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Study abroad in Africa

Ireland: Conflict, Peace and Transition in Northern Ireland (HECUA)


Todd Heidt

Director, Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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This program focuses on promoting awareness and understanding of the local and global implications of the conflict in Northern Ireland. The aim is to develop an understanding of the key social, cultural and political dynamics, as well as the key events and their impact upon society. Specific topics covered include: the historical roots of the Northern Ireland conflict; the role of religion in the conflict; ethnic, frontier/contested society; an introduction to conflict theory; cultural and political identities; key events like Bloody Sunday and Enniskillen; the role of young people in the conflict; the roles of prisoners/ex-combatants; sectarianism; and victims/survivors and the aftermath of conflict.

The program also has a particular emphasis on promoting awareness and understanding of the actions that can be taken by people in the pursuit of peace, and the creation of an inclusive, sustainable, and effective democracy. Students develop an understand of the dynamics of conflict transformations and the development of sustainable and effective democratic processes, as well as a critical understanding of strategies and practices underlying social, civic and political initiatives for peace. Topics in this module of the program include the political peace process, the Belfast Agreement, the Human Rights and Equity Agendas, educational responses to conflict; community development; segregation and integration; young people and civic engagement; moving from a divided to a shared society; legal, policy and value levers for social change; transitional justice issues and dealing with the past.

Through the Northern Ireland Democracy and Social Change internship, students develop new skills and acquire new insights into how different facets of society in Northern Ireland are working toward the development of a sustainable democracy. Students reflect on their experiences in weekly seminar sessions, designed to facilitate deepened self-awareness and a critical understanding of the internship site. Reflection journals aid discussion at seminars. 

HECUA partners with the University of Ulster; classes are held at the University of Ulster at Magee with field study and internships at selected regions of Northern Ireland. The program is affiliated with INCORE, the International Conflict Research Institute on the University's Magee campus in Londonderry/Derry. Students spend the first five weeks taking core seminars at the University; each student is provided with a private room during this initial program period. During the seven-week internship at the center of the semester, students live in Londonderry/Derry, sharing living space with other students. HECUA guides students through the process of obtaining a United Kingdom visa to participate in the program.

Learn more about the HECUA Democracy and Social Change in Northern Ireland program.

Credits: 4.5 Knox credits for the fall or spring semester.

Advisor: Professor Todd Heidt

Click here for more information about the application process, program selection, and more!

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Printed on Monday, May 23, 2022