David O’Sullivan: The EU at 70 – still going strong?

Watch back this evening’s Hume Foundation inaugural European Spirit of Peace Lecture, delivered by David O’Sullivan (former EU ambassador to the US) which looked at the EU 70 years on and asked whether it was going strong. He had cautionary words for those conflating the Irish constitutional issue with practical aspects of the NI Protocol which he said was “unhelpful” and could “destabilise many in the Unionist community”.

Musicking for peacebuilding

Musicking for peacebuilding Sounding Conflict: From Resistance to Reconciliation by Allan LEONARD 28 November 2019 The state-of-the-art acoustic facility, the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) at Queen’s University Belfast, was a most appropriate meeting place for a two-day symposium that explored the roles of music, from activist resistance to a hopeful tool for reconciliation from conflict. The event was organised by the Mitchell Institute for Global Peace at Queen’s University. Professor Fiona Magowan welcomed several dozen delegates, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor David …

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Trans Rights are Human Rights – Ellen Murray’s Amnesty NI lecture at Belfast Pride

Read or watch back Ellen Murray’s lecture (delivered on Tuesday 30 July as part of Belfast Pride). Under the title ‘Trans Rights are Human Rights’, she examined the international context, foreign opinion on the “worrying” state of public discourse in the UK, the shared history with disabled rights struggles, as well as healthcare, welfare of children, women’s rights and her hopes for trans rights in Northern Ireland.

For Northern Ireland: Parity of esteem and reconciliation

For Northern Ireland: Parity of esteem and reconciliation by Allan LEONARD 1 August 2019 As part of the 31st annual Féile festival, Jim Gibney (a member of the Féile Debates and Discussions Committee) welcomed the audience of a couple dozen attendees of a panel discussion on what parity of esteem, reconciliation, and mutual respect means from those who are pro-Union. The panellists were Professor Peter Shirlow (Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool), Dr James Wilson (Initiative for Civic Space), …

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Is ethical journalism possible in a contested place?

Is ethical journalism possible in a contested place? by Allan LEONARD 27 May 2019 At a public lecture event hosted by the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, at Queen’s University, Professor Steven Youngblood (Director, Center for Global Peace Journalism, Park University, Missouri) discussed the ethics of journalism in a contested place like Northern Ireland. Youngblood also spoke at Ulster University and held separate workshop sessions, all supported by the US Embassy. Youngblood asked the …

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“Understanding irrationality to save the human race”: Lord John ALDERDICE

“Understanding irrationality to save the human race”: Lord John ALDERDICE by Allan LEONARD 15 May 2019 The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University Belfast hosted a spring conference in honour of the 10th anniversary of the awarding of an honorary degree to President Daisaku Ikeda (President, Soka Gakkai International (SGI)). The evening before the day conference was marked by the unveiling of a commemorative peace bench in the university’s quadrangle garden, as …

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Does Political Violence Work? #imaginebelfast

QUB pro-vice-chancellor Professor Richard English delivered a 40-minute talk on the topic of Does Political Violence Work? during the recent Imagine! Belfast festival, looking at terrorism by non-state and potentially state actors as well as drawing some conclusions about the disjunction between why campaigns start, why people join up, what is achieved and how we post hoc rationalise what happens.

Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire: “independence is a fragile thing … you take it for granted at your peril” #ImagineBelfast

In his last public lecture as his seven-year term as Police Ombudsman draws to a close, Dr Michael Maguire reflected on what independence means for his office, and lessons that can be learned. “You cannot take independence for granted. It can be undermined in a number of different ways. Whoever holds the post of police ombudsman must keep this in mind. Be aware some entirely innocent initiatives can have unintended consequences.”

Ged Killen: “This is personal. Your rights are my rights. An injury to one, is an injury all.”

Watch back or read Ged Killen MP’s lecture for Amnesty NI as part of Belfast Pride, delivered on Thursday evening at Queen’s University. Speaking on ‘Marriage Equality – Winning at Westminster’ the Scottish Labour MP’s address was followed by a Q&A with William Crawley which included an update on the local legal cases surrounding marriage equality as well as discussion about efforts at Westminster and the stalled NI Assembly.

Leo Varadkar: “we need to build more bridges and fewer borders”

LEO VARADKAR delivered a robust but polite lecture at Queen’s University Belfast this morning, his first public engagement in Northern Ireland in his new role as Taoiseach. The artfully crafted speech quoted local poets and Winston Churchill as well as ending with a positive story that echoed something he’d recently heard Jeffrey Donaldson say in Dublin. This was not a speech that intended to be divisive. It offered a partial policy framework, but very little in the way of absolute red lines or dogmatic solutions. However, they were definitely not the words of a political pushover.

Carbon, Capitalism and the Transition from Unsustainability – Prof John Barry

Prof John Barry delivered his inaugural professorial lecture last night, filling a QUB lecture theatre with more than a hundred very wet people. He joked about his dapper attire – grey suit and orange tie – saying that he believed you should “dress to the right and vote to the left!” Carbon, Capitalism and the Transition from Unsustainability: The Challenge for Civilisation The 21st Century Barry’s starting point was to state that the world is unsustainable rather than sustainable. Similarly, …

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Inaugural Margaret McCoubrey lecture on Thursday evening – Women, War & Welfare

An illustrated lecture on Thursday evening in the Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts (Duncairn Avenue, Belfast) will explore Women, War and Welfare: the Co-operative crusades of Margaret Taylor McCoubrey (1880-1956). Margaret played a crucial role in the Suffrage movement, Pacifism, the Co-operative movement and Labour politics in early 20th century Belfast. Dr Myrtle Hill will deliver this inaugural lecture exploring the dynamic engagement of women in the social and political history of Ireland. Thursday 6 November from 7pm to …

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Ireland, 1912-1923 An Island in Turmoil & Transition A series of 7 talks and debates

I love a good talk and debate, it’s like the theatre only cheaper and more interesting. In this decade of centenaries there is an abundance of talks for history junkies. Recently I found out about this series of talks happening in Belfast. I missed the first few but will defiantly be at the rest of them. Tom Hartley and Philip Orr are both very engaging speakers. Below are the details of the talks, for context I have left in the earlier talks. Ireland, …

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John Brewer: peace threatens religion in NI; a future shared society may well be a secular one

John Brewer, professor at QUB’s Institute for Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice, delivered the second annual David Stevens Memorial Lecture on Wednesday evening. A former General Secretary of the Irish Council of Churches and leader of the Corrymeela Community until his death in 2010, David Stevens had a long time interest in the interplay between religion and politics. The full text of the lecture is available. John Brewer suggested that “religious change is happening in ways that are …

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