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New Project launched as part of International Fund for Ireland’s Sharing in Education Programme

Published on:  22 Nov 2011

A new schools project which will encourage cross-community contact between young people in the South East region was launched today by Dr Denis Rooney CBE, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland.

Learning to Live Together, is a three-year project facilitated by the South Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB) and funded by the International Fund for Ireland under its Sharing in Education Programme. It brings together young people aged 11 to 14 from both sides of the community and from counties Antrim and Down, with the aim of encouraging contact and dialogue and promoting positive community relations.

Through a combination of classroom sessions and workshops culminating in a residential course, young people under the guidance of dedicated youth workers, will explore their understanding of prejudice, discrimination, and sectarianism and increase their awareness of different cultures.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Denis Rooney CBE, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said: “The Fund is pleased to be supporting this Project which is a practical demonstration of the Fund’s strategy of promoting peace and reconciliation by enhancing community relations, and promoting reconciliation and sharing.

“We are committed to supporting and facilitating projects that provide opportunities for young people from different community backgrounds to come together to discuss and compare differences and to celebrate diversity. Participants of Learning to Live Together will enjoy a wealth of experiences and I hope they all embrace and enjoy the opportunities this project offers them.”

Stanton Sloan, Chief Executive of SEELB said: “This is a very exciting project which is being funded by the International Fund for Ireland. Staff from schools and the youth service will be working together over the next three years to help pupils develop a greater understanding of their identity within the context of Northern Ireland. By participating in this programme pupils will be able to contribute to the building of a shared future locally and throughout Northern Ireland.

Conor McLarnon, aged 12, from St Colms High School, Twinbrook, said: “I have really enjoyed the Project so far and would rate it 11 out of 10. I think it’s a great opportunity for us to meet other people from different backgrounds and from different communities.”

Chelsea Leigh Swift, aged 12, from Forthill Integrated College, said: “I really like this Project because it is cross community which gives me the opportunity to get to know pupils from St Colms. The teacher and the youth worker are very supportive and I am looking forward to getting to know them better. I am glad I am participating as it is very enjoyable.

The International Fund for Ireland’s Sharing in Education Programme (SiEP) seeks to break down barriers from Northern Ireland’s historic conflict by providing a range of opportunities for young people to learn and work together. To date £16m has been invested in the SiEP which was launched in 2009.

 Click here to download press release 

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