Irish missionary to give peace lecture at Queen's University

Fr Patrick Devine with Professor Hastings Donnan

Fr Patrick Devine with Professor Hastings Donnan


Father Patrick Devine, founding director of the Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution & Reconciliation in Kenya is to to deliver a public lecture in Queen's University next week.

The Senator George Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen's University Belfast will host Fr Devine on Wednesday, 22 March at 4.30pm. The title of Fr Devine's public lecture will be Inter-Ethnic Conflict Transformation Methods: Applications in Eastern Africa. It will have direct relevance to academics and practitioners working in a variety of conflict situations encompassing research-based religious and humanitarian perspectives.

Attendance at the lecture is free but advance booking is necessary. Booking and further details are available at: www.gladysganiel.com/irish-catholic-church/who-will-win-the-tipperary-peace-prize-nominee-fr-patrick-devine-to-speak-at-queens-22-march/

The Centre has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Queens University through its www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/isctsj/ Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice.

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 causes of conflict.

At the core of the MoU 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 to collaborate in initiatives such as problem-solving workshops.

The MoU enhances the role of peace practitioners validating the need for quality theoretical foundations to peace and development initiatives, and generating enhanced technical mastery of conflict transformation skills. Moreover, it also entails fostering a greater appreciation for the history of conflicts and the resilience of conflict memory. This is realised through applying the highest academic research standards, thereby, countering the alarming dangers of unfounded speculation and conjecture as to the root causes of conflicts.

It also facilitates sustained cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration in research, education and training. Queens University Belfast and Shalom share networks and facilities in the promotion of world class research into conflict transformation. This may involve collaborative, comparative research projects in Kenya and/or Ireland, as well as elsewhere across Africa and Europe. The partners exchange details of their training and other educational programmes, including details of short courses, winter school and summer school provision. Fr. Patrick's forthcoming lecture is part of the collaboration between both bodies.

The Shalom Centre also has an MoU with the Edward Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention at NUI Maynooth, as well as with the eight governments of eastern Africa that comprise the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and with the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA). In recent times it has been collaborating with the World Bank.

The work of Shalom was recognised by the Irish Government during a visit to Kenya last November by Minister of State for Overseas Development, Joe McHugh and officials from Irish Aid. Visiting a Shalom project in Tuum to see the work first hand, Mr. McHugh said: "The work that Shalom is doing shows two things: a massive vision for the region and leadership. They are doing great work, they are working on peace but not just peace for peace-sake, they are working on development as well. We thank the Shalom team for giving us this rare insight into the work that they do".

During his visit to Ireland, Fr Devine, who is short-listed for the 2016 Tipperary Peace Prize, and was recipient of the Caring Award in the USA in 2013, will attend a fundraising event for Shalom in Co Galway organised by The Galway Solicitor's Bar Association.

Read more about the Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation: www.shalomconflictcenter.org/