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Peacebuilding in Northern Ireland: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives

14 October 2020

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A major panel discussion organised by Dr Giada Lagana, Research Associate at Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, will aim to demonstrate that the relationship between Northern Ireland and the EU has been much more significant in the peace process than it has ever been suggested.

The event, at 4PM on Monday 9th November, forms part of the week-long ESRC Festival of Social Sciences, and is organised jointly by Cardiff University and the Queen’s University of Belfast.

Despite being all but absent in the debates prior to the Brexit referendum in June 2016, Northern Ireland moved to centre stage in the negotiations for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU.

Of particular concern was whether the implementation of Brexit could threaten the peace process and, related to this, the openness of the Irish border which was soon to become a UK/EU boundary. Nevertheless, the significance of the economic and political contributions of the European Union (EU) to the Northern Ireland peace process is still only marginally known.

By bringing together academics and peace practitioners, the panel discussion will shed light on the subtle nexus between theories, policies, and practices of the EU in building peace in Northern Ireland. This nexus matters because the EU still lacks a precise strategy of peacebuilding.

Speakers include:

  • David Bolton, trauma researcher, writer, practitioner and founding director of the Northern Ireland Centre for Trauma and Transformation.
  • Patrick Colgan, former Chief Executive of the Special EU Programmes Body and Special Representative of the Irish Government to the Colombian Ministry for Post Conflict.
  • Professor Cathal McCall, expert on EU cross-border cooperation and conflict transformation, Queen’s University of Belfast.
  • Dr Laurence McKeown, former IRA volunteer and project director under PEACE III and PEACE IV.
  • Dr Mary C. Murphy, Jean Monnet Chair in European Integration and lecturer in politics at the University College Cork.
  • Avila Kilmurray, Development Officer with the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action and director of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, which oversaw the implementation of PEACE funding to ex-prisoners.

The event is open to all, and registration is available at this link.

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