In less than a month, Saint Mary’s University students will be representing the Arts, Commerce, Graduate Studies, and Science faculties in “post-conflict” Northern Ireland where they will be receiving real-life experiences facilitating conflict resolution and peace education internationally.
The thirteenth annual Northern Ireland Conflict Resolution Project works in partnership with Saint Mary’s University and local non-profit Peaceful Schools International (PSI), to provide students with international volunteer experiences. PSI is an organization that aims to create a global network of peaceful schools. More specifically, this February, seventeen Saint Mary’s University will be traveling to Belfast, Northern Ireland to facilitate peace education and conflict resolution workshops in Catholic (Maintained), Protestant (State), Irish (Medium), and Integrated schools respectively.
These workshops, are designed for children between the ages of 6 to 16, and they promote the development of conflict resolution skills in an attempt to support a culture of peace among Northern Ireland’s children and youth. The sessions are titled Sharing Being Unique and will be focused on peace education generally, with a specific emphasis on understanding and appreciating diversity.
Prior to departure for Northern Ireland, Saint Mary’s students will be facilitating these same peace education workshops at local schools; including Inglis Street Elementary, Saint Catherine’s Elementary, St. Mary’s Elementary, Sacred Heart School of Halifax, Halifax Independent School, and Halifax Grammar School. This particular aspect of the program underscores the project’s commitment to supporting children living within our local community first and ensures we are working to promote the importance of peace education locally as well as internationally.
Moreover, in addition to conflict resolution training the students involved in this project organize a substantial amount of fundraising initiatives to help cover the costs of return airfare, travel within Northern Ireland, project materials, and accommodations. The fundraising aspect of this project allows students to bond prior to traveling overseas.
Check out some student testimonials from previous years!
“In the ten days that we were there, I had the opportunity to learn firsthand what I had been studying for the past six months- and that is what Saint Mary’s University provides to students. I developed a huge amount of compassion by learning what I travelled there to teach- empathy. It is one thing to study a cultural dynamic based on documentaries, scientific journals, and more, but it is another to actually travel there and have human contact with those that have been affected firsthand. Thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime.”
“My experience with PSI has opened my worldview, expanded my understanding and provided me with new opportunities. I cannot speak highly enough of the program having worked with them and having witnessed firsthand their dynamic reach to troubled communities. Every expectation was not only met, but exceeded and the beautiful city of Belfast, filled with people who embraced us so warmly has left an irrevocable imprint on my life.”
“The experience to me will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable opportunities of my undergrad and the time I likely learned the most. The opportunity to travel with a group of truly amazing people, work together and learn from one another isn’t something easily found. Throughout the experience I have noticed my desire to think critically about these issues has really grown. I would recommend anyone interested to pursue it, and anyone else to look for similar opportunities or to create their own. You learn a lot more about yourself when given the opportunity to teach others, to broaden your comfort zones and to travel. The trip to Belfast was all that and so much more.”
If you would like to provide financial support to the students traveling to Belfast, Northern Ireland this year please find our GoFundMe Peaceful Schools International link below!
To learn more about Peaceful Schools International please visit or contact!
To learn more about local and international peace projects or how you can be involved in the future Northern Ireland Conflict Resolution Projects please contact Meagan.
Peaceful Schools International