Derry to host international peace conference

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Image: Eamonn Deane, Chairperson of Holywell Trust and Helen Quigley, CEO of Inner City Trust

Northern Ireland will host a major peace-building conference in Derry this month with a line-up of international speakers. The aim of the conference is to enable groups and policy makers from across Northern Ireland and beyond to engage with a range of inspirational people who will bring their global perspectives on peace building.

The ‘Hope Beyond Hurt’ conference is organized as part of a project which has included the lighting of the City gates, a range of peace-building programmes, events and exhibitions, and will culminate this summer with the opening of the City Centre Garden of Reflection, a major shared-space and resource for community relations and cross-border relationship building in the heart of the city.

The ‘Hope Beyond Hurt’ conference will take place in Holywell-DiverseCity Community Partnership on 15th and 16th April. 

The project is funded through the European Union’s PEACE III Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, and is a partnership between Inner City Trust, which is the Lead Partner, Derry City Council and DiverseCity Community Partnership.

Speakers attending the conference include Giles Duley, a world-renowned photo-journalist severely injured in an IED (improvised explosive device) explosion in Afghanistan, who will also be showing his ‘One Second of Light’ exhibition. Also attending is Laila Atshan from Ramallah in Palestine, a psychologist and consultant for UNICEF who has worked with trauma victims in conflict zones such as Dafur and Iraq.

Launching the conference programme, Helen Quigley, CEO of Inner City Trust, said:: The City Centre Garden of Reflection is a unique project which will transform a derelict and underused space into a shared space in the heart of the city centre. We envisage that the garden will be accessed by those who live in the City, as well as attracting visitors from all over Northern Ireland and beyond.

Eamonn Deane, Chairperson of Holywell Trust, added: “Holywell Trust has been involved in peace-building for over 25-years, but the Garden of Reflection and the ‘Hope Beyond Hurt’ conference are the most exciting and ambitious projects which we have embarked on.

The conference is an opportunity for policy makers and peace influencers to examine themes such as international conflict, peace and reconciliation with people who have been at the sharp end of some of the most destructive conflicts of recent times.

Attendance at the two-day conference is open to groups, individuals and policy makers involved in peace building and community relations across Northern Ireland and beyond. Attendance is free but tickets must be reserved in advance. For further information please visit: www.gardenofreflection.org

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