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International Expert Praises INCORE Archive Project

International peace expert Iratxe Momoitio Astorkia, Director of the Gernika Peace Museum, visited the University's Magee campus this week at the invitation of the ‘Accounts of the Conflict’ research project being run by INCORE, the University’s world-renowned international conflict research centre.

‘Accounts of the Conflict’, which has received £948,000 from the European Union’s PEACE lll programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, will establish a digital archive offering long-term storage and preservation of stories related to life in Northern Ireland and the border region during the period of the conflict

Iratxe, one of Europe’s leading experts in the field of peacebuilding, art and memory is one of six International Advisors to the Accounts of the Conflict project at INCORE.

During her visit, she met the project team, as well as other University of Ulster academics working in linked fields, and delivered a seminar on the subject of ‘How to deal with our recent past by making important materials or sources available online’. She also met individuals and organisations working in museums and archives across the city.

Iratxe said: “The 'Accounts of the Conflict' project has the opportunity to play an important role in mapping out and bringing together the numerous oral history projects related to the conflict in Northern Ireland that have been initiated on various topics and in different locations during the recent years.”

“I had been looking forward for some time to this visit to Northern Ireland, and to INCORE at the University of Ulster, and have been deeply impressed by the commitment and professionalism of the people I met during my stay in Derry~ Londonderry.”

INCORE Director Professor Brandon Hamber said:

“Northern Ireland continues to benefit from the expertise of those working on peace-building internationally. Through our project we are delighted to be able to bring International Advisors here to ensure the Accounts of the Conflict project at the University of Ulster meets the highest international standards in archiving and making information available.Iratxe’s visit also helps consolidate and sustain our connections with key international networks.”

Accounts of the Conflict project co-ordinator Professor Gillian Robinson said: "Iratxe’s visit is the second in a series by our International Advisors. Next month, we look forward to welcoming Verne Harris, Director of the Mandela Archive in South Africa.”

Notes for editors:

1. Iratxe Momoitio Astorkia is currently Director of the Gernika Peace Museum (unique peace museum in the Basque Country and Spain) since its creation in the year 1998. She has published several articles about Memory, the bombing of Gernika and the Spanish Civil War, about the importance of Art and Peace and about the Gernika Peace Museum in different books and magazines (from Spain and other countries). She is involved in several International Networks (Vice-chairperson of IC MEMO (ICOM), member of the executive committee of the INMP (International Network of Museums for Peace), Member of AIPAZ (Spanish association for research on Peace), member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, Vice-President of the Forum on Human Rights Education (Basque Country). She has been commissioned to participate in an expert group (2012) to design the content and viability of the "Instituto de la Memoria" (Institute of Memory) in the Basque Country.

2. Additional information about the ‘Accounts of the Conflict’ project can be found at this Web page: http://www.ulster.ac.uk/accounts/ including details of forthcoming seminars.

3. The award has been made under the European Union’s Peace III Programme, Priority 1, Theme 1.2 Acknowledging and Dealing with the Past.

4. The Special EU Programmes body is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU structural funds Programmes PEACE lll and INTERREG IV designed to enhance cross-border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. The Programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland. For more information on the SEUPB please visit www.seupb.eu

5. Part of the European Regional Development Fund’s PEACE lll Programme, specifically priority 1.2 which deals with acknowledging and dealing with the past is implemented by Pobal.

6. Building on the University of Ulster’s pioneering work in peacebuilding since the 1970s, INCORE(International Conflict Research Institute) 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. Combining research, education and comparative analysis,INCORE addresses the causes and consequences of conflict in Northern Ireland and internationally and promotes conflict resolution management strategies. It aims to influence policymakers and practitioners involved in peace, conflict and reconciliation issues while enhancing the nature of international conflict research. It has plans to significantly scale the impact of its work by investing in the INCORE Peace Initiative which will be steered by the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace. Seewww.ulster.ac.uk/incore