The Centre for Democracy and Peace Building was formally launched at lunchtime in the Ulster Museum. Chair Lord Alderdice along with fellow directors Liam Maskey (Intercomm Ireland) and Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP, Causeway Institute) spoke about the role of the centre, the ongoing need for conflict resolution and outlined some of the projects that the centre would be addressing.
The centre’s stated purpose is to “uphold and share the values and principles of democracy in order to build peace, stability and reconciliation”. They want to “remove fear from and offer hope to divided communities and to create a society with a shared sense of responsibility, opportunity, community and above all a shared sense of humanity, based upon respect for and tolerance of diversity”.
Supported by its chief executive Eva Grosman, CDPB is putting its weight behind a resurrected Unite Against Hate campaign which will be relaunched next Friday. They also have plans to work with academics, examine the role of faith, and to share Northern Ireland’s story with other conflicted nations, learning lessons for NI through the process of sharing.
We do not pretend to have all of the solutions … The one thing that I believe very, very strongly is that we should never, ever take for granted what we have today … some of our political leaders [have said] that the reason they have done what they have done and made the compromises that have been necessary in the peace process is because of the next generation. And I think that is true.
But it is not good enough to hand onto the next generation what we have at the moment. It is not good enough to hand on to them the problems that we have not yet resolved. And therefore we have to do better.
This centre is about helping all of us to continue that effort to do better and to try and find the outcomes that we need that will provide a legacy to the next generation that is far, far better than the legacy that we inherited.