Inaugural Professorial Lecture by Cathy Gormley-Heenan, Professor of Politics

Do Walls Work?

Inaugural Professorial Lecture by Cathy Gormley-Heenan, Professor of Politics

It is almost 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany and yet, in 2016, the construction of walls, fences and barriers continues to be used as a policy response to a political problem in Europe. While the building of the ’Great Wall of Calais’ near to the Jungle migrant camp in France is the latest example of this, US Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump, also committed to building a ‘great wall’ on America’s southern border with Mexico, if elected. These global developments seem to sit in stark contrast to the local policy approach in Northern Ireland at present, in which the Government has committed to remove ALL peace walls by 2023. The commitment sits against an environmental backdrop where our first ‘temporary’ peace wall, built back in 1969 at Cupar Way in Belfast still remains, and will soon reach its 50th anniversary. Therefore, this lecture will look at both the global and local, in order to consider questions of where and how have walls been used; what has been their effect; and do they work?  It asks: what lessons might be learnt from the Northern Ireland experience by those policy makers seeking to use walls and barriers as a response to their societal, political and/or border problems today?

The response will be given by Professor Elisabeth Porter, Professor of International Relations, University of South Australia


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06:30PM to 08:00PM

Conor Lecture Theatre

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