Welcome to the blog for the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building’s Fellowship Programme.

Our blog contains the personal reflections and thoughts of our wonderful Fellows, gleamed throughout their tenure at the Fellowship Programme. We invite you to have a read, and engage with the thought-provoking discussions being held by the future of Northern Ireland, today.

609, 2022

Twenty-five leaders from politics, business and civic society in Northern Ireland unveiled for prestigious Fellowship

By |6 September 2022|Categories: Blog|

For the last week I have watched, as countless others have, the scenes which have unfolded across Europe and in Ukraine. Watching in horror as the Russian armies gathered at the border, then in disbelief as President Putin gave the order to commence the invasion of Ukraine.

1402, 2022

An Election of Possibility – Is it Possible?

By |14 February 2022|Categories: Dominic O'Reilly|

Growing up in my family, my parents raised each of my brother and sisters and I with an openness to healthy debate and discussion. More often than not, this involved Mass together on a Sunday, and when we would come home and enjoy a fry together, we would discuss and at times debate what the priest had said in their sermon that morning.

1002, 2022

The Need for a Shared Healing

By |10 February 2022|Categories: Dominic O'Reilly|

The last few years have been incredibly turbulent within Northern Ireland, or the north, or simply put, the place we call home. The process and eventual vote in favor of Brexit took divisions that had previously existed and exploited them. Instead of softening old wounds, the process of Brexit used words to rub salt in them and created fear of new ones.

1512, 2021

May your choices reflect your hopes. Not your fears

By |15 December 2021|Categories: Michelle Canning|

Where are the women? That’s a fundamental question that dominates a significant part of my thinking. And it was ever-present during my time as one of the twenty-two inaugural Fellows of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building (CDPB) Fellowship Programme for political and civic leaders in NI, when I considered our make-up, agency, discourse and purpose.

1011, 2021

The hand forced by change, is sometimes the best hand to hold

By |10 November 2021|Categories: Brian Donaldson|

Two years ago, my daily challenge was figuring out how I could elevate the simple mushroom, or blend local produce into something that would have food critics saying that I was good at my job. It is an art form that is often underappreciated. Every person that you produce food for has a different palate, a completely different take on what you are trying to achieve to bring them endless joy throughout the journey of a dining experience. The hardest days come when you fail at that task and get the dreaded complaint, an unhappy customer, someone who you could not please even though you had done exactly what you thought was correct, effectively your red line.

911, 2021

Change is the Only Constant

By |9 November 2021|Categories: Dominic O'Reilly|

Since taking my first tentative steps into the CDPB Fellowship Programme back in September, I have found myself developing and growing in ways which I had not anticipated; learning and unlearning, challenging, and validating, prejudice and trust. The more I grow, the more I seek to apply new systems into my own life. With every one of these systems that we apply there will be one singular constant: Change. An ironic suggestion, yet there it is - change is the only constant.

211, 2021

Patience and Persistence: A Lesson in Leadership from Professor Monica McWilliams

By |2 November 2021|Categories: Dominic O'Reilly|

"The world needs a mother, and when it finds one it rests at her feet." I have absolutely no idea who spoke these words, but I recall seeing them in a short film some years ago and they stayed with me. I loved the sense of sitting at the feet of your mother, listening to her, and learning from her. It is a dynamic that I have enjoyed with her and other women in my life - be they familial, friendly, or professional. In all my relationships I remain, in many ways, a child at heart - eagerly listening, and always learning.

2610, 2021

Leading with Empathy – Finding a Third Way in a Binary Age

By |26 October 2021|Categories: Dominic O'Reilly|

A prince wanted to find a maiden suitable to be his queen. One day while running an errand in the local village for his father, he passed through the poorest neighbourhood. As he glanced out the windows of the carriage, his eyes fell upon a beautiful peasant maiden. During the ensuing days he often passed by the young lady and soon fell in love.

2610, 2021

Its not as easy as some of us think

By |26 October 2021|Categories: Brian Donaldson|

Last week we had the privilege of another session with the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building’s Fellowship Program with insightful contributions from world class speakers once again. Sometimes you must pinch yourself to realise how fortunate you are to have the honour of being in the presence of these people.

1310, 2021

Unlearning and Discovery – Moving from Prejudice to Trust

By |13 October 2021|Categories: Dominic O'Reilly|

The last few years have been a time of profound learning for me. The more I have become involved in the political realm, whether through work or activism, the more I have found myself asking what are the core tenets to which I adhere. What is my Guiding Star? Over time, reflection, discussion and the many experiences of life I have been drawn to one inexorable principle: nonviolence.

3009, 2021

Between the Head, Heart and Hands – Where Leadership Resides

By |30 September 2021|Categories: Dominic O'Reilly|

Growing up as an avid reader, an author who left an indelible impression on me was the great JRR Tolkien. So much so that in my penultimate year at school I spent more time reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings than studying - managing to fail an academic subject in the process!

2709, 2021

NI Patriots?

By |27 September 2021|Categories: Brian Donaldson|

After a week of challenging questions and differing views it struck me that sometimes labels can confuse people more than anything else. In a question session at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford, we were asked what the difference is between ‘nationalism’ and ‘patriotism’. This seems a simple enough question until you start to break it down and find that the waters are not as clear as one would first expect.

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