Students Study Conflict in Ireland and Northern Ireland

The class visits the "Peace Wall" that separates the Catholic and Protestant communities in Belfast.
The class visits the “Peace Wall” that separates the Catholic and Protestant communities in Belfast.

In June CDR Director Charlene Berquist and Associate Director Heather Blades co-led a short term study abroad program, taking 19 students to visit Ireland and Northern Ireland to study the dynamics of conflict and peacemaking in the region.

The class examined the historical and cultural roots of the conflict in Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as subsequent peacemaking efforts. The course culminated in a 10-day trip to the two countries, during which time students visited Dublin, Belfast, and Derry/Londonderry. The travel portion of the course was structured to maximize opportunities for students to not only see people’s experiences and expressions of those experiences (from the “peace walls” in Belfast separating Catholic and Protestant communities to the murals in Derry/Londonderry depicting the evolution from Bloody Sunday to current peace efforts) but also to meet, talk with, and hear the narratives of activists, community members, and individuals from conflict management and peacemaking organizations.

Students meet with community members involved in peacemaking efforts in Derry.
Students meet with community members involved in peacemaking efforts in Derry.

The travel portion of the class brought students in contact with the individuals and groups most impacted by the decades-long conflict in the region and allowed them the opportunity to observe first-hand how conflict is experienced by different groups and how transformational conflict processes are implemented.
This was the second time Dr. Berquist and Ms. Blades have taught this summer course, and it may be offered again in the future. For more information please email CDR@MissouriState.edu. View a slideshow of images of the travel portion of this course on the CDR’s YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/ejNmjas08dg

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