The Causeway Institute for Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution (CIPCR) based in Northern Ireland aims to build peace though active and collaborative engagement in resolving community conflict both locally and internationally. CIPCR draws upon peacebuilding and conflict resolution principles of democracy, consent, ‘inclusive negotiation processes,’ and approaches of nonviolence.
CIPCR helps bring together groups from within and across divided societies to promote trust and understanding through dialogue. These groups include state and non-state organisations, combatants and non-combatants, political parties, religious and faith-based groups, and various other community representatives.
The idea for CIPCR originated in 2010, when a number of like-minded individuals, who had been working separately to resolve conflicts in divided and disparate communities – both in Northern Ireland and other conflict zones across the globe – came together to discuss combining efforts to achieve a more substantial initiative.
The individuals involved felt that more was needed to be done to address the root causes of conflict itself in those communities; to provide leadership to those groups wanting to bring about peace; to help groups move towards a democratic route to resolving conflicts; and to share best practice in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, based on observations of the various groups with which they have previously worked.
The aims of CIPCR
Some key themes promoted by CIPCR:
- Building trust between political parties
- Building trust within the community – leadership and bottom-up approaches
- Promotion of community safety and therefore building confidence
- Zero tolerance of sectarianism – legislating against manifestations of division such as discrimination and hate crime
- Engagement and reconciliation programmes within and between communities
- Dealing with those who have previously been reluctant to engage
- Dealing with the past – rehabilitation and support for victims
- Community participation in reconciliation – participatory democracy and finding local solutions to local problems
- Promoting greater understanding and knowledge
- Tackling the particular challenges of the correlation between poverty, segregation and conflict
Projects in Northern Ireland
CIPCR recently hosted a delegation from their Middle Eastern partners, the Arab Network for Tolerance (ANT), a forum where activists, academics, media professionals, and youth come together to identify new strategies for improving human rights in the MENA region. This successful week-long event was attended by representatives from Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen.
Previous CIPCR projects and events in which members have taken part include dialogue with parties from the Iraqi Parliament; speaking at a conference on divided societies hosted by the Club de Madrid; fact-finding visits to the Middle East region; discussions with political leaders in Kosovo and Croatia; and mentoring young people in Beirut on the challenges of peacebuilding.
Most recently, a team from CIPCR met with a number of Government Ministers from the Kingdom of Bahrain. Discussions centred upon the lessons of the Northern Ireland Peace Process, and specifically the reform of policing and justice, and how that might be applied in Bahrain.
Following this, the Chairman of the CIPCR met with the Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma. Similarly, the meeting was focused upon how elements of the NI Peace Process might form the basis of a peace process structure in Burma.
CIPCR is keen to work with partners across the island of Ireland and with international organisations who wish to share in the lessons of the Northern Ireland Peace Process. It is presently planning further projects in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, the Far East and South America. Through building effective partnerships with others engaged in this field of work, CIPCR hopes to continue making a difference in securing a safer, more peaceful, world.