Terry Waite to address ‘Faithful Peacebuilding’ conference in Belfast

26 Mar 2015

The Irish Churches’ Peace Project (ICPP) is hosting a two-day international conference which opens this afternoon entitled ‘Faithful Peacebuilding’.  You are invited to send a representative.  Please note that a conference photographer will be available to provide pictures to media and a photocall will take place tomorrow morning.  Details are as follows:

Venue                        Hilton Belfast Templepatrick, Castle Upton Estate, Antrim

Time and date            From 5.30pm today Thursday 26 March until 4.30pm Friday 27 March 2015

Keynote speakers     Mr Terry Waite CBE, Rev Dr Johnston McMaster, Rev Emmanuel Murangira (please note that there has been a change from the original speaker line-up and Dr Jörg Lüer has been replaced by Rev Dr McMaster).

Photo opportunity     A photo-call with Church leaders will take place at 9.30am on Friday 27 March, and in attendance will be:

  • Archbishop Richard Clarke, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh
  • Bishop Donal McKeown (representing Archbishop Eamon Martin), Catholic Bishop of Derry and chair of the Irish Churches’ Peace Project
  • Rev Peter Murray, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland
  • Rt Rev Dr Michael Barry, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
  • Rev Dr Donald Watts, President of the Irish Council of Churches

Conference details

Twitter hastags for the conference are #faithpeacebuilding and #icpp, and ‘The Irish Churches Peace Project’ can also be found on Facebook.  The conference will be opened today by Bishop McKeown and Rev Dr Watts.  Speaking ahead of the conference Bishop McKeown said, “Since the launch of the Irish Churches’ Peace Project in 2013, this initiative has energised our local church communities and brought to the fore strong examples of best practice in the contribution of churches to the vital work of promoting reconciliation and addressing remaining obstacles to peace in Northern Ireland.  This conference provides a valuable opportunity to reflect on that learning, and to challenge ourselves on the basis of the international experience and insights offered by our distinguished keynote speakers.”

In attendance will be Church leaders and 150 participants from across Northern Ireland who are currently taking part in the work of the Irish Churches’ Peace Project.  The three main sessions consist of international perspectives on peace-building and reconciliation, followed by discussion of the learning in the context of the work of ICPP:

  1. Personal and Corporate Journeys in Reconciliation, 26 March at 7.00pm.

Rev Emmanuel Murangira will speak about his experience of peace-building work with Church-based organisations in Rwanda.  A Rwandan refugee, born in Burundi, Rev Murangira was born in a refugee camp and his family experienced displacement several times throughout the course of his childhood.  He now works with Tearfund on issues of development and reconciliation in Rwanda and Burundi.

  1. The Role of the Churches in Healing Historic Divisions, 27 March at 9.45am.

Rev Dr Johnston McMaster is adjunct Professor with the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin, and Belfast. He is currently senior researcher with the ethical and shared remembering project at The Junction, Derry/Londonderry.  Dr McMaster has been involved in the development of a community education programme for Northern Ireland and the border counties.  He has lectured in Eastern Europe, Sri Lanka, South Korea and the USA and has been involved in the development of inter-church fora in Northern Ireland.  He has also been engaged as consultant with statutory and voluntary sectors in Northern Ireland and chairs a number of initiatives as well as working collaboratively with community relations networks.

  1. Reconciliation – a Challenge to, and central calling for, the Churches, 27 March at 3.15pm.

This theme will be addressed by Mr Terry Waite CBE, hostage negotiator, humanitarian and author.  Mr Waite will draw on his extensive experience as a diplomat and a humanitarian.  He garnered international recognition in the 1980s when, serving as a special envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury, he successfully negotiated the release of hostages in Iran and Libya.  In 1987, while negotiating the release of hostages in Beirut, he himself was taken hostage.  In captivity for 1,763 days (four years of which were in solitary confinement), he was chained to a wall, often left in darkness, beaten and subjected to mock executions.


Notes for Editors

  • The Irish Churches’ Peace Project, launched in 2013, is an initiative of the island’s four largest churches: Catholic, Presbyterian, Church of Ireland, Methodist; and the Irish Council of Churches.  The Irish Council of Churches vision is to build a peaceful and stable society, with a better and shared future.  The Irish Churches’ Peace Project seeks to promote reconciliation in our communities through the Churches working together for the transformation of Northern Ireland and the border region.  The ICPP is a £1.3m programme funded through the EU’s PEACE III Programme which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.  Additional funding is being provided by the Northern Ireland Executive through the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister and by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government of the Government of Ireland.  The project will run until June 2015.
  • Media can contact conference photographer Brian Morrison from (RoI)/(NI)  048/028 90657494 or +44 (0) 7710940115 to obtain photographs for publication

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444