Belfast-Jerusalem Civil Society Partnership (B-JCSP)
The Belfast-Jerusalem Civil Society Partnership (B-JCSP) developed out of exploratory visits by INCORE & Intercomm to Jerusalem in October 2004, and by Ir Amim and Panorama to Belfast in December 2004. During these visits, all members were struck by the similarities between Belfast and Jerusalem as ‘unresolved’ cities whose future may be subject to political deadlocks, vacuums and settlements. In this context, B-JCSP feels it is especially important to enhance the capacity of civil society to contribute to peace in both Jerusalem and Northern Ireland .
The mission of B-JCSP is to share, develop, research and disseminate skills and practices to help build communities, strengthen civil society and transform conflict in Jerusalem and Northern Ireland . To this end, the partnership:
- Acts as a forum for exchange and debate concerning community building, strengthening civil society and conflict transformation in Jerusalem and Northern Ireland .
- Conducts comparative academic and practice-oriented research in the areas of community building, strengthening civil society and conflict transformation in Northern Ireland and Jerusalem .
- Establishes and sustains working relationships between civil society actors in Jerusalem and Northern Ireland .
- Promotes co-ordinated, coherent and evidence-based approaches to community-building, strengthening civil society and conflict transformation in Northern Ireland and Jerusalem .
All of B-JCSP’s programmes and activities will:
- Involve academic and practice-oriented research.
- Serve all members interests’ in building communities, strengthening civil society and transforming conflict in Northern Ireland and Jerusalem .
- Be feasible within the timeline of the project and funding constraints.
- Community Building - to include areas of common interest such as community development, single-identity/uni-national work, cross-community work, interface work, social economy/micro-business, conflict resolution & transformation, non-violent strategies, youth work.
- Diversity, Pluralism & Identity - to include areas of common interest such as citizenship & nationality, multiple identities and super-identity, justice and human rights, visions of our cities, mixed/cross-marriage, street art, religion & reconciliation.
Participants & Beneficiaries:
- Decision-makers/policymakers and opinion shapers
- Grassroots community groups on the ground
Phase I Activities:
- B-JCSP is currently conducting a brief review of previous comparative research and exchange visits between Northern Ireland and Jerusalem, to be completed late January 2005.
- February to March 2005 - a delegation of 6-8 academics and practitioners from Northern Ireland with particular expertise in: community development, interfaces, single-identity/uni-national work, cross-community work, conflict resolution and transformation, and social economy/micro business will visit Jerusalem to exchange information and experience with a range of civil society actors.
- June to July 2005 - a delegation of academics and practitioners from Jerusalem will visit Northern Ireland to exchange information and experience with a range of civil society actors.
- Further exchange visits could potentially take place during September/October 2005 and December 2005.
Phase I of the project is currently funded by the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation within Measure 2:1, Reconciliation for Sustainable Peace, via the European Directorate of the Community Relations Council and INCORE’s Local International Learning Project.
B-JCSP is currently developing a proposal for a 3-year programme of activities to commence February 2006.
- New, ongoing working relationships established between civil society actors in Northern Ireland and Jerusalem.
- Broader and more outward looking perspectives among civil society actors in Northern Ireland and Jerusalem.
- Increase in civil society actors’ critical awareness, confidence, knowledge and skills in both Jerusalem and Northern Ireland.
- New/improved, innovative and evidence-based projects, programmes and activities that build communities, strengthen civil society and transform conflict in Northern Ireland and Jerusalem.
- Increased levels of support for, and participation in, community and civil society work in Jerusalem and Northern Ireland .
- New sources of knowledge and resources for academics and practitioners working internationally in the fields of community building, civil society strengthening and conflict transformation.
INCORE is an international Centre of Excellence for Peace and Conflict Studies based at University of Ulster and affiliated to the United Nations University
Intercomm is an inter-community organisation based in North Belfast specialising in economic regeneration, social reconstruction and local and international peace-building practices
Ir Amim (“City of Nations ” or “City of Peoples ”) is an NGO founded to engage on those issues impacting on Israeli-Palestinian relations in Jerusalem , and on the political future of the city
Panorama is an NGO dedicated to the development of Palestinian society and to promoting the notions of civil society among Palestinians.