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in Europe and the introduction of strict regulation specific to unconventional fossil fuel extraction.
Afghanistan: the forgotten war, meeting
Eyewitness accounts and analysis from the peace movement, at the Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square, Dublin on Wednesday 7th May from 7 – 9 pm, with Maya Evans, Coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence UK, and Ewa Jasiewicz, journalist, union organiser and human rights activist. Organised by Afri and Voices for Creative Non-violence. For further information contact 01 – 8827563 or 087 - 3360567.
Rossport Solidarity Camp General Meeting
All interested are invited to a review meeting at Pullathomas, Co Mayo, 10.00 am Saturday 24th May to consider the current status of the solidarity movement and discuss how to best continue the work into the future. The meeting is to try to resolve the question “Is there a cohesive group who can and want to continue/reform/transform the Rossport Solidarity Camp organisation, including managing its assets and outstanding obligations?” and plan accordingly. Further details here.
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