Derry’s contribution to world peace

Michael Doherty, Peace and Reconciliation Group joins Angela Askin, Derry City Council Community Relations Officer and Earl Storey, author of Bridging the Gap, at the report's launch on Tuesday.
Michael Doherty, Peace and Reconciliation Group joins Angela Askin, Derry City Council Community Relations Officer and Earl Storey, author of Bridging the Gap, at the report's launch on Tuesday.

Derry was this week recognised as having made a significant contribution to lasting peace, not only within its own constituency but also in 12 cities in conflict zones across the world.

Tuesday past saw the launch of Bridging the Gap -- a report of a major international conference held in the city last year. The event was held at Parliament Buildings, with support from the Speaker’s Office.

The conference demonstrated how political and community leaders from the city are actively working with cities in other conflict zones to take practical actions that improve the livelihoods of all citizens of the city. It was published with backing from the Community Relations Council, and describes the work of the Forum for Cities in Transition and proceedings of its annual conference in May 2011 in the city’s Guildhall.

Former Chair of the local Derry Forum group, Angela Askin said:

“The conference brought together over 70 delegates from 12 cities that have experienced violent conflict - places as diverse as Kirkuk in Iraq; Jerusalem in the Middle East; Kaduna in northern Nigeria; and Mitrovica in Kosovo.

“It was an opportunity for people who are working through their own deep wounds of division to honestly share how they are meeting the challenges in their communities transitioning from conflict to lasting peace. We are not just an annual gathering or a mere talking shop - our actions are making the momentum for peace unstoppable.”

Ms. Askin thanked all funders who supported the conference, including Monitor, The Ireland Funds, the International Fund for Ireland, and especially Irish Aid (Department of Foreign Affairs), whose vision for offering local experiences for useful and practical undertakings coincides with that of the Forum’s.

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. It is a means of bringing together many different sectors of local society to find new ways of working together for the common good.