In a few short weeks, religious, education and civic leaders from around the world will gather in Belfast, Northern Ireland for the four-day Peace Learning Program, a collaborative initiative by Co-operation Ireland and the Global Peace Foundation. Participants will explore topics such as community-driven peacebuilding and learning and the role of social media, concluding with sharing best practices at the International Peacebuilding Forum.
This forum is a rare opportunity for international leaders to share best practices in mitigating identity-based conflicts and building youth resiliency and to learn from experts in the field such as Dr. Alan Largey, Program Manager at Co-operation Ireland. Dr. Largey has dedicated many years in bringing together various communities in Northern Ireland and has a wealth of wisdom to share with the participants for the upcoming program.
Dr. Largey’s unique educational background in psychology, computer science, and education prepared him well to work in the education field and focus on enhancing the teaching environment through computers and information technology. During the peak of the violent sectarian conflict known as “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland, he taught in an inner-city school where the students suffered greatly from the effects of on-going violence.
After working in education for nearly 30 years, Dr. Largey joined Co-operation Ireland where he has managed several projects around community engagement and capacity building including his current role as Program Manager of the LEGaSi project. This project is one of many within Co-operation Ireland’s projects focused on conflict resolution in carrying out the nonprofit organization’s vision of creating “a peaceful and stable island where people of all backgrounds live and work together for a better future.”
Dr. Largey is currently working to strengthen communities by empowering “potential influencers” within Protestant Unionist Loyalist (PUL) areas in Northern Island by directing them to skills development opportunities that will empower them to be agents of change in their communities. Additionally, Dr. Largey has contributed to Global Peace Foundation’s pilot program, Cross-Community Engagement in Jersey City, New Jersey. This program focuses on youth leadership development as a way to combat violence and extremism, a program very much aligned to his work in Northern Ireland.
With his experience in peace and reconciliation during a painful and challenging period in Northern Ireland’s recent history, Dr. Largey will have much to share about the ongoing healing and community-building process occurring in post-conflict years in the upcoming program in Belfast.