Proud of its successful first two decades, but focused on the challenges ahead, the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at the University of Ulster this week marked the 20th anniversary of its establishment with the launch of 20 years of making and building peace: The story of INCORE.
The publication outlines the major achievements of the Institute since its inception in 1993 and is complemented by a five-minute infographic animation charting the progress of the Institute.
A joint project of the United Nations University and Ulster, INCORE addresses the causes and consequences of conflict in Northern Ireland and internationally and promotes conflict transformation strategies. It aims to influence policymakers and practitioners involved in peace, conflict and reconciliation issues while enhancing the nature of international conflict research.
While INCORE was established the year before the paramilitary ceasefires in Northern Ireland, making it a product of the Northern Ireland conflict, its broader vision is global – that of ‘a world where divided societies are transformed from violent conflict to sustainable peace’. INCORE has built on the peace and conflict-related work that has been taking place at Ulster since the 1970s.
Over the past 20 years INCORE has achieved a significant international public footprint, through ground-breaking research, its major internet presence and digital resources, practice and policy initiatives, teaching programmes, conferences, study visits and international peace-orientated work. Over 30 funders have supported INCORE in the last 10 years alone, and INCORE has undertaken over 40 major local and international peace-orientated projects and research programmes.
At the launch event,young local musicianJude McCandlesshelped mark the milestone with his spirited performance. The Encore Contemporary Choir also entertained the guests at the celebration.
Welcoming Jude to the campus, Professor Brandon Hamber, Director of INCORE, said: “Jude is only 13 years old and has already performed for President Michael D Higgins. He represents the Northern Ireland that has evolved from conflict – confident, energetic and resilient.
“As we celebrate 20 rewarding years, we should look at how far we have come and remember that in the midst of tragedy and violence, there is always the prospect of hope and optimism.”
Key to INCORE’s approach has been a concern with policy application and practice on the ground in divided societies. The institute has engaged in a range of projects in Northern Ireland and conflict zones around the world involving not only research but also direct interventions such as dialogue, policy development, capacity building and comparative learning.
INCORE staff have undertaken fieldwork and consultancies, and participated in peace and reconciliation initiatives in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Moldova/Transdniester, the Basque Country, Cambodia, Israel/Palestine, Cyprus, Brazil, Malawi and elsewhere.
Commenting on its worldwide contribution to peace-making over the past 20 years, Professor Hamber said: “Building lasting peace in war-torn societies is a huge global challenge, particularly when we consider how much of our history has been shaped by conflict.
“During the past two decades, INCORE has become an influential force in supporting researchers and practitioners working to help people in Northern Ireland and indeed further afield, move from violence to reconciliation. We have outlined some of this work in our new publication 20 years of making and building peace: The story of INCORE.
“As INCORE celebrates its birthday, I pay tribute to all those we have worked with over the years in a wide variety of organisations at local, national and international levels. Our partners – community groups, civil society organisations, peace and conflict-oriented NGOs, think-tanks and academic institutions – have brought much expertise to INCORE and helped make it a recognised international centre of excellence for peace and conflict studies. We look forward to the next 20 years.”
Caption: Professor Brandon Hamber with musician Jude McCandless at thelaunch of 20 years of making and building peace: The story of INCORE
An image gallery is available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/universityofulster/sets/72157638109001164/NOTES TO EDITORS:
INCORE is located within the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ulster.
Building on the University of Ulster’s pioneering work in peacebuilding since the 1970s, INCORE was established in 1993. Based at the University’s Magee campus in Derry~Londonderry, it is a centre of excellence, thepremier research institute in conflicttransformation on the island of Ireland, and anassociated site of the United Nations University. See www.ulster.ac.uk/incore.20 years of making and building peace: The story of INCORE
and an associated five-minute infographic animation are available at http://www.incore.ulst.ac.uk/about/.
The Centre has also been involved in training a new generation of peacemakers and peacebuilders. The University of Ulster has been teaching peace and conflict studies for over 25 years. The Masters in Peace and Conflict studies, the oldest of its type in Ireland, has had more than 400 graduates and attracted more Mitchell Scholars than any other degree at Ulster. Over the last 14 years more than 700 delegates from more than 40 countries across five continents have attended the INCORE summer school.
Over the past 20 years INCORE has developed the CAIN (Conflict Archive on the INternet) website – an archive of materials on 'the Troubles' and politics in Northern Ireland from 1968 to the present. In the decade 2003 to 2012, there were just under 13 million visits to the CAIN site. The ARK and INCORE sites both attracted over 2 million visits during that period.