EU funded Derry Model conflict transformation and building peace project is the key to future
The Bloody Sunday Trust along with project partner The Pat Finucane Centre has developed the Conflict Transformation and Peace-building Project.
The project is funded by the European Union’s Special EU Programmes Body/Peace IV and aims to provide support, resources and opportunities to those who feel that the ‘Derry Experience’ could be used as a tool in making progress within their own set of circumstances.
It incorporates a number of integrated peace-building, education and social justice projects where some contentious issues have been resolved which remain particularly divisive in other parts of the north, as a catalyst for conflict transformation, primarily within Northern Ireland, but also within Ireland, Britain and internationally.
To date, over 400 participants have engaged with the project, spending two days in the city in modules exploring justice/ legacy, parading, heritage, education and dialogue prior to restrictions. Courses have since been facilitated online. Participants explore the outcomes, lessons and learnings from Derry’s role in conflict transformation, said Maeve McLaughlin, Bloody Sunday Trust Project Manager.
The project aims to deliver 15 workshops per year, each with 10 participants, drawn from a range of different communities across Northern Ireland. Participants come from areas which have suffered from conflict, unresolved legacy issues, community tension and social deprivation.
Over a four-year period this equates to 60 planned visits with 600 attendees, with representative of the Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist (PUL) and Catholic, Republican, Nationalist (CRN) communities taking part together and with others from different backgrounds. Former British soldiers and Republican and Loyalist combatants have been among those who have also taken part.
The Conflict Transformation and Peace-building Project strives to create an environment where positive relations are promoted respectfully, cultural diversity is celebrated and people can live, learn and socialise together free from prejudice, hate and intolerance.
Many past participants have said they found their participation inspirational and said they cherished the opportunity for respectful, open and honest dialogue. Others have said they hoped to see the learning from the Derry Model applied more widely in their own and other areas of conflict.