Pictured above is participants of the Global Peace Leadership Conference outside Stormont, Belfast.
The Global Peace Leadership Conference has taken place at Riddel Hall, Queens University Belfast, from September 10, 2016, to September 13, 2016. The conference was organised by the Global Peace Foundation whose only European office and headquarters are in Limerick.
The Global Peace Leadership Conference Belfast 2016 convened a unique stakeholder group to examine the urgent ethical challenges of our time and to advance models of peace building. While the response to violence and terrorism may include negative reactions like ethnic nationalisms and hatred, xenophobia, and local conflict, it can also catalyse innovative approaches that counter violent extremism through building cohesion, social justice and positive peace within our diverse and pluralistic societies.
Belfast was an ideal location to address these ethical concerns as it emerges falteringly from a sustained period of conflict and as people slowly begin to learn to live together. It offered delegates at the conference a lived experience in which the themes that dominate discussion are brought to life in the personal stories of Belfast people and in its buildings and neighbourhoods.
At the conference a there was quite a few people from Limerick who took part in the discussions. There were about five people from Limerick Youth Service and the University of Limerick. Also, there was one person from Mary I, and two members of staff from the Global Peace Foundation Ireland.
Early this year, in March, Irish Aid partnered with Global Peace Foundation to send two Limerick GPF staff (Arnold Kashembe – Country Director for GPF Ireland, and Ahmed Hassan – Youth Director of GPF Ireland) to Zanzibar to serve as elections observers.
The three-day conference provided an important global forum for government, civil society, academic and business leaders and practitioners to examine the tension between promoting a shared identity and embracing diversity; explore relevant values-based approaches to addressing identity-based conflicts and building a shared future; and discuss a framework for advancing peace and social cohesion. Our participants explored these relevant thematic streams:
- From identity-based conflicts to a shared future
- Refugees, migration, and building social cohesion
- linking the global and the local: the role of civil society
Speakers and participants also included faith-based, civil society and youth leaders from East and West Africa, South Asia, and all of Ireland, as well as other international delegates — all of whom were working within their own spheres of influence to mitigate violence and build peace.
The conference provided an exciting mix of plenary lectures by global figures, academic presentations, and practitioner engagements, site visits and case studies. Former world leaders were also present at the conference, which included Ex Zanzibar President, Karume.
The overall goal of the Global Peace Leadership Conference was to:
- Foster a greater awareness of the importance of shared values and commitment to a shared future as vital for peace building and social cohesion.
- Promote relevant “solutions-based” peace building models by highlighting best practices, sharing insights and feedback, and developing ongoing collaborations to ensure further development of these models.
- Bring focus to values-based approaches and addressing identity-based conflicts that can reconcile the tension between promoting a shared identity and embracing diversity.
- Increase understanding of the moral dimension of peacebuilding, focusing on the insights and practices necessary to transition from negative to positive peace.
- Advance efforts toward a global ethical framework that embraces human spirituality and that has practical application in resolving conflict and building sustainable peace.
The Global Peace Foundation is an international non-sectarian, non-partisan, nonprofit organization, which promotes an innovative, values-based approach to peacebuilding, guided by the vision of One Family under God.
Limerick city has been fortunate enough to be picked as the location for this amazing organization’s European Headquarters.
For more on The Global Peace Leadership Conference Belfast click here.
Check out The Global Peace Foundation on here.
For more new stories click here.