Conflict and Peace Topics for Discussion at NUI Galway Conferences

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Centre for the Study of Nationalism and Organised Violence (CSNOV) at NUI Galway is pleased to announce two upcoming seminars.  ‘Talking Peace: A seminar on communication, contact and dialogue aimed at reducing or ending violence in Northern Ireland’ will take place on Wednesday, 16 May between 10am - 5pm in the Moore Institute at the University.  ‘Armed Conflict in Comparative Perspective’ will take place on Friday,18 May from  9am - 5pm in the Aula Maxima.

‘Talking Peace’ willbring together key actors with direct experience of mediation, negotiation and decision-making in the Irish peace process, including Sir Kenneth Bloomfield; Larry and Shauna Duddy; Dr Maurice Hayes; Jim Gibney; Dr Harold Good; Rev. Chris Hudson and Dr Martin Mansergh.  Professor Brendan O’Leary,University of Pennsylvania, will act as respondent.

The symposium brings participants together with leading academics working on the politics of conflict and peace in Northern Ireland, including Professor James McAuley(University of Huddersfield); Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh (NUI Galway); Dr Graham Spencer (University of Portsmouth); Dr  Katy Hayward(Queen’s University Belfast); Professor Jonathan Tonge (University of Liverpool); Professor  Robert White(Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis).

‘Armed Conflict in Comparative Perspective’ is a multidisciplinary conference bringing  together leading scholars working on aspects of armed conflict from a range of disciplinary perspectives. It will address key issues of concern to sociologists, political scientists and historians studying inter-state wars, civil wars, armed conflicts, urban violence and insurgencies.

Speaking about the Talking Peace seminar, Dr Niall O’Dochartaigh, NUI Galway, said: “Communication through intermediaries and mediators was crucial to the peace settlement in the North but this important aspect of the peace process remains little understood, partly because it was shrouded in secrecy. It is an urgent matter to understand how such communication might play a role in resolving other situations of conflict today.

“It is particularly appropriate that the seminar is taking place in Galway because the west of Ireland provided the setting for some very important encounters aimed at ending conflict in the North, such as the meeting between Protestant clergymen and the IRA leadership in Feakle Co. Clare that paved the way for the IRA ceasefire of 1975. It was a setting where people could talk at some distance from the centres of power and media attention in Dublin  and Belfast.”

Dr O’Dochartaigh added: “The Talking Peace seminar explores this issue through a conversation between those with direct experience of the workings of government and of mediation during the conflict in the North and academics studying the conflict. The witness seminar format provides a unique historical methodology for exploring difficult historical topics of this kind through a kind of group interview where participants in historical events share, discuss and sometimes challenge each others' recollections. We are running the seminar in partnership with colleagues from King’s College London where the Institute of Contemporary British History has organised numerous witness seminars over many years and has built up extensive expertise in this method.”

These events are supported by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the Moore Institute, the School of Political Science and Sociology and the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy, NUI Galway.

These events are open to all but seating is limited. For registration please contact:



Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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