This article reviews the empirical data the second author collected from 120 semi-structured interviews with the leaders of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and funding agency development officers conducted during the summer of 2010 in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties. The research explores 44 Derry City respondents' experiences and perceptions regarding external economic aid in the Northern Ireland peace process. To this end, this article explores the role of economic aid from the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) and the European Union (EU) Peace and Reconciliation or Peace 3 Fund in engaging with civil society in transforming psychological and cultural barriers towards building sustainable peace in Londonderry or Derry City. Themes emerged inductively from data. It includes the CSO leaders' and funding agency development officers' perspectives on building peace and both funds' impact on the Northern Ireland peacebuilding process. CSO leaders and funding agency development officers acknowledge the importance of external economic assistance support in development and forging cross-community contact projects. The interviewees also highlighted issues related to political participation, community competitiveness, and psychological barriers that emerge from CSOs working with both programs. Some of the conclusions are related to broadened peace process interventions to a multi-articulated approach that includes different areas of peacebuilding intervention.

Author Bio(s)

Leonardo Luna is a Ph.D. candidate in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Manitoba. He is Professor in the Department of Psychology at Corporación Universitaria Iberoamericana in Colombia. He has worked for NGOs such as Doctor Without Borders, and he is co-founder of the Corporation Collective Participation and Social Research-CPAIS in Colombia. He holds an M.Sc. in Interdisciplinary Social Research from the Francisco José de Caldas University and an M.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) from the University of Manitoba. He is the recipient of a number of scholarships. He is interested in the role of NGOs in peacebuilding, critical and emancipatory peacebuilding, peace psychology, youth peacebuilders, and ethnic communities.

Dr. Sean Byrne is Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies in the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, Arthur V. Mauro Institute for Peace and Justice at St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba. He has won awards for his extensive writing, outreach, and teaching including the 2018 University of Manitoba Teaching Awards Certificate, and the 2017 University of Manitoba’s Excellence in Graduate Student Mentorship Award. He is interested in critical and emancipatory peacebuilding; international peacebuilding; social justice; decolonizing peace; youth and women peacebuilders, and marginalized LGBTTQ*, people living with disabilities; and ethnic communities.


Critical and Emancipatory Peacebuilding, Civil Society Organizations, Cross-Community Peacebuilding, International Fund for Ireland, European Union Peace 3 Fund







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