Glencree The Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation is an independent, non-governmental organisation that works with individuals and groups to transform violent conflict, promote reconciliation, build sustainable peace and work towards more inclusive, equitable, and diverse societies. Located in the Wicklow Hills, 22km from the centre of Dublin, it has had a chequered history. A former 18th British Army Barracks, it was the first reformatory built for boys and young men for almost 90 years and it became a refugee centre for German children after the Second World War and the bombing of Dresden.
Founded in 1974 as a response to ‘the Troubles’ by a then child of the Irish Civil War, Una O’Higgins O’Malley was described as ‘a quiet resolute women’ whose own experience of the violent death of her father Kevin O’Higgins, first Minister for Justice in the Free State Executive was to shape her life in the interests of reconciliation across the island of Ireland. A place where people could meet to have sensitive conversations, it developed a track record of facilitating under-the-radar dialogue sessions between former combatants, victims and survivors of violence and a range of opposing political interests throughout the 80s, 90s and specifically in the run up to the Good Friday Agreement and beyond.
One of its key strategic priorities (2017-2026) continues to be dedicated to deepening reconciliation within and between communities on the islands of Ireland and Britain. It does its work by facilitating dialogue, network and relationship building, sharing the learning when appropriate, building capacities and promoting public discourse. Glencree works with young leaders and peacebuilders, women, new communities in a changing Ireland, and continues to address the legacy of a violent past through a recently awarded four-year PEACE 4 Programme.
Today, Glencree has long recognised that the legacy of past violence has cast a long shadow, one which struggles to acknowledge and address past hurt. As a result, relationships on this island have become fractured and opinions polarised as each constituency seeks to advocate for its own tribe. A failure to comprehensively address the legacy of past violence, aborted attempts to resuscitate government institutions have led to a political impasse which has been further complicated by the failure of the UK government to spell out its intentions in relation to the Border following their exit from the EU. Furthermore it is also evident that a younger generation now exists that while not having been directly impacted by the conflict, exist as a result in deeply segregated communities and silos, have a limited opportunities to understand ‘the other’ and are largely ignorant of the negotiation process that preceded the agreement or its importance as a framework for peace on the island of Ireland and Great Britain. For further information on Glencree, please visit www.glencree.ie or Facebook.
GAME - Global Alliance for Muslims and Equality Glencree has been one of several partner organisations working with Professor Padraig O’Malley, John Joseph Moakley Distinguished Professor of Peace and Reconciliation at John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston, to create a process for young Muslims to have a voice and be empowered to better manage the marginalised states they live in to varying degrees. GAME. The Global Alliance for Muslims and Equality was founded to establish and develop a space for a cohort of young Muslims, from major cities across Europe with significant Muslim populations, to draw up a Charter of Rights for Stigmatized Young Muslims, a code of conduct entrenching a commitment to non-violence to achieve their goals and aspirations, but also articulating their grievances rarely acknowledge and almost never remedied.
GAME began in Bulgaria in March 2017 and continued in Co. Wicklow in October 2017 to provide these young people with an opportunity to be at the centre of the solution: to create new affirming community activities, become advocates for their own behalf, belong to a constructive cause, and connect in a global movement with like-minded Muslim youth. They created a counter-narrative to the widely-held perceptions of Muslim youth as the unstated threat. This conference concentrated on providing the tools to the 44 young Muslims in attendance to enable them to draw up the charter of rights and to inaugurate them as the founding members of the GAME movement. GAME is a fluid conception, not an organizational one.
On the final day of the conference, the youth were tasked with writing their charter with community workers and specialists as coaches. But the writing and designation of rights was the work of the youth themselves. At the conclusion of the conference, they were presented with certificates honouring them as the founding members of GAME.
The GAME youth have returned to their communities and have begun to engage in the activities defined during the conference. Throughout 2018 and 2019, teams of GAME members will visit each other in their respective cities, to get to know one another and work collectively, attend workshops to hone their skills and seminars on human rights and how to organize and communicate through social media networks.
Under the supervision of the Community Workers teams have been spreading across their communities - both Muslim and non-Muslim -- advocating on behalf of the charter, asking young Muslims to become part of a movement that espouses the doctrine of nonviolence and challenges non-Muslims to change their perceptions of young Muslims by assisting them in their endeavors. They are working to establish local GAME chapters and networks and lay the foundations for a mass movement of young Muslims across borders in Europe and the Balkans, extending their mission and advocating at the highest levels of governance on behalf of its members.
A second GAME conference will take place in Co Wicklow in October 2018 to further develop this process and create a structure that will help us move forward as a collective that works in different contexts with support from a central executive committee. The participants concerns and focus are at the centre of this process and they continue to work to support and empower other young Muslims who find themselves marginalised. Contact: Eamon.Rafter@glencree.ie
Michael Davitt short film A short film (10 minutes) on Michael Davitt, produced by Afri, entitled “Absolute Freedom and Independence: The Genius of Michael Davitt” is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mysLj2G97ic&feature=youtu.be This includes grandchildren of Michael Davitt speaking about their remarkable grandfather who was so important in the social transformation of Ireland and the development of ‘passive’ resistance.
Tools for Solidarity (TfS) TfS has launched a new pilot project in Ruvuma, Tanzania with a container of tools currently in transit; it has a fundraising film evening for this project at the Strand Cinema, Belfast on Wednesday 20th June with refreshments from 7.45pm, showing The Queen of Katwe. Details on the website at http://www.toolsforsolidarity.com tickets are £8 (concession £5)...and the latest newsletter has more news on the project. Tools for Solidarity is a non profit making development organisation from Northern Ireland run entirely by volunteers; it gives old tools a new lease of life and skilled trades people in Africa the chance of a livelihood. Tools for Solidarity, 55A Sunnyside Street, Belfast BT7 3EX, ph 028 9543 5972, E-mail: email@example.com
Corrymeela events Various upcoming open events are detailed on the Corrymeela website at https://www.corrymeela.org including the intriguingly named ones in various locations on “Brexit and the Book of Ruth” (Dublin, Belfast, Jordanstown, Monaghan, Derry – the Dublin and Belfast sessions are respectively on 14th and 19th June); a resource booklet on the theme is available on the website.
Larne-Belfast migrant solidarity walk This solidarity walk is an awareness raising event over two days on 30th June and 1st July aiming to draw attention to the experiences of people held in detention centres like Larne House because of UK immigration policy. Larne House Short-term Holding Centre holds detainees for up to a week before they are removed, transferred, or released. A large number of detainees suffer extreme isolation as they know no-one in the UK and know little of the law or their rights and entitlements. Because of their experiences at home, many are already traumatised and now find themselves detained, with no release date and with the prospect of being forcibly returned.
Starting from Larne House the walkers will make their way to Belfast over 2 days. In addition to core walkers undertaking the full 26-mile journey, people are welcome to sign up for a day and join at any point along the way. You are also welcome to join the gatherings on the nights of the 30th June (Harbour Faith Community, Carrickfergus), and 1st July (Lawrence Street Workshops, Belfast), for food, films fun, music and reflection, probably from 7-9pm. Joining the walk is free though organisers ask for a small donation towards the cost of dinner and accommodation. Money will be raised for two charities: Phone Credit for Refugees and Larne House Visitors’ Group.
To register for the walk email firstname.lastname@example.org or book a place through eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.ie
MII comments on mediation coverage in media
“The government’s proposed mediation process to help the women affected by the Cervical Check controversy has rightly received extensive coverage in the media. However, some of the coverage of how mediation operates has been misleading and inaccurate,” stated President of the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland, Sabine Walsh. “For example... some wildly inaccurate indications of the cost of mediation were broadcast. The reality is that the cost of mediated settlements is significantly lower than going to court, both in terms of fees and ancillary costs..... Some contributors discussing mediation also appeared to be unaware ..... Qualified mediators must undergo extensive training and once accredited by the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland must adhere to a code of practice and undertake continuous professional development to maintain their accreditation status.” She went on to say “It is good to see that the Mediation Act, which came into force in January, is now demonstrating, as in the recent case of a successfully mediated settlement involving the birth of a Sligo boy, that it can deliver quality settlements.” [This was settlement involving a Sligo schoolboy with cerebral palsy who sued the HSE over the circumstances of his birth at Sligo General Hospital.] http://www.themii.ie
Korea: 1,200 women in peace walk As the political situation on the Korean peninsula continues to shift, a New Era delegation with Women Cross DMZ demonstrated for peace and women’s representation in the process. A delegation of 30 women security experts and feminist peace activists from around the world (including Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire and Christine Ahn of Women Cross DMZ) participated in the second historic DMZ Peace Walk in Paju, South Korea, alongside 1,200 South Korean women mobilizing for a peaceful resolution to the Korean conflict. See http://www.peacepeople.com and neighbouring posts.
FIE take Irish government to court on climate change Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), a network of citizens committed to protecting Ireland's environment appeared at the UN climate talks in Bonn on 7th May to discuss the legal challenge it has brought against the Irish Government's failure to take the action needed to avert dangerous climate change. FIE is taking the Government of Ireland and Ireland's Attorney General to court. Sadhbh O'Neill of FIE commented, "Ireland's per capita emissions are among the highest in the EU, and our emissions are projected to increase by 7.5-10% by 2020 compared to 1990. This is the opposite of what's needed: the Government has repeatedly acknowledged in the UN that to avoid dangerous climate change Ireland should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25-40% by 2020 compared to 1990.” For more information about the Irish Climate Case, see https://www.climatecaseireland.ie
Donnellan lectures, TCD: religion, diversity, human rights The Donnellan Lectures 2018 organised by the Department of Religions & Theology, Trinity College Dublin, sees two lectures by Prof. Dr. Heiner Bielefeldt, University of Erlangen, 2010 - 2016 UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief. “Religious Freedom in a Secular Human Rights Framework – A Contradiction in Theory and Practice? “ is on 8th June at 4 p.m. in the Synge Lecture Theatre, Arts Building, Ground Floor, TCD. “Dealing with Religious Diversity – A Challenge for Law, Ethics and Theology” is on 9th June, 10 a.m. - 12 noon in TRISS Seminar Room, Arts Building, 6th Floor, TCD.
Convergence Convergence festival is currently on and runs to 9th June, “Stories and conversations for an inclusive, resilient, low carbon and health Ireland”. Most events are in Cloughjordan (Co Tipperary). See http://www.cultivate.ie
No Boundaries Coalition, USA, receives Pax Christi Peace Award Pax Christi International has announced that the No Boundaries Coalition, http://www.noboundariescoalition.com based in Baltimore, Maryland USA, is the recipient of the 2018 Pax Christi International Peace Award. The award will be presented at a ceremony later this year, date and location to be determined.
The No Boundaries Coalition was formed as a non-profit organisation in 2010 after three years of block parties had connected several diverse West Baltimore neighborhoods and enhanced resident engagement. Its primary priorities are public safety and access to healthy food; it also hosts listening and accountability fora for public officials and organises voter registration drives. The coalition's store-front office is available for community use - services range from employment assistance to treatment program support to yoga and Zumba classes. Established in 1988, the Pax Christi International Peace Award is funded by the Cardinal Bernardus Alfrink Peace Fund and honours contemporary individuals and organisations who make a stand for peace, justice and nonviolence in different parts of the world. https://www.paxchristi.net
Wikileaks, Assange “Defend Wikileaks! Free Julian Assange” is the title for a gathering at the British Embassy (29 Merrion Road, Ballsbridge), Dublin at 6pm on 19th June (6th anniversary of Julian Assange’s incarceration). Speakers will include Clare Daly TD, Mick Wallace TD, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, with musicians to be announced. For more info phone Fintan 087 6976150.
10th President, William Delaney 1957-1970 Solidarity and protest can take many forms. This project involves someone standing in the next presidential election in the Republic in the name of William Delaney who died as a direct result of institutional violence in Letterfrack industrial school in 1970 – he had been sent there after stealing a loaf of bread. The intention is partly to recognise the hurt, pain, neglect, silencing and shame inflicted on those who survived and those who did not. Full details at http://www.10thpresident.org
Jai Jagat 2020: On the move for justice and peace Thousands of marchers committed to nonviolent change all over the world will march from India, Belgium, France, Germany, Sweden, Mali, Senegal, Spain and other countries to Geneva (Switzerland). They will meet in Geneva between September 25th and October 3rd, 2020, in the city that symbolizes peaceful coexistence and that is home to many UN organizations. Geneva city and canton have both agreed to welcome the marchers for a week-long People's Action Forum to facilitate the dialogue about the conflicts and issues that local people worldwide are facing as a result of a violent, inequitable economy, polarizing politics and an accelerating arms race that is making peace a distant dream. Jai Jagat means "Victory to an Inclusive and Peaceful World" where no one is left behind -- no person, no group, no nation, no individual. Jai Jagat is working towards a new global model of bottom-up development, certain that greater social, political, economic, and ecological inclusion is the only way to achieve peace and the foundation for a just way of living together.
The focus of the Geneva action and the marches in 2019-2020 will be on young people who will bring forward the grievances of the most marginalized, with the aim of finding constructive ways to address and engage with the United Nations organizations for creating a more peaceful and just world. The four areas of constructive engagement with people and the United Nations are: (1) reducing poverty, (2) decreasing social exclusion, (3) improving ecological sustainability, and (4) halting conflict and violence. There are all sorts of ways people can be involved – see http://www.jaijagat2020.org for more information.
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