Divided Cities Forum
From Jerusalem to Belfast
Like Jerusalem, Belfast was affected by multidimensional conflict on the grounds of ethnicity/nationality, religion and territory. IPCRI established the Jerusalem Belfast Forum to connect British and Irish diplomats with politically active Jerusalemites in order to use Ireland’s peace-building and reconciliation history as a model for a cooperative future between Israelis and Palestinians. The program includes workshops held in Jerusalem teaching about Belfast and the Northern Irish conflict as well as a study trip to Belfast. During the trip, participants meet with local activists, city council members, religious leaders, and civil society in order to gain insights into the nature of the conflict.
IPCRI prioritizes diversity among participants, particularly the inclusion of women and balanced composition of West and East Jerusalemites. The aim is that through the engagement in this project, participants on both sides of the conflict will be motivated to engage in dialogue conducive to sustainable peace. The participants will learn the best practices regarding national conflict and divided urban settings, while also being in dialogue with one another. By the end of the project, participants will have built relationships within the forum leading to future partnerships and initiatives to address the problems in Jerusalem.
From Jerusalem to Nicosia
IPCRI and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) invited a group of Palestinian and Israeli experts on Jerusalem to learn from the experience of Nicosia, Cyprus. Led by Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin, an expert on conflict comparisons, the goal was to learn about potential solutions for divided cities and comparative lessons from another conflict.
As part of the project, the delegation visited Nicosia to examine the reality on the ground. They met with representatives of the civil society on both sides and learned about attempts to solve the conflict in Cyprus. After the trip, participants shared their insights, impressions and lessons learned in an open panel discussion. The context of Nicosia taught participants that peace initiatives may need to come from professionals who cooperate around specific topics, such as urban planning, since the political leadership has not been able to produce solutions. Participants came up with ideas how to put this into practice in the Jerusalem context, by transforming two abandoned spaces in Jerusalem through a cooperate project between Israelis and Palestinians.