Lessons From Belfast

"Reasoned principled compromise is essential, especially in divided society. There is great depth in recognizing that the only way to help us emerge from the rubble of conflict is that we must learn to understand one another." - Former US Senator George Mitchell


In May 2024, a multi-faith and cross-partisan group of U.S. faith and civil society leaders visited counterparts in Belfast, Northern Ireland to learn lessons from their 30-years of civil war about identity-based politics, peacebuilding, and the role of faith communities. The group was hosted by Rev. Dr. Gary Mason of Rethinking Conflict.

These are some of their reflections...



On the streets of Northern Ireland, the effects of political violence linger. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Watson Roberts)

"Conflict prevention is hard but ending a conflict is harder. The parties in Northern Ireland learned that they could hurt each other but not beat each other. How can we learn these lessons from conflict without descending into one ourselves?” - Tom Crick, The Carter Center. 

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