We're delighted to have hosted some of the world leaders in the field of peace and reconciliation

Peace and Beyond brought a diverse and exciting line-up of speakers to Belfast, Northern Ireland in April 2018. They included:

  • South African advocate Thuli Madonsela, who worked closely with former President Nelson Mandela on the final constitution of South Africa;
  • Lord Alderdice, who played a significant role in the negotiation of the 1998 Good Friday/Belfast Agreement;
  • and Senator George J. Mitchell, President Bill Clinton’s former Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. 

Find out more about the conference aims and objectives.

Speakers who took part in Peace and Beyond: 

Speakers 10th April

Conference opening and civic reception

  • Sir Ciarán Devane, CEO British Council
  • Councillor Nuala McAllister, Lord Mayor of Belfast
  • Senator George J. Mitchell, President Bill Clinton’s former Special Envoy for Northern Ireland

Speakers 11th April - Morning sessions

Opening plenary

  • Sir Ciarán Devane, CEO British Council
  • Lord Alderdice, Director of the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, University of Oxford (UK) and Chair of Centre for Democracy and Peace Building
  • Candice Mama, Reconciliation Ambassador
  • Helen Alderson, Head of Mission to the UK and Ireland, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • Lord Lothian, Former Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office

Cities in Transition

  • Chair: Professor Jo Beall, Director Education and Society, British Council
  • Panellists: Bilal Al Ayoubi, Senior Researcher, The Forum for Cities in Transition: Tripoli
    Grainia Long, Belfast Commissioner for Resilience (TBA)

Engendering the Peacebuilding Process

  • Chair: Professor Monica McWilliams, Emeritus Professor, Transitional Justice Unit, Ulster University
  • Keynote: María Emma Wills, Academic and former leader of the Department of Gender and Women in the Historical Memory Commission (Colombia)
  • Panellists: Michael Potter; Visiting Research Fellow, School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, Queen’s University Belfast
    Dr. Sanda Rašković Ivić, Former president of the Democratic Party of Serbia, and former Commissioner for Refugees (Serbia)

Social Trust

  • Chair: Professor Brandon Hamber, The John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace based at the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at Ulster University
  • Keynote: Professor John Brewer, Professor of Post-Conflict Studies and Fellow of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University Belfast
  • Panellists: Judith Thompson, Current Northern Ireland Victims’ Commissioner
    Enilda Jiménez, NRC Area Manager in Colombia, Norwegian Refugee Council

When and How do Third Parties in Conflict Interventions Make a Difference?

  • Chair: Fionna Smyth, Head of Humanitarian Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns, Oxfam
  • Keynote: Eamon Gilmore, EU Special Envoy for the Peace Process in Colombia
  • Panellists: Byron Bland, Senior Consultant, Stanford Centre on International Conflict and Negotiation, Stanford University
    Dr. Liz Carmichael, Convener, OxPeace
    Ziad Saab, President, Fighters for Peace
    Christina Foerch, Projects, Trainer biography work, International Relations, Fighters for Peace

Speakers 11th April - Afternoon sessions

Arts in the Aftermath of Conflict

  • Chair: Alejandro Castillejo-Cuéllar, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia 
  • Keynote: Mona El Hallak, Architect; succeeded in lobbying for the preservation of the "Barakat Building" in Sodeco, now known as “Beit Beirut” became a museum in commemoration of the city of Beirut
  • Panellists: Professor Paul Seawright, executive Dean, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Ulster University, and Head of Belfast School of Art 
    Paula McFetridge, Artistic Director, Kabosh Theatre Company

From Conflict to Rule of Law

  • Chair: Peter Sheridan, Director Co-operation Ireland
  • Keynote: Bob Peirce, Consultant and former Diplomat
  • Panellists: Bekim Blakaj, Director, Humanitarian Law Centre, Kosovo
    Prof. Thuli Madonsela, Chair of Social Justice and former Public Protector South Africa, Stellenbosch University

Inter-generational Issues in Post-Conflict Settings

  • Chair: Professor Joanne Hughes, Director of the Centre for Shared Education, School of Education at Queen’s University, Belfast
  • Keynote: Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Professor in the Mitchell Institute at Queen’s University Belfast, and Research Chair and Director of Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation at Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Panellists: Jackie Redpath, Chief Executive, Greater Shankill Partnership
    Candice Mama, Reconciliation Ambassador (South Africa)

Peace, technology and innovation

  • Chair: Diana Dajer, Lawyer, scholar and Build Peace Fellow (Colombia)
  • Keynote: Sinead McSweeney, Managing Director, Twitter Ireland
  • Panellists: Henry Joseph-Grant, Founder, Peace Tech (Northern Ireland)
    Michaela Ledesma, Programs Director, Build Up (Ireland)

Closing plenary

  • Keynote address: Baroness Onora O’Neill, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge, former President of the British Academy
  • Closing remarks:  Professor Jo Beall, Director Education and Society, British Council

Speakers 12th April

International Perspectives on Reconciliation

Belfast City Hall

  • Chair: Lynda Bryans
  • Panellists: Minister Almahdi Wardami, Minister of Labour and Rehabilitation, Libya; Angela Anzola, Secretary for Women, & former Bogota’s High Counselor for Victims’ Rights, Peace and Reconciliation, Colombia; & Farhadullah Farhad, Director of Peace and Reconciliation Department at the Office of the National Security Council, Afghanistan

Bringing Peace to the Troubled Mind


  • Chair: Prof. Deirdre Heenan
  • Panellists: Gary Robb, Margaret Bateson, Peter McBride, Colin Davidson

Building Prosperity in Post-Conflict Society

Girdwood Community Hub

  • Chair: Bryan Patten, 
  • Panellists: Enda Young, Gareth Quinn, Jim Donnelly, Martin McMullan, Kain Craigs, Sinead Barnes

Culture, Change and Reconciliation

Ulster Museum

  • Chair: Dr Katy Radford MBE
  • Panellists: Kathryn Thomson, Linda Ervine, Shona Bell, William Blair, John Peto

Embracing our Most Marginalised

Innovation Factory

  • Chair: Vilma Patterson from Probation Board NI
  • Panellists: Shane Smith, Debbie Watters, ACC Stephen Martin, Gary McAllister, Sean Murray

Enterprise, economic development and employability 

Belfast Metropolitan College E3 Campus

  • Chair: Damian Duffy and Dr Joanne Stuart
  • Panellists: Joe O' Donnell, Richard Taylor

Sport for All

The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park

  • Co-Chairs: Michael Boyd and Trevor Ringland MBE
  • Panellists: Gareth Harper

Closing plenary

Ulster University

Maxine Mawhinney in conversation with the The Archbishop of Canterbury and Denis Bradley, freelance journalist and former priest

See also