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During a study visit on multiculturalism, peace, tolerance and dispute resolution in education, Belfast, Northern Ireland

As part of the Joint UN Programme “Enhancing Interethnic Dialogue and Communication between communities”, UNICEF led a study visit for national policy makers from the Ministry of Education and Science, Bureau for Development of Education, State Educational Inspectorat , municipality representatives and implementing partners to Belfast, Northern Ireland. The study visit took place from 26.09 -02.10.2010. The aim was to learn more about the education system in Northern Ireland with a focus on the national level policies programmes and mechanisms for implementing multiculturalism dispute resolution and peace and tolerance education, and to learn what components  of the programme could be applied in the country. 

An experienced and proven team of professors from Queen’s University, Belfast, were selected to plan the study visit and to provide further in-country capacity development for national and municipal policy makers.

Furthering reconciliation between the Catholic and Protestant communities is one of the strategic goals of the education system in Northern Ireland.

The team met with representatives from across Northern Ireland’s education sector and visited a variety of schools. In addition, there was an opportunity to attend school classes and discuss with the students their views of integrated education and school segregation, as well as to participate in training classes for teachers who would be teaching in an integrated setting.

These meetings and visits gave an insight into the changes and the processes through which Northern Ireland had to undergo in order to overcome the Troubles from 1968 - 1998,  the challenges of the education in divided societies and the efforts to establish an integrated education.

Early in 2011, the national policy makers along with the experts from Queen’s University will work together to develop and implement national policy and programmes related to multiculturalism and conflict resolution, as well as to establish mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of these programmes.

To find out more about the Joint UN programme “Enhancing Inter-ethnic Communication and Dialogue” visit the UN web site at




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