Divided Cities Conference

6 Apr

I’ll be volunteering for most of this next week:

Leaders from Divided Cities to Meet at UMass Boston April 14-16

Building on his successes at bringing together leaders from divided societies in South Africa, Northern Ireland, and Iraq, Padraig O’Malley, the John Joseph Moakley Distinguished Professor of Peace and Reconciliation at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies, is convening a meeting of leaders from places where the dividing lines run straight down city streets.

Called the “Forum for Cities in Transition” (FCT), the conference, to be held April 14 through 16, will bring together leaders and representatives from Kirkuk, Iraq; Mitrovica in Serbia and Mitrovica in Kosovo; Belfast and Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland; and Nicosia, Cyprus. Conceptually, the conference builds on O’Malley’s long-held belief that people from divided societies are the best people to help others in divided societies.
In addition to dealing with issues such as race, ethnicity, religion, and political ideology, as well as the geographical flashpoints within each city where different sides clash, conferees will also discuss, in smaller groups, non-partisan topics such as electricity, water, and sewer systems;seemingly mundane topics, but topics about which O’Malley believes opposing parties can find common ground, and then work towards a greater understanding.

Ultimately, said O’Malley, the hope is that the representatives will agree to form a “club” of divided cities;annual meetings with each of the participating cities hosting the others on a rotating basis. For now, though, O’Malley just hopes to bring the group together, show them their common ground, and let the participants take it from there, including the setting of each day’s agenda.
The conference will end with a public panel discussion on Thursday, April 16, at 7:30 p.m. at UMass Boston’s Campus Center, titled “Divided Cities: Common and Uncommon.” […]”



One Response to “Divided Cities Conference”

  1. al Kantabi April 17, 2009 at 8:06 am #

    Very interesting, this sounds like a pretty cool approach

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