Moakley Chair of Peace and Reconciliation

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Forum for Cities in Transition

The Forum for Cities in Transition is an international network of governmental and nonprofit leaders, academics, students, and the business community. They represent 11 countries across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa and are equally representative of all sides of their civil conflict and religious divides. 

“People in divided societies are in the best position to help people from other divided societies,” states Professor O’Malley. In other words, these former protagonists, often former purveyors of violence and death who abandoned violence to resolve their differences, are best equipped to share their often tentative and difficult journeys to recognizing the necessity to abandon violence as the instrument to achieve their political aims and open the gateways to recovery, reconstruction, and reconciliation. O’Malley believes that, despite their unique conflicts, each city shares ethnic, religious, or nationalist divisions—a commonality that he hopes would benefit all delegations.

The Forum for Cities in Transition method is built on Professor O’Malley’s thirty years of on-the-ground experience in conflict resolution and peace negotiations in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, and other global hot-spots. The Forum’s unique method and process have been expressed in Professor O’Malley’s published research on conflict intervention and rehabilitation in his internationally acclaimed books and journal articles., His practical work- convening conferences helped facilitate a and are most notable for the role they played in Northern Ireland’s 2008 both agreed in Belfast on Good Friday, 10 April 1998Good Friday Agreement/Belfast Agreement.

The annual week-long forum, held in one of the divided cities, has resulted in the implementation of cross-city projects that have delivered new and better municipal services such as mail delivery in East Jerusalem and more intelligent policing in Mitrovica/Kosovo, the formation of women’s advocacy groups in member cities, and an international youth forum that fosters a new generation of international diplomats who are interested in cross-cultural peace building. In each of these activities, the process of working together has improved relations between inter and intra-religious groups at the local and international level in and across member cities.

The Secretariat is shared by the Moakley Chair and the  Northern Ireland Foundation.

Chronology and Participants

 

The Forum for Cities in Transition from conflict maintains a web site that allows the cities interact with each other on both a formal and informal basis. The site is also open to the public, who are invited to visit and participate. http://citiesintransition.net

 

City representatives in a meetingFounding cities Derry/Londonderry (Northern Ireland); Kirkuk (Iraq); Mitrovica South (Albanian majority), Mitrovica North (Serbian majority); representatives of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, Nicosia; and government officials from Belfast (Northern Ireland) were joined by Beiruit (Lebanon); Haifa and Jerusalem (Israel); and Mostar (Bosnia-Hertzegovina). 

 

MGS StaffUMass at work in the Balkans: Cassidy Evans, Jeffrey Range, Pat Peterson, Rima Mahmoud, Padraig O'Malley (FCT Director), Nancy Riordan, Dean Steve Crosby 

 

 

Panel Discussion in MitrovicaThe North and South of Mitrovica come together for a remarkable panel discussion.

April, 2009
Location: UMass Boston

Seeking to duplicate the success of Helsinki II, Professor O’Malley visited the divided city of Mitrovica. Through continued behind-the-scenes dialogue, he convinced them to send high-level delegations to Boston to participate in what would become an historic forum.

After three days of intense discussion and debate, the sessions culminated in a ground-breaking “call to action” agreement founded on principles of respect for individual dignity; for the value of leadership; for human rights, equality, fairness, and the rule of law; and for the value of dialogue. The eight-point agreement affirms the value of city-to-city workshops and a broad, active network of participants. The agreement fulfills Professor O’Malley’s goal by establishing a permanent forum for divided cities to address common problems and draw practical lessons from each other. Each participating city agreed to become a founding member and to seek a way to “host future Forum annual events in their own territories in conjunction with civil society and educational institutions.”

Founding Cities:

• Derry/Londonderry (Northern Ireland)
• Kirkuk (Iraq)
• Mitrovice/Kosovska Mitrovica (Albanian and Serbian majorities in Kosovo)
• Nicosia (Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities)

2010 Conference
Location: Mitrovica, Kosovo

Participating Cities:

• Beiruit (Lebanon)
• Belfast (Northern Ireland)
• Derry/Londonderry (Northern Ireland)
• Haifa and Jerusalem (Israel)
• Kirkuk (Iraq)
• Mitrovica South (Albanian majority) and Mitrovica North (Serbian majority)
• Mostar (Bosnia-Hertzegovina)
• Nicosia (Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities)

2011 Conference
Location: Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Participating Cities:

• Beiruit (Lebanon)
• Belfast (Northern Ireland)
• Derry/Londonderry (Northern Ireland)
• Haifa and Jerusalem (Israel)
• Kirkuk (Iraq)
• Mitte (Berlin, Germany)
• Mitrovica South (Albanian majority) and Mitrovica North (Serbian majority)
• Mostar (Bosnia-Hertzegovina)
• Nicosia (Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities)
• Ramallah (Palestine)

2012 Conference
Location: Kirkuk, Iraq

Participating Cities:

• Baghdad (Iraq)
• Belfast (Northern Ireland)
• Derry-Londonderry (Northern Ireland)
• Kaduna, (Nigeria)
• Kirkuk (Iraq)
• Mitrovica (Kosovo)
• Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
• Nicosia (Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities)
• Ramallah (Palestine)
• Tripoli (Lebanon)

Read news story about this conference.

2013 Conference
Location: Kaduna, Nigeria

Participating Cities:

• Baghdad (Iraq)
• Belfast (Northern Ireland)
• Derry-Londonderry (Northern Ireland)
• Kaduna (Nigeria)
• Haifa and Jerusalem (Israel)
• Kirkuk (Iraq)
• Mitte (Berlin, Germany)
• Mitrovica/Kosovska and Mitrovicë (Kosovo)
• Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
• Sarajevo and Srebrenica (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
• Tripoli (Lebanon)
• Ramallah (Palestine)

Read news story about this conference.

2014 Conference
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland


Participating Cities: TBA


Read more about O'Malley's career as a convener/facilitator Read More 

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