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Musicking for peacebuilding

Musicking for peacebuilding
Sounding Conflict: From Resistance to Reconciliation
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
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.

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Lost Lives: Beauty from sorrow

Lost Lives: Beauty from sorrow
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
1 October 2019

At Queen’s Film Theatre, Dermot Lavery and Michael Hewitt welcomed guests to a preview screening of Lost Lives, inspired by the acclaimed book of the same name, one which Lavery described as a monumental achievement: “Lost Lives was always at my side when I was making documentaries.” In the film, they sought to do justice to the book. This included ensuring that every person named in the book appeared in the film.

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Is ethical journalism possible in a contested place?

Is ethical journalism possible in a contested place?
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
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.

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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 for Shared Future News
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 well as a peace tree in Botanic Gardens. With a welcome by Professor Hastings Donnan and introduction by Professor Richard English, Lord John Alderdice delivered a keynote speech in the Great Hall: “Respect and Understanding: Civil Paths to Peace”.

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Doing our part: Dealing with bonfires

Doing our part: Dealing with bonfires
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
9 May 2019

Greater Shankill Alternatives, which is part of a co-ordinating initiative on restorative justice across Northern Ireland, hosted a workshop session that explored various aspects of the tradition of bonfires and the organisation’s approaches of engagement with groups who construct these structures for annual celebrations. The event was supported by Belfast City Council and its DiverseCity good relations programme.

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Art in Trouble: Expressing Shankill’s story through creative participation

Art in Trouble: Expressing Shankill’s story through creative participation
by Allan LEONARD
28 March 2019

Billed as part of the Imagine! Festival, the Spectrum Centre hosted a European Arts Education Platform session, “Art in Trouble”, on how the people of the Shankill neighbourhood of Belfast have told their stories more recently, through a variety of participatory art. David Boyd (Beat Carnival) welcomed the approximately ten visiting delegations from Europe, and he put tonight’s event in the context of asking how any artistic intervention affects social life and social change.

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Book review: Don’t Mention the War (Vicky COSSTICK)

Book review: Don’t Mention the War (Vicky COSSTICK)
by Allan LEONARD
5 March 2019

Don’t Mention the War is an e-book by Vicky Cosstick, published by ChangeAware in association with Northern Slant, that aims to explore aspects of legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland in a set of five chapters covering the peace process, women’s perspectives, trauma, the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, and the role of media during and post-conflict. Her research and writing took place between spring 2017 and autumn 2018, with regular references to the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the confidence-and-supply arrangement between the DUP and Conservatives in the current British Government.

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Bear witness for peace #PeaceDay #GRWeek18

Bear witness for peace #PeaceDay #GRWeek18
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
21 September 2018

In support for International Peace Day and in conjunction with Good Relations Week and Culture Night Belfast, Belfast City Council hosted an event that featured a keynote speech by Rev. Trevor Williams, addresses by Councillor Tim Attwood, Susan Picken, Jennifer Skillen, and Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey, and a music performance by Ciaran Lavery.

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Another fine edition of our human books: Living Library #GRWeek18

Another fine edition of our human books: Living Library #GRWeek18
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
17 September 2018

As part of Good Relations Week 2018, Belfast City Council hosted its seventh annual Living Library event, where public visitors come in to borrow a “human book” — a person who sits across from you in a one-to-one storytelling session.

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Sustaining hope for peace: Global Conflict 2018 #GFA20

Sustaining hope for peace: Global Conflict 2018 #GFA20
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
23 August 2018

In partnership with the University of Chicago and its Pearson Institute, Queen’s University Belfast hosted a two-day conference, “Global Conflict: The Human Impact”. This report recounts the first day’s events, which focussed on sharing learning from the peace processes in Northern Ireland and Colombia.

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Reflected Lives: Broadening the canvas of the past

Reflected Lives: Broadening the canvas of the past
An oral history project at a Belfast interface
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
10 April 2018

Joe O’Donnell (Strategic Director, Belfast Interface Project) told the audience that the auspicious date for today’s exhibition launch was no accident. With reference to the much publicised conference at Queen’s University Belfast, featuring key political figures behind the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, O’Donnell said, “They’ll be talking about you”, the participants of the oral history project, Reflected Lives.

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Coming to terms with our interdependencies #GFA20

Coming to terms with our interdependencies #GFA20
by Allan LEONARD
10 April 2018

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.