The Centre for Democracy and Peace Building was launched today at the Ulster Museum in Belfast as part of Community Relations Week.
Chairman, John, Lord Alderdice, Directors, Jeffrey Donaldson MP and Liam Maskey, and CEO Eva Grosman, are bringing together the substantial international work they have each been doing separately to jointly offer a more thoughtful exploration of the Irish Peace Process for those from other conflicts who want to hear the Northern Ireland story.
By working with people in other areas of conflict they hope to contribute to rekindling momentum in the Peace Process and by linking with partners in political and civil society here, bring some fresh approaches to understanding conflict and addressing the legacy problems which still stand in the way of a stable, shared and inclusive society.
A think-tank component of the Centre’s activities will be developed through collaboration with local academic institutions and with Oxford, Harvard and other universities with whom they are already linked – already plans are being put in place for a conference in Belfast later this year.
The Centre will also promote local initiatives and campaigns, and next week, with a number of partner agencies, they will launch ‘Unite against Hate’ – a programme challenging prejudice and hate crime.
Lord Alderdice, Chairman of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building said: “Momentum has been lost in the Peace Process and problems from the past still cast a shadow over efforts to move forward. Meanwhile a new generation is growing up wondering what it was all about. Despite our current problems people from conflicts across an increasingly chaotic world keep coming to ask about our story hoping they can learn something that might help them. I am delighted to have joined with Jeffrey Donaldson, Liam Maskey and Eva Grosman to offer a more thoughtful explanation of our Peace Process, ‘warts and all’, and to bring some new ideas that may help promote peace and stability in Northern Ireland.”