Each year, Saint Mary’s University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, partners with Peaceful Schools International and Barnardo’s Children’s Charity in Belfast to bring peace education to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Saint Mary’s University organizes a small group of students who travel to Northern Ireland each February to engage students and teachers in addressing issues surrounding peace and the importance of conflict resolution. 2010 marks the fifth year that students from Saint Mary’s visited Catholic, Protestant and Integrated schools throughout Belfast to offer conflict resolution workshops.
“It is clear that, although weapons a for the most part silenced in Northern Ireland, the conflict still occupies the hearts of the citizens of this troubled region,” says PSI founder Hetty van Gurp.
Bridget Brownlow, Conflict Resolution Advisor at Saint Mary’s, says by working alongside Catholic and Protestant students, it is hoped the Saint Mary’s students will feel they have a hand in creating a more peaceful world in which everyone can learn in a safe environment.
“This initiative presents an opportunity for Saint Mary’s students to learn about the real impact of violent conflict on a society as well as an opportunity to share some of our conflict resolution skills,” said Brownlow.
For more information about the 2010 trip, please see the SMU Press Release or the blog of one of this year’s participants: http://santamariansteve.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/ireland-trip-reflecting-on-the-Forrip-to-northern-ireland/
Peaceful Schools International has worked with schools in Belfast, Northern Ireland since 2002. Past activities include training workshops for teachers, a visit by Nova Scotia high school students, and a documentary film. Please see past projects – Northern Ireland for more information.