Lord Alderdice awarded Honorary Doctorate

Lord Alderdice has today (Tuesday, July 10) been awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Literature) by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Professor, the Lord Alderdice FRCPsych, is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords and was the Chairman of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords during the Liberal/Conservative Coalition Government.

As Leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland he played a significant role in negotiating the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, and when the Northern Ireland Assembly was elected he became the first Speaker of the new Assembly. In 2004 he retired as Speaker on being appointed by the British and Irish Governments to be one of the four members of the international Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), put in place to close down the paramilitary organizations and monitor security normalization.

On presenting Lord Alderdice to the congregation Gwilym Dyfri Jones, Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor , said:

“It is my very great privilege this morning to present the Lord Alderdice to receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature in recognition of his services to international peace co-operation and the furtherance of intercultural dialogue. Lord Alderdice is a remarkable individual and an excellent role model. His vision, courage and personal commitment to the Irish Peace Process have been outstanding and, through his achievements, a real difference has been made to the lives of the people of Northern Ireland.”

On receiving the award at the ceremony, Lord Alderdice said:

“I’m absolutely delighted and hugely honoured to receive this honour from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. It’s a great pleasure to be here and to share the day with lots of young graduates and to see the opportunities there are for them in their lives.

I’ve had an opportunity to work on issues of conflict resolution in my own part of the world, Northern Ireland and other places as well. It’s a difficult world and we desperately need bright young people to help make a positive difference for the next generation. That’s what these young people are heading out to do now after having a tremendous foundation at the university.”

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He has long been active in international liberal politics and was a Vice-President of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party and then President of Liberal International (the global federation of more than 100 liberal political parties). He is now Presidente d’Honneur of Liberal International.

Previously a consultant psychiatrist at the Centre for Psychotherapy he established in Belfast, he is currently a Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Maryland (Baltimore), Director of the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at Harris Manchester College (University of Oxford) and Chairman of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building (Belfast).

Lord Alderdice has spent a life-time working on understanding and addressing religious fundamentalism, radicalization, terrorism and violent political conflict in various parts of the world. More recently he has also been working on the problems of indigenous peoples and their conflicts with the incomers. He consults, lectures and writes on these issues, and has been recognized with many honorary degrees and prizes, including the International Psychoanalytic Association Award for Extraordinarily Meritorious Service to Psychoanalysis, the World Federation of Scientists Prize for the application of Science to the Cause of Peace and Liberal International’s Prize for Freedom.

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Annual Report 2018: The challenges of our time

In my life-time there has never been a greater need, across the world, for people to work for democracy and peace building.

When we started CDPB our focus was largely on Northern Ireland – what we had learned, and what we needed to do to complete the Peace Process. It has been exciting and inspirational to work with colleagues in CDPB, especially our remarkable CEO, Eva Grosman, as well as with friends and co-workers in the public, private and community sectors at home and right across the world. As you will see from even the briefest glance through the pages of this report, CDPB has been active from the Middle East to Latin America, throughout Europe, with colleagues in the United States, the United Kingdom and of course North and South of the border in Ireland.

In all these many activities we have seen much to confirm and develop both our understandings of conflict and violence, and also what we might call ‘civil paths to peace’. However, as I noted in last year’s report, we face huge challenges. How can we contribute to getting devolution in Northern Ireland back up and running? What is it possible to do to improve the atmosphere and attitudes in our divided community? Where can we find the best ideas for achieving an outcome to Brexit that takes us forward and not backward on the island of Ireland and in the United Kingdom? These are tough questions, and the answers involve everyone paying some kind of price, but with the chance of enormous community benefit.

You will see in this report an extraordinary range and level of activity. Some of our work, like Music Unite, has built on the methods and ideas that we have been using for a few years now, albeit with a number of new partners and new types of music. In other areas we have been exploring novel ways of understanding what can be done to capitalize on the extraordinary pace of technological development. There has rightly been much focus in the media on the threats from social media to personal privacy and freedom, and the proper functioning of democracy, and we are very conscious of these challenges, but we also believe that these technologies can bring new options and opportunities for democracy and peace building and we will continue to work on this in the upcoming year.

In any report of the past year I must of course draw attention to the cooperation with the British Council and others on the Peace and Beyond Conference in Belfast in April 2018 marking the twentieth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. This was a week of amazing events with real political significance and impact and we hope to work further with British Council in the next twelve months.

As we indicated last year the Board of CDPB has decided to engage more closely with some of our partners outside Ireland and especially the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at based at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford and already I look forward to being able to report next year on the new ways in which we are continuing to fulfil our commitment to democracy and peace building.

There are few things that are more challenging, or more worthwhile and necessary, and few colleagues more inspiring to work with than those in CDPB.

Why not join us and make your contribution?

John, Lord Alderdice

New tech, prosperity and peace @ Digital DNA

CDPB are delighted to host in partnership with Build Up a session on “New tech, prosperity and peace” at the annual Digital DNA conference in St. George’s Market, Belfast.

We will explore how creative industries and technological innovation in private, public and community sectors are re-shaping economic organisation, and how these can be leveraged to create more equitable and peaceful societies.

The panellists will include Michaela Ledesma, Build Up Program Director, Tim Brundle, Director of Research and Impact at Ulster University and John Peto, Director of Education, Nerve Centre. The discussion will be chaired by CDPB CEO Eva Grosman.

Over two days, Digital DNA – the most valuable & energetic, business & technology event in Ireland – will allow you to engage with 3,000 delegates from across a wide range of industries. Let over 150 of our speakers inspire you with their eclectic knowledge across our eight key themes: Marketing, Data, Security, FinTech, DevOps, Innovation, Tech for Good and Startups. More information: https://digitaldna.org.uk/

Ulster University in partnership with Build Up and CDPB to host Build Peace in October 2018

Ulster University in partnership with Build Up and the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, will host the fifth international Build Peace conference.

Taking place from 29-31 October, the conference brings together practitioners, activists, academics, policy makers, artists and technologists from across the world to share experience and ideas on using technology, arts and other innovations for peacebuilding and conflict transformation.
The conference will bring together over 300 international delegates and cover three key themes including creativity and reconciliation, inclusion and social cohesion and sustainability and resilience. Across the three days there will be a series of short talks, dialogues, workshops and interactive exhibitions.

Professor Duncan Morrow, Director of Community Engagement at Ulster University said:
“Peace and conflict reconciliation is a key research area at Ulster University. We are very pleased to be a part of this conference which brings together thought leaders from across the world, to look at how we can use the creative industries to build peace and transform our societies. As Northern Ireland’s civic university our campuses are enshrined in their local communities. We are proud to produce globally significant research with local relevance. This conference is an excellent opportunity to reflect on peace and conflict innovations and with the recent celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, showcase learning from Northern Ireland.”

Michaela Ledesma, Co-founder of the Build Peace conference and Build Up Programs Director, said:
“We’re excited to celebrate the 5th year of the Build Peace conference in Belfast this October and, in particular, to explore how innovation is and can empower communities to address key economic challenges. We often hear that Build Peace is a different type of event – one that puts the focus on people who are doing the challenging, long-term work to transform their societies. We warmly thank the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, Ulster University, and Visit Belfast for their support, and look forward to a rich exchange between change-makers in Northern Ireland and our global community from 60+ countries at Build Peace 2018.”

Eva Grosman, CEO of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building said:
“We are absolutely delighted that Build Peace will take place in Ulster University’s Belfast campus this October. Following successful events in the US, Cyprus, Switzerland and Colombia, it is now time for Northern Ireland to showcase some remarkable projects, to learn and exchange ideas with colleagues from across the globe and to explore how technology, innovation and creativity can re-shape the economic opportunities, economic organisation and economic power that impact how we live together in peace. We are truly grateful for the support from Ulster University and Visit Belfast in securing this significant conference coming to Belfast this year and look forward to developing further partnerships in public, private and community sectors.”

For further information and to book your place at the Peace Build conference please visit http://howtobuildpeace.org/registration

Build Peace 2018: Re-Imagining Prosperity

Come and join us at the launch of Build Peace 2018 and learn how you can take part and contribute to this exciting international conference.

Every year, Build Peace brings together practitioners, activists, academics, policy makers, artists and technologists from around the world to share experience and ideas on using technology, arts and other innovations for peacebuilding and conflict transformation.

Build Peace 2018 is coming to Northern Ireland! It will take place from 29 – 31 October at Ulster University, Belfast. We will be Re-Imagining Prosperity and explore how technological innovation and creativity re-shape the economic opportunities, economic organisation, and economic power that impact how we live together in peace – in the Global North and the Global South alike.

We will organise our collective inquiry across three sub-themes:

• Creativity & Reconciliation: How can creative and digital economies contribute to reconciliation and coexistence?
• Inclusion & Social Cohesion: How can creative and digital economies help secure access to prosperity for all in conflict and post-conflict settings?
• Sustainability & Resilience: What new or under-utilised modes of organising linked to creative and digital economies contribute most to community resilience to conflict?

Programme will include short talks, dialogues, workshops, unconference, interactive exhibition, hackathon, film night and game jam. You can apply to contribute here: http://howtobuildpeace.org/registration by 30 June 2018. We are excited to hear your ideas!

Build Peace 2018 is brought to you in partnership by Build Up, Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, and our academic partner Ulster University. Read more at: http://howtobuildpeace.org.

Home of Hope. Marking 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

This week in Belfast, over 200 international delegates from around the globe will come to Belfast for ‘Peace and Beyond’. This is an international conference focused on peace-building to mark the 20th anniversary of the Agreement led by the British Council in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast & Ulster University in association with CDPB. This international focus reflects the ripple of the Agreement and encourages us to realise that we can be global leaders in how to build the bridge between peace and reconciliation.

It will also be the week in which the world will reflect on the leaders whose vision and courage brought about the Agreement. My alma mater will host President Clinton, Senator George Mitchell, Jonathan Powell, Bertie Ahern, Lord Trimble, Monica McWilliams, Gerry Adams, Lord Alderdice, Seamus Mallon and many others. This generation understood the importance of compromise and the courage required in relationship building.

Our great hope must be that our current generation of politicians can summon the same vison and courage.

For me, this week will also be about our unsung heroes: the every-day peace builders.

There are many within our society who have been building bridges for their entire lives: often at great cost to themselves and their families.

I think of the extraordinary role of religious minsters; our journalists; our business people; our educators; our trade unionists; our community workers; our student movement; our women’s organisations; our youth organisations; our LGBTQ+ organisations; our ethnic minority organisations; campaigners for those with disabilities; our musicians, artists & entertainers; our community & voluntary sector; our entrepreneurs; our police service & emergency service providers; our healthcare professionals; our public servants, our politicians, our civic leaders and all those who have lived out the values of the Agreement.

I think of our victims – that we will find a way to bind up the wounds of the nation to build a peaceful future as a legacy to all who died.

I think of the incredible generation growing up in our home: the social entrepreneurs, young professionals, digital experts and ambitious business people. They are building our prosperity process – they understand their responsibility to give opportunity to all.

I think of our selfless philanthropists who have dedicated their passion, energy, time and money to build peace. I’m fortunate to be involved with The Ireland Funds who epitomise this dedication. 40 years: 3000 organisations committed to peace, reconciliation, sports, the arts and education supported by this innovative and dynamic organisation. Understanding that philanthropy equals progress.

It’s why this Thursday, as part of ‘Peace and Beyond’, every day peace builders will be celebrated across 7 venues with 30 organisations and 60 speakers . We will showcase just a snapshot of the thousands of inspiring, innovative and incredible people and organisations who day-in-day-out dedicate themselves to building peace and finding solutions to the complex issues we face.

These people and the thousands like them, represent my great hope for the place I am proud to call home. They represent the vision, courage, resilience and leadership that will continue our journey towards reconciliation.

In 2021, just 3 years from now, this island will begin a ‘second century’. For the Republic of Ireland: it will mark the second century of independence. For Northern Ireland: it will mark the second century of partition / the creation of the state of Northern Ireland.

I ask this question: by the end of the second century, what will we have achieved?

For me, the answer lies in the Agreement. New beginning; Fresh Start; Tolerance; Mutual Trust; Human Rights for All; Partnership; Equality; Mutual Respect; Exclusively Democratic & Peaceful Means; Good Faith; Reconciliation.

Let us take these ideals and realise them in a meaningful and inclusive way.

I believe the best way to answer this question is to ask the next generation. My two-year-old nephew Ollie will probably live to see the 22nd Century.

Therefore, we must have the courage, not to be bound by our own fixation of what the future might be. Rather to dare to ask: what kind of society do we want for our children.

We as a people have a unique opportunity in human history: to build upon our hard-earned peace, to reconcile and to re-imagine the potential of our relationships to build a home of hope.

International peace conference marks Good Friday/Belfast agreement

British Council’s international Peace and Beyond conference will be held in Belfast next month to mark the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement.

Taking place from April 10-12 on the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement, the conference provides an opportunity to look beyond Northern Ireland – and towards other international models of peacebuilding in countries including South Africa, Colombia, Lebanon, and the Western Balkans.

Read more

Lord Alderdice: entrench the Principles of the GFA in the EU Withdraw Bill

Our Chairman Lord Alderdice, together with Chris Patten (Conservative), Angela Smith (Labour) and Onora O’Neill (Cross-Bench) put down an amendment to the Bill to entrench the Principles of the Good Friday Agreement. Here is why Lord Alderdice felt it was necessary –

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

21 March 2018 Volume 790

House of Lords, Committee (9th Day)

Lord Alderdice (LD): My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Patten of Barnes, not only for the passionate and articulate way in which he introduced the debate on this group of amendments—particularly Amendment 261—but also for the lifetime of commitment that he has given to the issues of Northern Ireland. That length of commitment speaks a great deal to me, as someone from that part of the United Kingdom.  Read more

CDPB to host TEDxStormont Salon on Inspired Life

Come to share, experience and interact with stimulating ideas for an inspired life.

At our first TEDxStormont Salon event we will watch TED Talks, host a few live speakers and spark discussion about the talks we’ve witnessed. It will take place on Saturday, 7 April from 10am to 3.30pm in the Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

We will draw on our wisdom and our limitless imagination and consider the synergy of the mind, body and spirit. We will explore how to live in a more harmonious and sustainable way.

We will close with a yoga inspired practice for Every Body curated by Dr Elizabeth Welty, educator and Flow Studio founder.

Tickets available at

Music Unite: A night of music and friendship

Centre for Democracy and Peace Building was delighted to host Music Unite event in The Duncairn as a part of Imagine Belfast Festival of Politics and Ideas. The event brought together Patrick Ayrton – internationally renowned conductor, harpsichordist, organist and professor at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague and celebrated German violinist Daniela Helm with Cormeen Rising Sons of William flute band for a very special night of music and friendship.

The evening included an amazing performance by Frasier Hickland, a 19-year-old pianist and organist from Lisburn and fascinating talk by the award-winning author Clare Mulley about Krystyna Skarbek, Britain’s first female special agent during WWII.

We also celebrated the success of ‘For Your Freedom and Ours’ shared history programme with Maciek Bator.

This project is supported by the Executive Office’s Together Building United Community programme.

Read our Music Unite report HERE.