“To change the riverflow of history”: Constitutional pasts and futures @UCDdublin #GFA20

“To change the riverflow of history”: Constitutional pasts and futures @UCDdublin #GFA20
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
8 May 2018

Political and legal scholars, peacemakers and peacebuilders convened at the Royal Irish Academy to review and discuss potential constitutional relationships between Ireland and the United Kingdom, especially vis-a-vis Northern Ireland and the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and the import of Brexit.

Read more“To change the riverflow of history”: Constitutional pasts and futures @UCDdublin #GFA20

Peace Journalist • Editor • Writer • Photographer • Peacebuilding a shared Northern Irish society • allan@mrulster.com • www.mrulster.com

Coming to terms with our interdependencies #GFA20

On the 20th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, it is easy to neglect the peace process that preceded it. My reference point is the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, because I learned about the efforts of then Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald the year before, from a magazine article that I read in a local library in my rural hometown in Ohio. I knew then that what he was working on was important.

Exhibition launch: “We Lived It: The Social Impact of the Troubles” @TheLinenHall

Exhibition launch: “We Lived It: The Social Impact of the Troubles” @TheLinenHall
by Allan LEONARD @SharedFuture
2 August 2017

The Linen Hall Library has presented the first of two exhibitions of its Divided Society digitisation and outreach project. “We Lived It: The Social Impact of the Troubles” contains artwork, imagery, ephemera, and oral history extracts from firsthand accounts of individual experiences.

Read moreExhibition launch: “We Lived It: The Social Impact of the Troubles” @TheLinenHall

Peace Journalist • Editor • Writer • Photographer • Peacebuilding a shared Northern Irish society • allan@mrulster.com • www.mrulster.com

“Art can tread where words and politics often can’t”: The Art of Conflict Transformation @The_JHS

“Art can tread where words and politics often can’t”: The Art of Conflict Transformation @The_JHS
by Allan LEONARD @SharedFuture
25 July 2017

As part of the 30th anniversary of the John Hewitt Society international summer school, the Institute for Conflict Research (ICR) sponsored a panel discussion, “The Art of Conflict Transformation”, which explored how visual and performance art have contributed to our evolving conversation of our troubled past, with hope for dealing with legacy as well as prospects for reconciliation.

Read more“Art can tread where words and politics often can’t”: The Art of Conflict Transformation @The_JHS

Peace Journalist • Editor • Writer • Photographer • Peacebuilding a shared Northern Irish society • allan@mrulster.com • www.mrulster.com

Using art to fill in gaps of our reconciliation @DFATIrl

Using art to fill in gaps of our reconciliation: DFAT Reconciliation Networking Forum
by Allan LEONARD for Northern Ireland Foundation
14 December 2016

At the eleventh annual convening of a reconciliation network organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Ireland), an afternoon panel discussion explored the role of the arts in Northern Ireland’s reconciliation process.

Read moreUsing art to fill in gaps of our reconciliation @DFATIrl

Peace Journalist • Editor • Writer • Photographer • Peacebuilding a shared Northern Irish society • allan@mrulster.com • www.mrulster.com

Without fear or favour: 30 years of Troubled Images

Without fear or favour: 30 years of Troubled Images
by Allan LEONARD for Northern Ireland Foundation
28 November 2016

The latest incarnation of the Troubled Images project — the launch of a free downloadable iBook  — was cause for a reunion of sorts at the Linen Hall Library for the original team that compiled and published its original CD-ROM 15 years ago.

Read moreWithout fear or favour: 30 years of Troubled Images

Peace Journalist • Editor • Writer • Photographer • Peacebuilding a shared Northern Irish society • allan@mrulster.com • www.mrulster.com

A Lagan College birthday: The story of integrated education in Northern Ireland

A Lagan College birthday: The story of integrated education in Northern Ireland
by Allan LEONARD for Northern Ireland Foundation
11 November 2016

Just past the reception desk is a small, black-and-white photography of the simple and utilitarian building that housed the first enrolment of students at Lagan College in 1981; today, celebrating its 35th birthday, the impressive expanse is testimony to the successful development of not only this school, but of integrated education in Northern Ireland.

Read moreA Lagan College birthday: The story of integrated education in Northern Ireland

Peace Journalist • Editor • Writer • Photographer • Peacebuilding a shared Northern Irish society • allan@mrulster.com • www.mrulster.com

Seeking better patient outcomes: Music to the ears of occupational therapists #ValueofOT

Seeking better patient outcomes: Music to the ears of occupational therapists
by Allan LEONARD
11 November 2016

The College of Occupational Therapists (COT) held a launch event at the Long Gallery of Parliament Buildings, for their campaign on the value of occupational therapy, “Improving lives, saving money”.

Read moreSeeking better patient outcomes: Music to the ears of occupational therapists #ValueofOT

Peace Journalist • Editor • Writer • Photographer • Peacebuilding a shared Northern Irish society • allan@mrulster.com • www.mrulster.com

OPINION: Promote critical thinking skills for better democracy @WFDemocracy Strasbourg 2016

OPINION: Promote critical thinking skills for better democracy: World Forum for Democracy: Strasbourg 2016
by Allan LEONARD for Northern Ireland Foundation
7 November 2016

The 600 seats of the hemicycle of the Council of Europe soon filled with young activists and seasoned practitioners at the 2016 gathering of the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg. I attended as part of a delegation from Northern Ireland, all beneficiaries of the Civic Activism Programme administered by Building Change Trust. Our objective was to learn and share experiences to improve democracy and equality through education.

Read moreOPINION: Promote critical thinking skills for better democracy @WFDemocracy Strasbourg 2016

Peace Journalist • Editor • Writer • Photographer • Peacebuilding a shared Northern Irish society • allan@mrulster.com • www.mrulster.com

Confident. Ambitious. Prosperous. Distinctive. Launch of Successful Belfast.

Confident. Ambitious. Prosperous. Distinctive. Launch of Successful Belfast.
by Allan LEONARD for Northern Ireland Foundation
27 October 2016

Walking past the students at their tabletops, working on their assignments with mock constructions at the School of Architecture at the Ulster University Belfast campus, there was no mistaking that I found the venue for the launch event for Successful Belfast, described in an advance notice by founding director of Belfast Buildings Trust, Ms Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle, as “a city-focused think-tank”.

Read moreConfident. Ambitious. Prosperous. Distinctive. Launch of Successful Belfast.

Peace Journalist • Editor • Writer • Photographer • Peacebuilding a shared Northern Irish society • allan@mrulster.com • www.mrulster.com

Digitising the peace process

Digitising the peace process by Allan LEONARD for Northern Ireland Foundation 1 September 2016 “You have to go to the archives!” an academic supervisor once advised me. At the time, this meant physically traveling to where the precious documents were stored, with your official letter requesting access permission, and spending hours transcribing (sometimes with only a pencil allowed). You were thankful if the items were available on microfilm or microfiche, because it took less time to review more material. And … Read more

Changing the conversation with e-petitions in Northern Ireland

As part of the Xchange Summer School, Mairaid McMahon announced the launch of e-petitions in Northern Ireland, which is scheduled to appear on the Northern Ireland Assembly website in September 2016. She described the shortcomings of the current system of petitioning politicians, which included the need for support from an MLA — making them gatekeepers to what could be submitted. There was also the matter of not know whatever happened to the physical petition documents. Mairaid was motivated by the … Read more

Northern Ireland’s first fact-checking service launched: FactCheckNI

FactCheckNI — Northern Ireland’s first ever fact-checking service — was officially launched at the Skainos Centre in Belfast. The project — funded by the Big Lottery Fund through Building Change Trust — aims to influence public policy in regards to the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector, keep politicians right in terms of both their promises and their rhetoric, and also influence the general public by providing access to unbiased facts. Paul Braithwaite explained: “At Building Change Trust, we … Read more

Bringing our own lens: Visualising conflict in Palestine

Bringing our own lens: Visualising conflict in Palestine
by Allan Leonard for Northern Ireland Foundation
15 March 2016

The rear room at Common Grounds Cafe was the venue for a display of three types of imagery — participatory, documentary, and expository — for the Imagine! Festival of Ideas & Politics event, Visualising Conflict in Palestine, which was attended by a mixture of the artistically intrigued and politically motivated.

Read moreBringing our own lens: Visualising conflict in Palestine

Peace Journalist • Editor • Writer • Photographer • Peacebuilding a shared Northern Irish society • allan@mrulster.com • www.mrulster.com

Listening to the psychogeography of Belfast

One of the final events of the Four Corners Festival was a discussion on what was described as the psychogeography of the city of Belfast. A panel of four — with one connected via a video call — ruminated on their walking through the streets, along borders and through them, sharing their perspectives to an audience of about two dozen gathered at the freshly opened Girdwood Community Hub. The question to answer was what can we learn about a city … Read more

John Hume: Irish peacemaker. Discuss.

John Hume: Irish peacemaker. Discuss. by Allan Leonard for Northern Ireland Foundation 15 December 2015 Sean Farren and Denis Haughey have edited a new book, John Hume: Irish Peacemaker, published by Four Courts Press. As part of this book launch, there is a series of panel discussions, for which this event took place at the Canada Room, Queen’s University Belfast. Moderated by Jim Fitzpatrick, the panellists were Arthur Aughey, Marianne Elliott, Maurice Hayes and Eamon Phoenix. After a welcome by … Read more

Hope must lie with the children of Israel/Palestine

Hope must lie with the children of Israel/Palestine: Professor Padraig O’Malley talk at Queen’s University Belfast by Allan Leonard for Northern Ireland Foundation 21 October 2015 Professor Padraig O’Malley gave a bleak prognosis of the Israel/Palestine peace negotiations, calling the two-state proposal ‘delusional’. At an event hosted by the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice (ISCTSJ) at Queen’s University Belfast, Prof. O’Malley shared his insights into the psychological and structural complexities of peace making in that … Read more

Freeing up peace impasse with WD-40

Freeing up peace impasse with WD-40: The David Stevens Memorial Lecture by Rev. Harold Good by Allan Leonard for Northern Ireland Foundation 1 October 2015 At the third annual David Stevens Memorial Lecture, the Rev. Harold Good used a physical metaphor of a tin of WD-40 lubricant to illustrate the need to ‘unlock and free up the mechanisms’ of peace building. The Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council, Ms Jacqueline Irwin, introduced Rev. Good by reviewing the life of … Read more

Forgive for the sake of the future?

Forgive for the sake of the future? A lecture by Duncan Morrow by Allan Leonard for Northern Ireland Foundation 29 September 2015 As part of the Community Relations Week programme, a former Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council, Dr Duncan Morrow, gave a lecture that explored how unresolved trauma affects the legacy for future generations. Sitting in the same chairs as the elected representatives occupy in the chamber at Down District Council, Dr Morrow told the audience that he … Read more

Knitting together: CRC annual conference

As Chair of the Communication Relations Council, Peter Osborne, welcomed delegates to their annual policy and practice conference at Stormont Hotel, Belfast, he explained the event theme, “One Place — Many People”: “All of us in this room are a minority of some sort; we are all minorities in this place we call home.” Mr Osborne added that it will be relationships between us that will dismantle bigotry and sectarianism. But that ordinary people in Northern Ireland are suffering from … Read more