There are just 25 days left before Rotary International’s World President, Japanese paper magnate Sakuji Tanaka, arrives in Derry~Londonderry to mark the 15th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and the culmination of his year of Peace through Service.

The Rotary Club of Londonderry’s International Peace Conference, hosted in association with the University of Ulster’s International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE), is being held in Derry from 24th – 26th May 2013. 

The event will welcome delegates from around the world including Juan Jose Ibarretxe Markuartu, the former Basque President and architect of the culture-led regeneration of the Basque Country; Roelf Meyer, the chief negotiator for the South African National Party in the talks that ended Apartheid, and ChouChou Namagambe, a gender activist working to protect women in conflict in the Congo.

The Conference - From Peacemaking to Peacebuilding ~ Journeys towards Reconciliation - provides everyone interested in a more peaceful society the opportunity to celebrate what has been achieved in the 15 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.  The event will also explore work that is being done here and in South Africa, The Basque Country and the Democratic Republic of Congo to build and embed peace.

A session on ‘Making the Peace’ will examine Northern Ireland’s journey from conflict to peace from a government perspective.

‘Building the Peace’ will be delivered by Roelf Meyer, the chief negotiator of the National Party and former Minister of Constitutional Affairs in South Africa, who will reflect on the negotiations with the African National Congress which resulted in the end of apartheid and the subsequent democratic elections in that country.

‘Working the Peace’ examines the Basque Case with Juan Jose Ibarretxe Markuartu, who was President of the Basque Country from 1999 to 2009, and who is credited with being the architect of the culture-led economic and social regeneration of the country. He led the extraordinary transformation that has resulted in the Basque Country becoming one of the leading nations in the Human Development Index.

Rotary International’s world president Sakuji Tanaka will give a keynote speech on this theme for the 2013 – Peace through Service and plant a ceremonial tree to mark Derry’s participation in the Rotary Cross Border Peace Forest Project.

Additional speakers over the weekend will include Northern Ireland’s first Police Ombudsman Nuala O’ Loan, political commentator Eamonn McCann and politicians Dawn Purvis and Gregory Campbell as well as a senior representative of the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister.

Local Rotary Club President Gavin Killeen says:

“The Peace Conference is open to everyone interested in building a better society here.  It will take place at the Millennium Forum from May 24th to 26th. On Friday we will host panel sessions on what peace means to local people and showcase EU funded Peace Projects, including Theatre of Witness.  On Saturday we will compare experiences of the peace processes in Northern Ireland, South Africa and the Basque Country.

“2013 is a landmark year for Derry~Londonderry, the Rotary Club of Londonderry, peace studies at the local university and for the Northern Irish peace process,” adds Gavin.

“It is the 15th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement; the year Derry celebrates its designation as the first UK city of Culture; the 400th anniversary of the granting of the city’s charter; the 90th anniversary of the Rotary Club of Londonderry and the 20th anniversary of the founding of INCORE, the University of Ulster’s centre of excellence in peace studies.

“Everyone is welcome to the Conference, which provides local people and visitors with a chance to view Northern Ireland’s journey from conflict through reconciliation to peace in the context of other international peace initiatives.”

The programme for the conference can be viewed at where bookings can also be made.


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