Community leaders from Derry and the north west are to head off to the war-ravaged Balkans to learn about efforts towards reconciliation.
The new project is the latest in a range of initiatives spearheaded by Derry City Council and its partners in Strabane and Omagh and aimed at promoting peace.
A total of £40,000 has been set aside for the project.
The NW Peace III Partnership of the three councils has now issued a tender for an organisation or consortium to design and deliver the “international study trip to the Balkan area for emerging leaders”. The project will examine opportunities to exchange ideas and experiences with counterparts from the region, which incorporates Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia.
The Yugoslav Wars saw the former Yugoslavia torn apart, with atrocities in various regions, during the 1990s. In recent years however the area has become a major tourist destination, while efforts towards reconciliation are ongoing.
The new local initiative will involve research and trans-national learning on peace, conflict resolution and reconciliation, and is expected to get under way within weeks. The provider will be tasked with enlisting 25 people, including 15 to 18 “emerging leaders” to take part. They will develop the project, arrange the Balkan trip and sort out a course for the participants before they go. The aim is to develop new leaders who can go on to challenge and address sectarianism and racism, particularly among communities deemed “disaffected”.
The successful tender will work alongside the NW Peace III Partnership to deliver it, and Derry City Council has issued the tender on behalf of the partnership.