Despite increased international interest in the contribution of education to peacebuilding, there has been a neglect of the role that non-formal youth programming can play in this process. This article examines three such youth programmes in post-accord Northern Ireland through the theoretical lens of their contribution to social, economic and political transformations. Given the sustained context of segregation and limitations of the formal education sector as a mechanism for transformation, the paper argues that the non-formal sector has played an important role in ensuring inclusion of multiple youth perspectives in a divided society. It also raises a number of critical questions regarding the politics of multiple youth representation and the strength of genuine commitment to peacebuilding in terms of conflict transformation.

Author Bio(s)

Christine Smith Ellison is a specialist in education, conflict and international development and Research Associate at the UNESCO Centre, University of Ulster. She undertakes independent research in the area of conflict sensitive policy and education reform processes and aid effectiveness in conflict-affected states. She has also contributed to policy oriented research for a range of donors in the field of youth, education and fragility including GIZ, UNICEF and UNESCO-International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP). She has an MPhil in International Development from the University of Oxford, a first class degree in Anthropology and French from the University of Glasgow and is fluent in French and Spanish. Email: c.smithellison@ulster.ac.uk


conflict transformation, non-formal sector, Northern Ireland, peacebuilding, post-accord transformation, youth representation

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