In 2004, LILP was invited to attend seminar in Ramallah aimed at providing Palestinian participants with an introduction to the history and politics of Ireland and Northern Ireland as well as with an increased understanding of peace-building and conflict resolution. For a report of the visit, click here
Belfast-Jerusalem Civil Society Partnership (B-JCSP)
As a result of this visit, two Israelis and two Palestinians from NGO's based in Jerusalem visited Belfast and Derry/Londonderry in December 2004. LILP worked with these representatives and Intercomm (an intercommunity organisation in North Belfast) to establish a long-term programme to share, develop, research and disseminate skills and practices to help build communities, strengthen civil society and transform conflict in Jerusalem and Northern Ireland.
This programme was named the Belfast-Jerusalem Civil Society Partnership (B-JCSP) and has subsequently delivered a series of conferences, work placements and trainings in Northern Ireland and Israel/Palestine. It has thereby helped develop strong, long-term, working relationships between policymakers, academics and practitioners in both regions. For an overview of the Belfast-Jerusalem Civil Society Partnership, click here
"I feel we were able to contribute a range of perspectives and to engage in constructive dialogues." (Participant Evaluation)
The B-JCSP organised a conference, 20th-22nd April 2005, in Jerusalem
to discuss the issues of community development, identity and education as they relate to both
Northern Ireland and Jerusalem. The conference gathered together more than 50
representatives from non-governmental and community-based organisations (NGOs), academia,
government and the media from across Israel, Palestine and Northern Ireland. The main
objectives of the conference were to:
1. Establish and sustain working relationships between academics and practitioners in Jerusalem and Northern Ireland;
2. Produce new academic and practice-oriented research in relation to the themes of the
conference; and to
3. Develop projects on the ground to enhance the capacity of civil society to contribute to
peace in both regions.
For a full report of the conference, click here
"I feel I have been challenged on my pre-conceived notions of the Israel/Palestine conflict." (Participant Evaluation)
B-JCSP Planning Ahead
From 30th November to 6th December 2005, representatives from INCORE and Intercomm led a small delegation from Northern Ireland on a study visit to Jerusalem. Participants from Northern Ireland included: Liam Maskey, Intercomm, Audrey Guichon, INCORE, Kerry McIvor, Belfast Local Strategy Partnership and Jack O'Connor, Director of the Special EU Programmes Body Community Initiatives. The delegation met with member organisations of the B-JCSP to discuss a programme of work placements planned for February 2006 and to exchange and share knowledge regarding potential funding opportunities. For a report of the visit click here
Visit of Fuad Kokaly, Director-General, PA Bethlehem Region
To advance the work of the B-JCSP, INCORE and Intercomm arranged for Fuad Kokaly, Director-General, PA, Bethlehem Region, and former Mayor of Beit Sahour, Bethlehem to speak to community workers from across the political and religious spectrum in North Belfast about his experience of peacemaking and peacebuilding in Israel/Palestine. For notes on the July 2005 meeting. click here.
LILP staff, in partnership with Intercomm, facilitated a work placement programme for a delegation from Israel/Palestine which took place 30 March - 5 April 2006. The participants from Israel/Palestine included respresentatives involved in inter and intra-community dialogue as well as community development in the region. During their visit they were provided with an extensive overview of the Northern Ireland conflict. Representatives of local, Belfast-based community organisations and Belfast Local Strategy Partnership then engaged with the Israeli/Palestinian delegates in a joint programme of activities including working group meetigns to examine examples of successful peace and reconciliation projects delivered in Northern Ireland, and to plan and design future projects for delivery in Israel/Palestine.
"Such a visit is vey important since the person learns and meets a new culture and new situation, and benefits from their experiences and their knowledge." (Participant Evaluation).