Centre for Cross Border Studies 24th Annual Conference

We’re delighted to announce that our 24th Annual Conference will be taking place on Thursday 14th September 2023 at the Hilton Belfast.

We will be looking at the grassroots efforts that preceded the Good Friday Agreement that marked its 25th Anniversary this year. Many civic society groups were doing the hard work of cooperation and building understanding, often below the radar or without great acclaim. We want to recognise the important work they did in the years leading up to the Agreement.



09:00 Networking breakfast

10:00 Welcome

10:15 Panel 1

Chair: Olwen Dawe

Ailbhe Smyth, Bronagh Hinds & Quintin Oliver

11:15 Keynote Speaker

Colin Davidson

12:00 Lunch

13:30 Panel 2: Generously supported by North West Tertiary Education Cluster

Kyra Reynolds, Orla Flynn, Peter Osborne & Joel Keys

14:00 Coffee Break

14:30 Panel 3: Generously supported by Institute of Public Health

Chair: Marie Louise Connolly

Prof Deirdre Heenan, Dr Ann Nolan & Joanne Vance

15:30 Keynote Speaker

Tim O’Connor

16:15 Panel 4

Sharon Haughey-Grimley, Pamela Arthurs, Joe O’Toole & Michael D’Arcy

17:15 Close

18:00 Reception and Journal Launch

18:45 Conference Dinner and Speakers: Tim McGarry and Dr David Hume

Support the Conference
We are once again looking for sponsors who share our commitment to cooperation and improving relations to support our conference. The conference brings together over 100 policymakers, academics, civic society and business leaders; people with a wealth of experience who make an impact. There are a range of packages available here. Contact Nick for more information: n.hanrahan@qub.ac.uk

Identity and Belonging

Intergenerational conference with secondary school pupils and members of Fermanagh Churches’ Forum (linked to ISE network of Inter-church Fora).

Organised by Fermanagh Churches’ Forum with support from Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, the facilitated discussion will explore the themes of identity and belonging.

Community Relations Council Board Meeting

A meeting of the Community Relations Council Board during Good Relations Week.

As well as undertaking their normal business the Board of the Community Relations Council will be updated on the events and activities taking place during Good Relations Week 2022.

Joint Health, Good Relations, Equality and Human Rights Forum

A special Good Relations Week networking meeting of all the Health Trusts with the Community Relations Council, Equality Commission and Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

This is an important opportunity to meet and share information, and plan activity to build awareness and action on Good Relations, Equality and Human Rights across all the Trusts.

International Day of Peace – What’s Next for Peacebuilding?

What’s next for peacebuilding in Belfast is a key focus of this conference.

Hosted by Judith Hill, with contributions from Patrick Kielty (recorded) and a keynote address from renowned journalist Bill Neely, the conference will review the impacts of the Belfast PEACE IV Programme to date and the wider discussions with participants and partners on what is next.

In recognition of 2022’s International Day of Peace theme, it will also explore how the Programme has contributed to ‘Ending Racism, Building Peace’ through participants’ stories and include contributions on unconscious bias and diversity and inclusion.

Ireland in 1922 Conference

From Treaty to Civil War and Partition

Few years were as seminal in the shaping of the modern island of Ireland than 1922 – a year of political and violent turmoil, North and South, as the fledgling governments in Dublin and Belfast sought to establish themselves against seemingly impossible odds. In the emergent Irish Free State the Treaty Split and the subsequent divide in the IRA marked the slow, inexorable descent into Civil War.

In the new Northern Ireland political uncertainly fuelled the flames of sectarian violence in both Belfast and on the border involving the IRA (loyal to Michael Collins) the Ulster Special Constabulary (USC) and British troops. Brutal atrocities shocked Belfast while British troops used artillery against the IRA on the Fermanagh-Donegal border.

Against this background, Winston Churchill, the British Minister in charge of Irish affairs, brokered important agreements between Collins and James Craig in 1922, aimed at ending the violence and achieving stability. However, these fragile pacts were soon ‘washed away in a torrent of blood’ and Collins supported Northern nationalists and the Northern IRA in their campaign against partition while Craig relied on draconian special powers and internment. In June the assassination of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson- Craig’s Military Advisor- was to trigger the by now inevitable Civil War. It was only then that peace was gradually restored to Northern Ireland. Both states faced minority problems but while the Southern Protestants adjusted to the new state, the one-third minority in the North remained sullen and resentful.

In this special symposium, three distinguished historians, Dr Éamon Phoenix, Dr Russell Rees and Jim McDermott, will shed new light on this critical year, its key events and the roles played by leading Irish and British political leaders.


What is our brighter days ahead?

Guest speakers including women from The Barronettes group looking at their views on our Brighter Days Ahead and discussing what kind of a future would they like or see.

If you would like more information, please contact kathywolff1@aol.com

Can we build a Shared Future and what would it look like?

This event is in keeping with the theme ‘Brighter Days Ahead ‘and will focus on reconciliation as participants engage on the topic – “Can we build a Shared Future and what would it look like?”

There will be opportunities for inter-generational discussion as 6th form students from Enniskillen post-primary schools interact with Church Forum members after input from the keynote speaker Dr. Johnston McMaster well known Trinity College Adjunct Assistant Professor in Reconciliation.

Fermanagh Churches Forum is made up of church members and clergy from different Christian churches in the Enniskillen area who seek to find meaningful ways to engage with the issues affecting people in our local community. This event will be an opportunity to highlight the voices of young people.

This conference will explore aspects of a Shared Future and strategies for building a Shared Future with a special emphasis on hearing how young people see this. A ‘Level students of Politics, History and Religious Studies will have conversations with members of Fermanagh Churches Forum on reconciliation issues that have to be addressed as we journey towards a shared and peaceful future.

For more info, please contact: eccgallagher@yahoo.co.uk