The Chairman of the Causeway Institute, Rt Hon Jeffrey Donaldson MP, accompanied by our Advisory Panel member Mr Denis Haughey, have just returned from participating in an International Peace Conference in Kabul.
Both were invited as guest speakers to the International Peace Conference, as part of Afghan Peace and National Unity Week, to discuss their experiences about living though a reconciliation process and to answer questions from the audience. Whilst they were in Kabul they met with members of the High Peace Council and were thanked personally by Chairman Rabbani.
In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Mr Donaldson said: ‘We haven’t come to tell the Afghans what to do. We are here sharing our experience of peace building with Afghanistan and we hope to show even the most intractable conflicts can be resolved if there is the willingness and leadership required. You need a process. Peace is not an event, and in Northern Ireland is still ongoing. I hope not to ‘teach lessons’ on the basis of our Northern Ireland experience, but to talk through what happened and allow the lessons to emerge naturally.’
Commenting on the visit, British Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Richard Stagg said: ‘Even those who are deeply embroiled in a very violent and bloody feud which looks insoluble can actually, if they are willing to make some big choices themselves, find a way to a better environment, a more stable and peaceful one.
The full interview is available on the Guardian online at:
BBC Northern Ireland have also covered the visit as well. Their story is at:
British Prime Minister David Cameron visited Afghanistan in July 2012, he spoke about how Afghanistan might be able to benefit from the UK’s experience of building reconciliation in Northern Ireland.