Jerusalem and Belfast are both affected by an inflammatory conflict with ethno-national, religious, and territorial dimensions. This conflict has affected local residents’ daily lives and impacted the political sphere at the national level. However, while the future of Jerusalem is uncertain, Belfast reached a settlement almost two decades ago, that, although didn’t solve the conflict, has transformed the situation to one of stability and dignity.
This program aims to deliver lessons from other cases of divided cities, with a special focus on the Belfast experience, to local activists in Jerusalem. Though it does not carry the ambition of conflict resolution, this initiative could equip activists from both sides with the knowledge and tools needed to reach a consensus.
The program aims not only to benefit the participants but also the population of Jerusalem at large. Indeed, as all participants are politically active Jerusalemites, with equal numbers from the East and the West, it is expected that this experience will engender a local inter-community partnership that will enhance mutual respect, encourage social diversity and dialogue, and inspire creative, cooperative approaches to addressing the problems in the city.
This group gathered in four meetings, followed by a four-day trip to Belfast. This trip exposed the participants to the city of Belfast and to local lessons on conflict transformation. On June 7th, there will be a concluding forum aimed at analyzing similarities and differences between the two cases and identifying takeaways that may be useful in the Jerusalem context, while creating a network of activists between Jerusalem and Belfast. Prior to the forum, you can read through the summary of the project.
Pictures from the Belfast Forum (May 2017)