CIPCRI hosts high-level expert delegation

60808fe9-3f82-4608-99a9-171d517ba5d7In late February, Causeway along with our partner CMI were proud to host a high-level expert delegation from the Ukraine. The delegation consisted of senior Parliamentarians, Mayors and civil society leaders. They were in Northern Ireland to hear about the peace process and the lessons that they can learn in the search for peace in the Ukraine.

The delegation spent a number of days in Belfast meeting with senior politicians, community activists, journalists and police officers. The delegation then travelled to Dublin to meet with members of Dail Eireann and the Good Friday Agreement Implementation Committee.

In the next weeks, Causeway will take a delegation from Northern Ireland to Ukraine to support the work of peace and reconciliation in the region.

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CIPCRI Delegation visits Egypt

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Our Chairman and Director recently visited Egypt to discuss support to political and civil society groups there. Causeway is working with a number of institutions in Egypt to consider how to enhance the capacity of evolving political parties, to support the government in undertaking security sector reforms and developing civil society.

A number of meetings were held with the Egyptian Ministers and officials, the British Ambassador and his team and the leadership of the Nahda Group. Our Director also visited the Upper Nile area to meet with the families of the Coptic Christians executed by IS in Libya in February.

We are grateful to Mrs Afaf Ali of Crossing the Bridge and Dr Sadik Affifi of the Thebes Group for making the visit to Egypt possible. Further announcements on our work there will follow in the next few months.

(With HM Ambassador John Casson and Dr Ayman Afifi from the Thebes Group discussing CIPCRI future plans in Egypt)

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CIPCR International Host Senior Ukranian Visitor

Causeway were proud to host Mr Gennadiy Druzenko in Belfast this week.

Mr Druzenko is the Commissioner for Ethnonational matters in Ukraine. Over the course of the visit he met representatives from all the major political parties, leaders of a number of civil society organisations, religious figures involved in the peace process, media representatives, victims groups, human rights commission, equality commission, PSNI and a number of academics.

1n 2015, Causeway will take a delegation from Northern Ireland out to Ukraine to support the work that Mr Druzenko is undertaking there.

 

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The ‘Bahrain Debate’

An interesting debate on Bahrain  that is well worth viewing in full to get a better sense of where the politics are in Bahrain at present.

 

 

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Causeway Institute engages with Israeli visitors

Charlotte Manson, from the Causeway Institute, hosted a delegation of six ultra-orthodox Israeli rabbis affiliated with the Shas Party in a recent visit to Belfast.  This was organised in association with Forward Thinking and the East Belfast Mission.  The visit was titled “Writing the Religious Initiative” and provided the rabbis with the opportunity to listen to religious and political individuals from the Republican and Unionist communities as they discussed the relationship between religion and politics in Northern Ireland. 

As an introduction to the visit in Belfast, approaches to building peace were discussed within the framework of three levels: top, middle-ranking and grassroots leadership. The delegation and facilitators discussed the middle-ranking level as pertinent to the rabbis position in their communities in Israel. This presentation focused on the need for integration at all three levels in order to have a sustainable peace, which the visit to Belfast aimed to illustrate. 

The rabbis heard from influential religious figures who described how they had personally managed to negotiate a pathway to a peaceful settlement within a theological framework. The speakers from Northern Ireland gave an honest appraisal of the challenges of peace-building, but also stressed the potential for religion to play a positive role in resolving conflict.

The delegation also met with a number of individuals who had led educational initiatives across interface areas in North Belfast despite the many challenges they faced. They emphasised on the vital role of local leadership and building a network of relationships across interface areas, with also the on-going consultation of local people. Each presentation provided an insight into the day-to-day work of the Northern Irish peace process as the speakers commented on the need for the continuation of their work today.

 

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Causeway Chairman Jeffrey Donaldson takes part in Istanbul Workshop

CIPCR Chairman Jeffrey Donaldson participating in a workshop in Istanbul on the political participation of Parties with Religious reference in the Arab World hosted by the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva.

CIPCR Chairman Jeffrey Donaldson participating in a workshop in Istanbul on the political participation of Parties with Religious reference in the Arab World hosted by the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva.

The Chairman of the Causeway Institute Jeffrey Donaldson has taken part in a workshop in Istanbul hosted by the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva and focused on a discussion between western Christian politicians and members of Islamic Salafi Parties from countries like Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Yemen and Mauritania about the participation of political parties with religious reference in the political process.  During the discussion Mr Donaldson was able to draw upon the experience in Northern Ireland and spoke of the role played by political parties in the peace process, and the challenges in promoting reconciliation at a political, religious and societal level. The workshop considered the current situation in the Arab region and the role that Salafi parties can play in promoting peace and opposing violence by some Islamic groups. The workshop also considered the tensions that exist in each of these countries between secularists and political movements with a religious reference, and the steps that are necessary to avoid polarisation.

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Causeway Institute get a mention in The Economist

The Causeway Institute gets a mention in this week’s Economist in an interesting article about the exporting of the Northern Ireland peace process.
Lord Alderdice and Jonathan Powell, both of whom we are working with, are also referenced
The article can be accessed online here:
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Chairman CIPCR gives live interview on BBC Radio 4

The Chairman of CIPCR, Rt Hon Jeffrey Donaldson MP, was interviewed by Eddie Mair on the BBC Radio 4 PM programme.  The interview was about the Chairman’s participation in the Afghan High Peace Council Conference held in Kabul over 21 – 23 September.

Denis Haughey, a member of the CIPCR Board, accompanied the Chairman and also spoke at the Conference.

You can listen to the full interview by following this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01mw08v

The interview begins after 25 mins and 13 secs.

 

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Causeway Chairman and Panel Member address Afghan Peace Conference

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:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/23/northern-irish-politicians-afghan-talks?CMP=twt_gu

BBC Northern Ireland have also covered the visit as well.  Their story is at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-19697960

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.

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Interesting take on the challenges for civil society in Northern Ireland

An interesting news article from US television channel PBS. It is very informative and captures the unique nature of the challenges that remain present in civil society in Northern Ireland.  While there is clearly still much to do in addressing the frictions that exist between the Protestant and Catholic communities in Northern Ireland, this short clip demonstrates that progress is being made and that there are grounds to be positive about the future.

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