In this article, Northern Ireland Program Director Nigel Glenny explains the importance behind the program’s new name, “Conflict, Peace and Transition in Northern Ireland.”
Growing up in Northern Ireland, during an extended period of violent conflict, it was very clear to me that names can mean a lot. One’s name could easily identify you as “belonging” or “not belonging” to a specific identity group. This could directly impact your happiness, mobility, and safety.
Twenty years after the signing of a peace settlement, the transition from violent conflict to sustainable peace in Northern Ireland continues to be very challenging. In a society that remains deeply divided, understandings and experiences of “belonging” (and not belonging/ not being allowed to belong) continue to hold great significance.
Our previous program title, “Democracy and Social Change in Northern Ireland” served us well for 17 years, speaking to some of our key priorities building a shared and equal society. Moving forward, and very much based on students’ experiences, we wanted to convey, with more precision, the substance of the program. In order to transition from conflict to peace, many challenging issues, including dealing with hurt that has been caused by violence, still needs to be addressed. Each new day bings to our attention the needs of victims/ survivors and those seeking truth, justice, and reconciliation.
It is our hope that the new program title, “Conflict, Peace, and Transition in Northern Ireland” will speak more clearly to students considering studying abroad.
If you are interested in, and want to contribute to, conflict transformation, the pursuit of peace, dealing with injustice, building relationships of trust, and finding ways in which people feel confident in their sense of belonging, “Conflict, Peace, and Transition in Northern Ireland” could be the program for you! Click here to learn more about the program.