Queen’s University has announced that the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins visit the campus this Thursday evening, October 23. President Higgins will be Guest of Honour at an event in the Riddel Hall at Queen’s to launch Remembering, Forgiving and Forgetting, an event the following day, at which members of the public are being invited to discuss the balance between remembering, forgiving and forgetting the past.

President Higgins will deliver a keynote address on Thursday evening on the theme of Remembering, Forgiving and Forgetting. During the event, the newly appointed Leader of the Corrymeela Community, Poet Pádraig Ó Tuama will also recite from his canon of work.

Remembering, Forgiving and Forgetting is a free event this Friday in The Great Hall at Queen’s, organised by the University’s Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice, and forms part of the University’s commitment to civic engagement through the Civic Conversations at Queen’s programme.

Academics from the Institute are encouraging members of the public to register and join in the discussion on Remembering, Forgiving and Forgetting, which has been created in partnership with The Corrymeela Community, the Community Relations Council, Reconciliation Fund of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and the Compromise After Conflict Research Programme from the Leverhulme Trust.

Speakers will be those who have direct experience of these three themes from societies emerging out of conflict across the world, including Colin Parry OBE, founder of The Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace who will address forgiveness; Professor Thomas Brudholm, University of Copenhagen, a leading academic on the Holocaust, who will address remembering and Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, University of Free State, who served on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and who will address forgetting.

The morning lectures will be chaired by Bronagh Hinds, from DemocraShe, a community development and peace group based in Belfast. In the afternoon, the BBC’s William Crawley will chair a panel discussion consisting of Jude Collins, journalist; Rev John Dunlop, former Moderator of Presbyterian Church in Ireland; Paul Gallagher, Victim and Survivor Group; Alistair Little, Beyond Walls Project; Dawn Purvis, Healing Through Remembering Project; and Jennifer McNern, Victim and Survivor Group. The event will close with some final reflections from Rev Lesley Carroll, a member of the Eames-Bradley Consultative Group on the Past, and Susan McEwan, from Corrymeela.

Speaking ahead of the visit by President Higgins, Queen’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Patrick Johnston said: “President Higgins is recognised around the world for his work in the promotion of peace and democracy. He has been a keen supporter of universities and their role in working towards the elimination of inequality and securing a prosperous and peaceful future for societies. We are therefore deeply honoured that he has agreed to join us at Queen’s to launch the second of our Civic Conversation events.

“The Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice (ICTSJ), symbolises Queen’s commitment to supporting positive change in society and providing an arena in which our legacy issues can be openly discussed,” he added.

Professor John Brewer from Queen’s ICTSJ has organised the Remembering, forgiving and forgetting event: “We are delighted President Higgins is joining us to launch our event. It is an important endorsement of our Civic Conversations at Queen’s programme and its importance for all those who wish to have their voices heard on legacy issues in a non-political and wholly civic arena.

“When we come to realise that learning to live together is not automatic and does not follow naturally once violence has ended, managing the problems legacy issues cause becomes vital to stabilising our community and to progressing healing and reconciliation in society. At Queen’s we are proud that we can facilitate and encourage that process,” he added.

The Remembering, Forgiving and Forgetting this Friday in The Great Hall is free and open to all with refreshments provided. Pre-registration is required and participants can register at http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/isctsj/


Lauren Harte

Lauren Harte

Our roving journo, Lauren Harte, reports on the 'latest' and 'greatest' guests to attend Queen's University Belfast!
Lauren Harte