Reconciliation: Does education have a role?

Alan Smith, Clare Magill

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This article examines the findings from a recent study conducted by the UNESCO Centre, University of Ulster.1 The study, undertaken between January 2007 and May 2009, focused on two post-conflict contexts - Northern Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) - and was funded by the European Union’s Peace and Reconciliation Programme (Peace II Extension) under Measure 2.1, ‘Outward and Forward Looking Region’. In total, 91 children and young people were interviewed in both Northern Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The cohort comprised children and young people aged 11, 16-18 and 24-25 years.The aim was to explore, in a comparative way, children and young people’s experience of conflict in their region (the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland and the 1992-1995 war in BiH); their awareness and understanding of the conflict and where this awareness came from; their concepts of reconciliation; and views on the role of education in reconciliation. This article looks mainly at the findings from Northern Ireland. It considers how these findings fit into the current debate around ‘dealing with the past’, with particular reference to the Report of the Consultative Group on the Past, and concludes with a number of policy recommendations emerging from the research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-15
JournalShared Space
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Oct 2009


  • education reconciliation Northern Ireland Bosnia


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