One of the keys to the Northern Ireland peace process was patience — and with it, a long-term commitment from religious actors to pursue nonviolent avenues of ending the conflict. Reverend Gary Mason, a senior research fellow at Maynooth University, discusses how longstanding relationships between religious actors and their communities can open doors for dialogue that might be unavailable to other peacebuilders and how his experience in Northern Ireland can inform his new work to promote peace in the Middle East.

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What Can We Learn from Northern Ireland’s 25 Years of Peace?

What Can We Learn from Northern Ireland’s 25 Years of Peace?

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

By: Gary Mason;  Melissa Nozell

Next week marks 25 years since Northern Ireland’s Good Friday Agreement ended three decades of violent conflict between Catholics and Protestants. What can we learn from that breakthrough to strengthen peace efforts today? A Northern Irish peacebuilder argues a that a vital step in his homeland’s peace process placed civil society — and, critically, civil society’s religious participants — at its center in a way that other peace efforts (between Israelis and Palestinians, for example) have not. Northern Ireland continues to build reconciliation, a demonstration that, while religious factors sometimes fuel conflict, a fuller engagement of religious leaders and groups contributes powerfully to lasting peace.

Type: Analysis

Peace ProcessesReligion

Music, Poetry, Film: Shoring Up Identities for Peaceful Ends

Music, Poetry, Film: Shoring Up Identities for Peaceful Ends

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

By: Nate Wilson

A Somali master poet reconnects citizens to their government. A Lebanese filmmaker collects fighters' stories to dramatize the cost of war. Police in Northern Ireland adopt symbols of peace to signal a new ethos. In places simmering with long-standing social tensions and alienation, common cultural understandings can help ease hostility, suggesting a potentially powerful role for a mechanism still under-used in peacebuilding: the arts.

Type: Analysis

Conflict Analysis & PreventionViolent ExtremismNonviolent Action

Reconciliation as the Road to Durable Peace

Reconciliation as the Road to Durable Peace

Thursday, September 24, 2015

By: Fred Strasser

Apology. Confession. Truth-telling. Forgiveness. These are elements of reconciliation, perhaps the most important underpinning for turning a violent conflict into durable peace. Yet building peace is complicated by a reality that human cultures have no agreed definition of reconciliation. Indeed many may resist it as an imposed Western value, USIP scholars said.

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After Ireland Vote: Various Roads to LGBTI Rights

After Ireland Vote: Various Roads to LGBTI Rights

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

By: USIP Staff

Following Ireland’s constitutional referendum to legalize same-sex marriage, the newly appointed senior U.S. diplomat on human rights for gender minorities said he is “incredibly optimistic” about the prospects for the global campaign to guarantee such protections. Still, U.S. Special Envoy Randy Berry and an international group of activists said May 26 that gender-rights movements in many countries face tougher political landscapes than in Ireland and must rely heavily on more legalistic app...

Type: Analysis

GenderJustice, Security & Rule of LawHuman Rights

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