Dublin, Ireland – Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson and Chancellor of the University was among a panel of international experts to address a public event focusing on peace building and constitutional reform in four post Arab-Spring countries in the Public Theatre, Trinity College Dublin.
The event, organised by the Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI) and the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA), was attended by a delegation of parliamentarians from three North African countries – Tunisia, Libya and Egypt – and Yemen. The delegation visited Ireland to observe the proceedings of the final weekend of the Constitutional Convention in Dublin, with a view to informing constitutional revision and reform in their respective countries.
The event, Identities in Transition – Constitutional Peace Building, hoped to facilitate a broader dialogue on the sensitive issue of peace-building in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region and the work currently ongoing in Africa’s Great Lakes Region and the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework. This work is supported by Mary Robinson, Chancellor of the University, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, Special Envoy to the United Nations Secretary General for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and member of the Eminent Advisory Board of AWEPA.
The experiences of the Northern Ireland Peace Process and what can be gained from the learnings of this pivotal period in history was also discussed. The event was addressed by Hon. Ikbel Msadaa (Tunisia) and Hon. Suliman Zubi (Libya) who discussed the challenges currently being faced in their respective countries during times of political and social upheaval and also the challenges of constitutional reform and the implications this will have both politically and socially during this period.
Tom Arnold, former CEO of Concern Worldwide, Chair of the Convention on the Constitution and member of TIDI’s International Advisory Group, also facilitated a broader dialogue on some of the key issues raised at the event.
Speaking about the event, Professor Martina Hennessy, Chair of TIDI at Trinity said: “TIDI is delighted to partner with AWEPA on this important and timely event, which will facilitate discussion on the very sensitive nature of peace-building. We are delighted that Mrs. Robinson will be sharing the expertise and knowledge on her work in the Great Lakes Region of Africa in her role as UN Special Envoy and how this expertise can be garnered to inform peace-building in the post Arab Spring Era. TIDI have the pleasure of welcoming Irish TDs and Senators from AWEPA to Trinity as well as the delegation of MPs and political representatives from Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen and we hope that the learnings they take from this visit to Ireland will assist them at this important point, as they rewrite and revise their own constitutions.”
Maureen O’Sullivan TD, Head of the AWEPA Irish section, added: “It is so important that we keep the principles and ideals of the Arab Spring on the agenda. We want to support the democratic rights of all peoples in these countries – including respect for minorities and women. We’re delighted to have this opportunity to discuss these issues at a public lecture in Trinity. In 2011, there was so much hope in the countries of the Arab Spring. Where are they now? Have these countries fallen back into violence and reaction? What are the opportunities for peace-building and political stability?”