The Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (SCCRR) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Queens University Belfast, through its Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice.
Last month, Professor Patrick G. Johnston, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast and Fr. Patrick Devine, Executive Chairman of the SCCRR signed the MoU. The memorandum aims to enhance the ability of both partners to undertake research into conflict transformation and reconciliation and to connect the perspectives of all those who seek to contribute to conflict transformation and social justice — from the insights of world leading researchers to the experience of practitioners, policy makers, politicians and activists. It strives to provide an environment within which all voices can be heard and to underpin the pursuit of peace through world class research, which is focused on addressing the root (underlying) causes of conflict.
At the core of the agreement is the recognition of the inseparability of social justice from sustainable processes of conflict transformation and, ultimately, of peace. Both partners are committed to engaging with diverse groups, including vulnerable communities, to build capacity for improved approaches to conflict management, and collaborate in initiatives such as problem-solving workshops.
It will also facilitate sustained cross disciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration in research, education and training and to support world class research in this field. Queens University Belfast and Shalom will share networks and facilities in the promotion of world class research into conflict transformation. This may entail collaborative and shared bids for research funding using the expertise, skills, contacts and opportunities available to both organizations. It may also involve collaborative, comparative research projects in Kenya and/or Ireland, as well as elsewhere across Africa and Europe. The partners will exchange details of their training and other educational programs, including details of short course, winter school and summer school provision.
This memorandum will further enhance the role of peace practitioners validating the need for quality theoretical foundations to peace and development initiatives, generating enhanced technical mastery of conflict transformation skills. Moreover, it will also entail fostering a greater appreciation for the history of conflicts and the resilience of conflict memory. This will be realized through applying the highest academic research standards, thereby countering the alarming dangers of unfounded speculation and conjecture as to the root causes of conflicts. Shalom in collaboration with Queens University Belfast, through its Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice is looking forward to mutually advancing knowledge of conflict management processes and peace-building techniques in conflict environments.