Fellowship for Northern Ireland’s political, business, and civic leaders opens for applications

Launching amid another Stormont impasse, the programme equips aspiring leaders here with the skills to lead Northern Ireland forward

Applications are now open for the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building Fellowship, a prestigious programme which seeks to produce Northern Ireland’s next generation of changemakers.

Now in its second year, the Fellowship aims to strengthen Stormont’s democratic institutions and ensure that our next generation of Ministers, CEOs, and civic leaders, are best placed to lead the region going forward. Previous Fellows include John Finucane MP, Connie Egan MLA, and Cllr Aaron Callan and IoD Northern Ireland Director, Kirsty McManus.

The Fellowship is delivered by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building (CDPB), working with leading representatives from Northern Ireland’s business sector including Allstate NI, FinTrU, Devenish, Fujitsu NI, Ulster Carpets. The programme is also supported by leading academic institutions and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In discussions with leading policymakers, academics, business leaders and public figures, Fellows will engage with global social, political and economic issues and seek to develop their understanding of how to tackle those issues in Northern Ireland. Successful participants will also have the chance to participate in residential sessions at the University of Oxford and in Dublin.

Fellowship Chair, and Managing Director of Allstate NI, John Healy, says that this year’s programme is timely and significant given the current political deadlock facing Northern Ireland. He calls on parties, businesses, and civic society organisations to nominate those individuals that can use the Fellowship to build a better society here.

John Healy, Managing Director at Allstate NI and Chair of the Fellowship Advisory Board, said:

“The Fellowship is a brilliant initiative, and this year’s programme could not have come at a more crucial time. Northern Ireland is facing multiple challenges and with the Stormont corridors empty, we are also facing a political leadership crisis. This programme will give our future leaders the knowledge, skills, and relationships to look beyond the insular world we face here, and bring an exciting, new, and much-needed vision to our region’s future.”

“Last year’s Fellowship was a resounding success, seen through the election of former Fellows following May’s Assembly poll. This year’s expanded programme includes engagements with some of the UK and Ireland’s brightest minds in Dublin, Oxford, Belfast, and everywhere in between. From political parties, to businesses, to the third sector, I would encourage all organisations to nominate an individual for this year’s Fellowship they feel could help shape the future of Northern Ireland.”

Karise Hutchinson, Professor of Leadership at Ulster University and Vice-Chair of the Fellowship Advisory Board, said:

“Next year we will celebrate 25 years of the Good Friday Agreement. A hard-won hallmark of compromise, it is disheartening that we currently face the prospect of honouring this milestone with no functioning government in place. The Fellowship seeks to ‘level up’ our next generation of political, civic and business leaders, giving them the confidence and ability to address Northern Ireland’s ongoing political, economic, and social challenges. At its core, it seeks to pave the way for a new spirit of possibility and compromise in our society.”

“Our Advisory Board contains leaders from Northern Ireland’s leading companies who will seek to instill in this year’s participants the hard and soft skills required to introduce real, wholesale change. I am thrilled to be supporting this fantastic programme, and I would encourage all those eligible to apply.”

Those interested can complete the Fellowship application form at fellowship.democracyandpeace.org where they will be asked to upload their CV and a short essay.

Centre for Democracy and Peace Building Annual Report 2021 – 2022

CHAIR’S REMARKS

At this juncture in global political affairs and international relations there has never been a greater need across the world for people to work for democracy, reconciliation and peacebuilding. We have seen such efforts blossom over the last 25 years in Northern Ireland/Ireland and I hope that they will continue to bear fruit to reflect unity in diversity in our restored political institutions. Such work can and should be replicated in other parts of our global world.

This compelling imperative fuelled my desire to accept the invitation to join the Board of CDPB in July 2021 and eventually to accept the unanimous support of Board colleagues to take on the mantle of Chairperson of this important organisation. I was replacing Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP who stood down as Chair and still remains a member of the Board. CDPB owe our thanks and gratitude to Sir Jeffrey and his predecessor, Lord John Alderdice who along with other Board members provided strategic direction to ensure that our organisation continues to fulfil our objectives. We have all been ably assisted by Eva Grosman who is our Chief Executive. Eva is a powerhouse and has provided dynamic leadership in these islands in terms of peace-making and democracy. We and the wider community owe Eva an enormous debt of gratitude and heartfelt thanks. I hope to continue to work with Eva and her team to ensure that the objectives of the organisation continue to be fulfilled.

Our democracy and peacebuilding work has been overshadowed by war in Ukraine in 2022. We have all been horrified by the scenes of mass death and destruction which we have witnessed on our television screens on a daily basis since late February. International efforts are required to work with President Zelensky to ensure that peace and democracy is secured and that the Ukrainian people can return to their homeland through a massive re-building programme for peace, prosperity and infrastructure building.

Our work has concentrated in the past year in the following areas: Fellowship programme which involved young people from across Northern Ireland coming together to work on democratic peacebuilding initiatives. This programme will continue to be delivered and sincere thanks are due to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin, Irish American Partnership, our corporate partners and our mentors from business and industry for their advice, sponsorship and unfailing direction and guidance.

Other work programmes included the Unite Against Hate which was supported by the Executive Office.

Our international work focuses on engagement with colleagues in Colombia and work led by Lord Alderdice in Jerusalem.

This year also witnessed the appointment of Reeya Gadhvana as our Head of Programmes and we will continue to work with young people and internships – in fact we will be hosting two young women from Harvard in Belfast during the summer.

Notwithstanding the rigours and challenges of the pandemic over the last couple of years, our work has continued and blossomed. That bedrock of support from the wider community including business and industrial representatives is invaluable on so many levels as we continue our mission and fulfil the objectives of CDPB.

CDPB is one of the most inspiring and worthwhile organisations I have worked with, and I hope to continue to work with Eva, Board members and others to fulfil our commitment to democracy and peacebuilding locally and internationally.

Baroness Margaret Ritchie of Downpatrick

Unite Against Hate Report 2022

 

Thanks to the support from The Executive Office’s Central Good Relations Funding, the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building delivered ‘Ending Hate. Embracing Diversity.’ as part of the longstanding Unite Against Hate campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unite Against Hate 2022 comprised of four key elements:

  1. A Workshop Series led by experts on diversity and inclusion (Deepa Mann-Kler), community relations (Sughra Ahmed) and mediation (Dorcas Crawford), helped attendees to develop the skills to overcome their biases, build braver communities and communicate in a healthy and conflict-free manner.
  2. Online and On-demand Workshops based upon the initial workshop series accessible to all for FREE on Unite Against Hate website.
  3. The Unite Against Hate Pledge asking people to challenge, reach out and speak out against prejudice and hate crime within Northern Ireland. This pledge received support from across the community within NI and across political parties with several MLAs signing to pledge support.
  4. The Pledge Launch at the Skainos Centre in East Belfast. This insightful day was organised to include panels discussing topics such as challenges to peaceful relations in NI today, as well as the experiences of ethnic minorities in NI. The pledge itself was launched at the event by the Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl.

CDPB Chair Baroness Ritchie commented: ″Embracing diversity and uniting against hate is crucial in Northern Ireland because we know the consequences of prejudice, discrimination and hatred. We must embrace and support our minority communities and show them that Northern Ireland has learned from the past, and is now a place where diversity is celebrated, not rejected.″

The Unite Against Hate campaign has been delivered by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building and supported by the Executive Office’s Central Good Relations Funding, part of the The ‘Together: Building a United Community’ (T:BUC) Strategy.

Book Launch with Dr Ofrit Liviatan, Harvard University: Anything But Steady | 10 May | Ulster University

Book Launch

Dr Ofrit Liviatan, Harvard University: Anything But Steady

Chaired by Professor Duncan Morrow

  • 10th May 2022
  • Ulster University, Belfast

Anything But Steady

At 100 years old, Northern Ireland yearns for reinvention. Exasperated that peace hasn’t yet brought reconciliation, she handpicks Ella Goldin, an American PhD student, to set out her true destiny. But is Ella really the right choice for this mighty task? What can a tenacious yet uninitiated Jewish New Yorker, lacking local ties, possibly contribute? Wrestling with the smoke and mirrors of war and peace, Ella is anchored to Northern Ireland first by will, then by academic duress. All the while, Northern Ireland herself can’t keep mum when it comes to surprising revelations, emerging as a storyteller in her own right. The duo’s entwined quest encounters emotional reversals and witty twists, creating the first-ever testimony by (let’s be frank) an unpredictable piece of Earth about her troubled legacy.

About the Author

Dr. Ofrit Liviatan teaches in the Department of Government at Harvard University. Her academic work cultivated this debut novel. Earlier in her career, Ofrit was a lawyer, and she credits that profession for galvanizing her fascination with the power of a good story. Ofrit resides in Lexington, Massachusetts, with her husband and two daughters.

Register HERE.

Rethinking Leadership. Spiritual Leadership in the Time of War | 28 April | Oxford

Rethinking Leadership. Oxford Series. Spiritual Leadership in the Time of War.

Thursday, 28 April 2022 | 10.30am – 12.30am | Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford

The war in Ukraine showed that victory is not only about raw power. It is also about spiritual leadership. What will change in our vision of leadership? What lessons can we draw from Ukrainian heroic resistance and the solidarity of neighbouring countries with Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees? What does this war mean for the West’s leadership? What cultural resources do we have when faced with violence?

In the first of six seminars in the Rethinking Leadership. Oxford Series we set out to seek models of leadership that address the most pressing challenges of our time. And the war is the first among them. Our initial premise is that leadership is an art of courageous presence in the midst of chaos, it is a spiritual journey between ever-new polarities, it is a search for meaning. In leadership personal authenticity meets social and political dilemmas. But how can we be present when we are faced with atrocities and genocidal acts? Is there a place for love and goodness, when we are overrun with hatred and evil. What is the West’s responsibility for the Russian invasion? What should be our next steps?

Speakers:

  • The Lord Alderdice FRCPsych, Senior Research Fellow, Harris Manchester College
  • Dr Marek Mutor, President of The Platform of European Memory and Conscience, Founder and Director of the ”Memory and Future” Centre and “Centrum Historii Zajezdnia”
  • Dr Anna Abram, Principal of Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Cambridge
  • Special Guest: Father Oleh Kindiy, professor of Ukrainian Catholic University
  • Co-chairs: Professor Michal Luczewski, Two Wings Institute and Eva Grosman, Centre for Democracy and Peace Building

Register at: https://tinyurl.com/twowings1

This event is co-organised by the Two Wings Institute and Zajezdnia – the Remembrance and Future Centre in Wroclaw, in partnership with the Oxford Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, Oxford Polish Association and the Polish Cultural Institute in London, and co-financed by the Polish National Foundation.

Public encouraged to make their pledge and Unite Against Hate in Northern Ireland


Unite Against Hate, will today launch a pledge urging the public to challenge, reach out and speak out against hate in Northern Ireland.

People are being encouraged to sign the pledge to show their commitment to tackling prejudice and discrimination in Northern Ireland. This comes as recent PSNI statistics have shown that an average of eight hate crimes or incidents are reported to the police every day across the region, with figures of racist and sectarian incidents rising every year.

Launching today at an event titled “We Are Here”, the Unite Against Hate Pledge has been developed in collaboration with the Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME), LGBTQ+, Jewish and other communities from across Northern Ireland. Belfast Lord Mayor Cllr Kate Nicholl will address the event where individuals will discuss their experiences of prejudice, discrimination, and racism here.

The Unite Against Hate pledge opens for signatures online today with the public able to have their name displayed on the pledge wall. The pledge has three key parts, for individuals to challenge their own prejudices, reach out to those from a different community, and speak out and not standing by when others experience discrimination or hate.

The Unite Against Hate campaign delivered by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building Pledge has been supported sponsored by the Executive Office’s Central Good Relations Funding programme. To sign the Pledge, visit: https://uniteagainsthate.org.uk/pledge/

Minister for Justice, Naomi Long MLA, said:

“The most important thing we can do is to challenge the reasons why hate crime occurs. We need to learn to embrace diversity and better understand the challenges that other people face.
“When we see intolerance and prejudice, we need to be confident enough to speak out against it. We need to call people out and challenge them to change their ways. We need to do that in private and we need to do it in public.”
“And that’s why I’m lending my support to this Unite Against Hate campaign because I think that changing attitudes is the most important thing we can do to protect people from hate crime.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cllr Kate Nicholl, said:

“I’m proud to have signed the pledge to show my commitment to tackling prejudice and discrimination in Northern Ireland and I encourage everyone to take a moment to add their own signature. There’s absolutely no place for hatred in our society – and it’s up to each and every one of us to take steps to End Hate and Embrace Diversity.”

“I’m passionate about encouraging a more welcoming, kinder Belfast during my term of office and I’m really heartened by the great work that many organisations are doing to help break down stereotypes and combat discrimination. But just imagine what a fantastic place it would be if we all pledged to recognise and address our own prejudices, to reach out and learn from those we see as being different, and to speak out for diversity and inclusion.”

Baroness Margaret Ritchie of Downpatrick, Chair of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, added:

“Embracing diversity and uniting against hate is crucial in Northern Ireland because we know the consequences of prejudice, discrimination and hatred. We have come far in the last 25 years, and we are beginning to see a rich, diverse, multi-cultural society blossom here.”
“We must embrace and support our minority communities and show them that Northern Ireland has learned from the past, and is now a place where diversity is celebrated, not rejected.”

Leadership Academy x UAH: Ending Hate. Embracing Diversity.

Join us for a series of three online workshops to explore how through understanding bias, challenging misconceptions, and the development of better communications skills, we can help to eradicate hate, embrace diversity and become better co-workers, neighbours and citizens.

  • Session 1: “Without Bias” with Deepa Mann-Kler, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist

This session will explore and highlight how bias impacts all of us, what are the triggers, and what we can do to mitigate the impact of bias.

  • Session 2: “Building Braver Communities” with Sughra Ahmed, Director of Education, Robert F Kennedy Human Rights UK

This session will challenge and explore misconceptions about ethnic and religious minorities and help us to better understand the issues affecting our communities, today. 

  • Session 3: “The Better Way” with Dorcas Crawford, Conflict Management Consultant, The Better Way

 In this session we will look at the skills that help us manage conflict in a healthy, respectful non-combative way.

Group 1

Tuesday evenings: 6pm – 7.30pm

  • Tue, 8 Feb
  • Tue, 15 Feb
  • Tue, 22 Feb

Register at: https://tinyurl.com/ya6bzmcx

 

Group 2

Thursday mornings: 10am – 11.30am

  • Thurs, 10 Feb
  • Thurs, 17 Feb
  • Thurs, 24 Feb

Register at: https://tinyurl.com/3ucf49jf

 

Our contributors:

Deepa Mann-Kler, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist

Deepa Mann-Kler is Chief Executive of Neon a health technology company; Visiting Professor In Immersive Futures with Ulster University; has 14 years Non-Executive leadership experience with a cross sector exposure across the UK and is passionate about delivering change in equality, diversity and inclusion. As a thought leader and TEDx speaker she keynotes at conferences on the intersection of technology, innovation, diversity, ethics, bias, culture, data, health and wellbeing through compelling storytelling. Deepa is author of the first report on race discrimination with policy recommendations for the public sector in Northern Ireland “Out Of The Shadows.”

Sughra Ahmed, Director of Education, Robert F Kennedy Human Rights UK

Sughra Ahmed, Director of Education at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, UK, specialises in human rights education, enabling schools and young people to take a person-centered approach in understanding global human rights and explore the power of agency in creating impactful change.

She is also Founder Director of Bridging Our Divides, an organisation that seeks to build a collective working towards the common good – for which the key principles are listening, understanding, and creating progressive grassroots change by working with people from all walks of life in some of the most socio-economically deprived parts of England.

Working in a range of religious capacities, she has spent time in the UK and USA exploring contextual theology and religious expressions across communities of faith and belief. Most recently, as Associate Dean for Religious Life, at Stanford University, she worked with young people helping them to find meaning and purpose as they moved through their academic lives.

Dorcas Crawford, Conflict Management Consultant, The Better Way

Dorcas is a recovering lawyer, having spent 34 years in Belfast law firm, Edwards & Co. Solicitors where she was Senior Partner until 2021. Dorcas qualified as a mediator in 2008 and in 2015 launched ‘The Better Way’, a specialist conflict management service. She sold her law firm in April 2021, retiring from the law to pursue her passion for helping people to find solutions for conflict through training, facilitation and mediation. Dorcas is well known as a business leader in NI, particularly for her innovative Twitter networking initiative #Belfasthour which became known as one of the most effective online marketing communities for SME’s. Dorcas is a committed supporter of Bowel Cancer UK and is 2021 President of Lean In Ireland.

 

Lost Treasures of the Revolution: The Graphics of Solidarity 1980 – 1989 exhibition opens at Ulster University, Belfast

Lost Treasures of the Revolution: The Graphics of Solidarity 1980 – 1989 exhibition opened today at Ulster University, Belfast.

It is curated by Catherine Flood and designed by Vipul Sangoi from the V&A Museum Collection. On until 12 March 2022. Birley Building (School fo Art), Ulster University, Belfast. FREE admission. 

The graphics and posters displayed in this exhibition bear witness to the creative energy of the Solidarity movement that was able to mobilise people from all walks of society throughout Poland in the 1980s.

Solidarity (Solidarnosc) was founded in September 1980 after a wave strike action in the Gdansk shipyard. It was the first free trade union in an Eastern Bloc country and became the leading political force opposing the communist regime in Poland. Up to 10 million people participated in Solidarity, making it one of the biggest social movements of the 20th century.

Graphics played an important role in building and sustaining the movement. In the face of censorship and state-controlled media, simply-made banners and printed materials such as posters were a vital means of free expression and communication. Collectively they created a powerful repertoire of images that drew on deeply-rooted symbols of Polish resistance. These posters were designed quickly in response to events. Most were printed in one or two colours due to limited printing resources and their DIY aesthetic added to their sense of credibility. Using imagery that evoked a wealth of shared meanings and emotions for people across Polish society they helped establish a powerful visual language for the movement.

Most graphics were produced at a grassroots community level on small underground presses by designers and ordinary citizens working together with few resources. After Solidarity was outlawed in December 1981, people risked arrest and imprisonment to make and circulate them. Eventually, the Polish government was forced to concede to the first (partly) free elections to be held behind the Iron Curtain since 1946. The overwhelming victory of Solidarity at the ballot box on 4 June 1989 signalled the end of Communist Party rule in Poland and was a crucial stage in the transition towards democracy in Central and Eastern Europe.

Presented in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute and Ulster University Arts.

 

Funded PhD Opportunity: Exploring the Public Leadership Constellation – A Responsible Leadership Perspective

The Department for the Economy (DFE) has announced that it will be providing funding for a three-year research study of Leadership (PhD) under the supervision of Professor Karise Hutchinson, a member of the Business Management Research Institute at Ulster University and CDPB’s Fellowship Advisory Board Member.

“Exploring the Public Leadership Constellation – A Responsible Leadership Perspective” will be conducted under the remit of Business and Management Studies, and supervised by Professor Hutchinson, Dr Ian Smyth, Interim Associate Head of Department within the Department of Management, Leadership and Marketing, and Professor Mike Hardy, of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at the University of Coventry.

The overall aim of the study is to explore the building of a new public leadership constellation in a post conflict society through the lens of leadership responsibility.  Specifically, the objectives are to understand how place, i.e., a post conflict society, influences the building of a new leadership constellation and relationship dynamics between public leaders; how leadership interactions across different sectors and institutions impact upon leadership responsibility at internal (individual leader mindset) and external (relationship dynamics) levels.

The research approach of this study is defined as ‘Mode 2 research’ (Gibbons et al. 1994; Hartley, 2018) – where the idea emerged from the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building Fellowship programme developed for 24 cross-sectoral leaders spanning political, civic and business society spheres.  Adopting a case study research design, data collection will include observation and interview reporting on the process and impact of the learning undertaken by Fellows during the programme.  The evidence will inform the development of a new model of public leadership constellation and responsibility.

The research study (PhD) position will be part-time, and the DFE’s funding will cover tuition fees at the home rate and a maintenance allowance of £16,000 (tbc) per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

To find out more about this exciting opportunity, including eligibility criteria for the study and scholarship, please visit: https://www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/find-a-phd/1043289

Key dates:

  • Submission deadline – Monday 28th February, 2022
  • Interview date – mid March 2022
  • Preferred student start date – mid September 2022

CDPB announces Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick as the new Chairperson

The Centre for Democracy and Peace Building is delighted to announce the appointment of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick as our new Chair, taking over from Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP. As Chair, Baroness Ritchie will provide strategic leadership and promote the values of democracy and peace in NI and throughout the world.

On her appointment, Baroness Ritchie said: “Earlier this year, I was delighted to join the Board of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building. I have now taken over as Chair from Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP. My sincere thanks and best wishes to Jeffrey for all he has done for the Board in implementing CDPB’s strategy around peace and reconciliation in the global sphere.

The central aim of our important work is to bring about the principles of peace democracy through reconciliation, and there is much good practice that we can share from N Ireland. We are operating many projects – of which one is the Fellowship Programme for political and civic leaders in Northern Ireland, which I hope to support and further during my time as Chair.”

Alongside her duties as Chair, Baroness Margaret Ritchie, born in Downpatrick, Co. Down is a member of the House of Lords (Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick) since November 2019. She is a former MP in the House of Commons for the South Down Constituency from 2010 to 2017 and is a former Member of the NI Assembly from 2003 to 2012.

She is also a former Minister for Social Development from 2007 to 2010 and served for 24 years as a Councillor on Down District Council and held the position of Chair and Vice-Chair of that Council. She also worked as a Parliamentary Advisor and Assistant to the late Eddie McGrady who was the former MP for South Down.

We would also like to announce that the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building is now registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (Registration Number: NIC108448) marking an important new chapter for the organisation.