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 will gather in four meetings, followed by a four-day trip to Belfast. This trip will expose the participants to the city of Belfast and to local lessons on conflict transformation. After the trip, there will be concluding activities 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.
Pictures from the Belfast Forum (May 2017)