The course will reflect on the causes and history of The Troubles (1969-1998) as well as the tortuous peace process following the Belfast Agreement in 1998. Based on that agreement, Northern Ireland’s devolved government finally became a reality in 2008. Local peacebuilding through dialogue is central to understanding how peace has been maintained.
Dialogue requires responsiveness which is made possible by qualities of thought and talk allowing transformation to take place: transformation in how people understand the self, the other and the societies they inhabit. These qualities of thought and talk include a willingness to risk change in one’s own perspective and a commitment to embracing others whose worldwide views may be different from and threatening to one’s own. Additionally students will enhance their communication abilities through profile writing, blogging, and photography.
- Meet with peace practitioners, former combatants and local leaders from both the Nationalist and Unionist communities in Northern Ireland
- Walk the famous 17th century wall of Derry with an experienced local guide
- Visit the Shankill and Falls Road areas of Belfast, their murals, and “peace walls” with former combatants from the Nationalist and Unionist communities as guides
- Hear first-hand how local peace leaders have created projects to work toward understanding and healing
- Learn interviewing and facilitation skills for building dialogic practices as well as writing profile pieces and blogging.