Pre-College Programs
Global Programs: Ireland

Global Programs: Northern Ireland | Course Details

Leadership and Conflict Resolution: Northern Ireland and Beyond


Students will enroll in Leadership and Conflict Resolution: Northern Ireland and Beyond  (CRN:  10627)

Northern Ireland has been the site of tremendous polarization and violence over the past several decades, but also the site of remarkable efforts at conflict resolution and peacebuilding.  It therefore provides students with a unique context for examining both the dynamics of conflict and strategies for its peaceful transformation.  

This two-week course in Ballycastle and Belfast, Northern Ireland, will explore these dynamics and strategies from multiple perspectives, drawing on the fields of conflict resolution/transformation. Guest lectures by local activists, politicians, religious leaders, former militants, artists, businesspeople, and others, as well as visits to sites with symbolic or institutional importance to the conflict and its transformation—such as Derry/Londonderry (site of the Bloody Sunday protests), divided Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods in Belfast, and Stormont (site of the Northern Ireland Assembly)—will bring to the surface both key areas of progress and on-going issues of contention.  In addition to course discussions, guest speakers, field trips, small-group activities, role-plays, short written assignments, and presentations, we will use poems, plays, short stories, and films as media through which to inhabit multiple perspectives of the conflict and thereby gain a greater appreciation for its complexity and human dimension.

The course will be divided into roughly two week-long modules. The first week will be in Ballycastle at The Corrymeela Centre for peace and reconciliation, followed by a week in Belfast at Queen’s University.

Week OneBallycastle, The Corrymeela Centre

Introduction to leadership qualities, conflict analysis and conflict resolution skills: active listening and feedback, negotiation, and mediation. Students will gain conceptual frameworks and tools not only for thinking about the Northern Ireland case but also for addressing conflict in their own lives.  

Week Two – Belfast, Queen’s University

Use the Northern Ireland case to ground the conflict theory gained in the first module and to bring out, following the historical trajectory of the Northern Ireland conflict, additional topics in the broader field of conflict transformation: violent and nonviolent struggle, paramilitary activities, cycles of violence, conflict management,  and longer-term peacebuilding processes (DDR, institutional/structural reforms, restorative justice, inter-communal commercial enterprises, etc.). 

Global Programs: Northern Ireland

Field Trips


Students will spend a day in Derry/Londonderry, a city about an hour and a half northwest of Belfast and the site of several formative events during the early years of the Troubles, as the most violent years of Northern Ireland’s conflict are often called. The city’s name itself illustrates the Republican/Unionist tensions that persist in Northern Ireland, with most Republicans preferring the name Derry and most Unionists preferring the name Londonderry. In 1969, the city was the site of the famed Battle of the Bogside, which is often credited with marking the beginning of the Troubles. A few years later, in 1972, the city’s vibrant civil rights movement met with violent repression during what has come to be known as Bloody Sunday: thirteen unarmed protesters were killed by British troops there to quell the protest. This moment—and what it says about conflict and the dynamics of nonviolent struggle—will be the focus of our visit to Derry/Londonderry, as we speak with local activists intimately familiar with that part of the city’s history and visit the neighborhood where the protest occurred.

Daily Schedule

Leadership and Conflict Resolution in Northern Ireland

Break and Lunch

Leadership and Conflict Resolution in Northern Ireland

Guest Lectures/Site Visits


Group and Cultural Activities

Study Hall

Program details »