The Reference Group – An Innovative Peacebuilding Model from Northern Ireland

Sean Feenana

Seán Feenan will offer a lecture highlighting the development and success of the Reference Group as a peacebuilding model. The effort transformed from a discreet dialogue program to an integral part of tackling some of the most difficult issues in the North of Ireland, and today is known for its creation of localized intervention processes at times of heightened stress and violence.

Feenan, the Convenor of the Reference Group, has worked for more than 30 years as a grassroots peacebuilder in the most politically marginalized communities in Northern Ireland. He is particularly skilled at facilitating dialogue and mediation with groups and communities.

The Reference Group brings together individuals from a diverse range of community perspectives, including former combatants and mainstream and dissenting voices from Ulster Loyalism/Irish Republicanism, to engage in a multitude of difficult issues emerging from the conflict. Its work addresses and enables practical peacebuilding within and between grassroots communities in Northern Ireland, while also supporting wider transition pathways for non-state armed groups.

This event takes place within the framework of the Legacy Project at the University of Notre Dame, which seeks to preserve the digital archive of the Colombian Truth Commission, and provide unique sources of testimonies from over 30,000 victims, witnesses and offenders of the 52-year long armed conflict.

Cosponsored by the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Clingen Family Center for the Study of Northern Ireland, and the Lucy Family Institute for Data and Society, with the support of Humanity United.