Resource Page for Teachers
by Lynn and Bob Gillen
St. Anthony Messenger
Curriculum Connections -
This classroom resource guide will support curriculum in:
- Social Studies conflict resolution among nations and states
- History Irish and British relations
Glossary of Basic Terms
Your students may find it helpful first to create a glossary of names and terms
relating to this months article. Definitions can be researched from the article
itself, or from the resource materials cited throughout the resource guide.
|George J. Mitchell
Royal Ulster Constabulary
Republic of Ireland
One The History of Conflict
- Achieving a deeper understanding of the history of the conflict
in Northern Ireland
For us living in the United States, our last experience of a great and violent internal
conflict was the Civil War. For us its now a history lesson. Unfortunately, for many
people around the world, including the citizens of Northern Ireland, violence and internal
strife are a daily way of life. This months Resource Guide will offer your students
an opportunity to learn more about what happens to nations, and to their inhabitants, when
Your students can search the major news services for online information on the peace
agreement in Northern Ireland. They can also use these sites to find up-to-date
information on the situation in Northern Ireland, such as the violence that occurred in
July, during which three young boys were killed. One other good source for a detailed
history of the difficulties in Northern Ireland is the CAIN Web Service (http://cain.ulst.ac.uk). Here youll find:
- Geography of Ireland, including the six counties of Northern Ireland
- Population and statistics
- A list of key events from 1964 till now
- Abstracts of the organizations involved in the conflict and in Irish politics
Statistics of interest will include: In Northern Ireland, 54% of the population is
under 35 years of age; Catholics make up 47% of the total population, while Protestants
and others constitute the remaining majority.
Many of the key events in Northern Irish history date from the emergence
of a civil-rights campaign conducted from 1964 to 1972. Internment of
citizens, the Ulster Workers Council strike and the hunger strikes
of prisoners all led up to the beginnings of the peace process in 1988.
And for a description of Northern Irelands peaceful side, with
tourist-related information, see http://www.interknowledge.com/northern-ireland/index.html.
This is the site of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
Efforts at peace continue to blossom like flowers in a war-torn field. In the town of
Rossnowlagh, County Donegal, in northwest Ireland, there is a symbol of some
residents strong desire for peace. They have initiated a Peace Cairn, a small but
growing tower of stones. Individuals laying a stone on the cairn symbolize the laying down
of a weapon. Ancient cairns have always been burial places. This Peace Cairn is a sign of
the willingness and need to bury violence and hatred.
Do your students know of any local or regional symbols of peace, like the Cairn, that
stand for hope in the midst of violence? Can they create a peace symbol of their own,
relevant to their own needs and community?
- Achieving a broader understanding of conflict among nations and states
The conflict in Northern Ireland is unfortunately but one of many conflicts that
have occurred and are still going on in our world. Today organizations exist that attempt
to study why conflict arises, and how it can be resolved to the satisfaction of all
parties. One such group is INCORE, the Initiative on Conflict Resolution and Ethnicity.
Their Web site can be found at http://www.incore.ulst.ac.uk.
This initiative is the joint effort of the University of Ulster and the United Nations
The British government maintains a Web site that provides services such as identifying
international trouble spots, threats to safety for those who travel on government or
personal business. See http://www.fco.gov.uk for
the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.
The peace process in Northern Ireland has taken a long and arduous 10 years to reach
this historic Agreement, but it is still only a beginning. This months article
describes how many party leaders will still not shake hands or be seen together in the
same room. Your students might like to search for parallels in the peace talks that have
preceded historic peace treaties. The Vietnam Peace Talks took years to unfold. Peace
efforts in the Middle East have been lengthy and difficult. Sometimes assassinations of
political leaders occur as an obstacle to continuing peace talks, such as the killing of
Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt. Or look at the ongoing struggles to bring peace to Bosnia
following the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords.
Your students may find it interesting to note that sometimes pockets of resistance
persist long after a peace settlement. After World War II, some Japanese soldiers on
scattered Pacific islands continued to fight because they never received word of the peace
or because they vowed to fight to the death, regardless of any peace accord. In the United
States, strains of the Civil War can still be heard in pockets of the South. Some of your
older students might enjoy reading Confederates in the Attic, journalist Tony
Horwitzs present-day tour through parts of the South still keeping elements of the
Civil War alive. A war correspondent from Bosnia and other contemporary conflicts, Horwitz
went to the South for a vacation, only to find the Civil War is still a reality in some
towns and areas.
- Reviewing the Mitchell Peace Agreement
Ongoing news of the peace process will be found at the Web site of the Irish Voice (http://www.irishvoice.com).
For a text of the Agreement on Northern Ireland, published in the New
York Times on April 11, 1998, see http://www.MtHolyoke.edu/acad/intrel/paxtext.htm.
Background and facts on the Agreement on Northern Ireland can be
found at http://www.nio.gov.uk/issues.htm
Idea Two Understanding an Individuals Experience of Conflict and
A. Groups that work for peace
The summer "marching season" in Northern Ireland spawns violence
every year. In Christianity Today magazine the article "The
Kids are the Candles" (October 6, 1997) describes a peace program
that sends Northern Irish teens to host families in the United States
to take them away from the troubled summer months. See http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/7tb/7tb076.html.
Like many adults in our society today, large numbers of teenagers will respond to
perceived threat or discomfort with violence. The recent tragic shootings in our schools
are but one example of this trend. Groups have sprung up with the purpose of turning
spontaneous violence into reasoned resolution.
For parallels to situations in American society, a helpful resource is
a videocassette called "Kids
in the Crossfire: Violence in America." Produced by ABC and featuring
Peter Jennings, the video discusses violence among our children in school
and at home.
For a documentation of steps toward conflict resolution, see the information available
Yes, thats the Ben & Jerrys ice cream folks, and they joined with ESR
(Educators for Social Responsibility) of Cambridge, Massachusetts to form an alliance
working for peace among families and schools. Their goal is, through a program called RCCP
(Resolving Conflict Creatively Program), to make schools caring and violence-free. They
offer resources and instruction in conflict resolution and intergroup relations.
In his book, The Eight Essential Steps to Conflict Resolution,
by Dudley Weeks, youll see an outline of the eight steps and the
"Conflict Partnership Process" advocated by Weeks. His goal
is to build mutually beneficial relationships and to resolve conflict
effectively. On the same site, the Conflict Resolution class at Quinebaug
Valley Community-Technical College in Danielson, Connecticut, provides
useful summaries of Weeks work.
B. Individuals who work for peace
Former Senator George Mitchell is certainly an individual peacemaker who makes a
difference. Parallels can be drawn to major historical figures that dedicated their lives
to peace. Your students can research individuals such as: Gandhi of India; Martin Luther
King, Jr. in the Civil Rights Movement; Secretary of State George C. Marshall with his
Marshall Plan following World War II; President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Geneva Peace
Accord to calm the Cold War between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.; or Secretary of State Henry
A. Kissinger and Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam, Nobel Prize winners for their efforts in
ending the Vietnam War.
A gripping story of Irish individuals striving for peace in the midst of
violence can be found in the Dallas Morning News, "Ordinary
People Play Extraordinary Role, Moving Northern Ireland toward Peace,"
dated November 30, 1997.
Further Print Resources
Confederates in the Attic, Tony Horwitz, Pantheon, New York, 1998.
Further Online Resources
Try accessing some of these Internet sources for further reference. Be aware,
however, that some of these sites may charge for downloading articles contained within the
http://www.nytimes.com/ - The New York
http://www.latimes.com/ - Los Angeles
http://www.time.com/ - Time magazine
http://www.cnn.com/ - CNN
http://www.msnbc.com/ - MSNBC
http://www.pathfinder.com/ - This site
will take you to a number of online publications.
http://wire.ap.org/ - The Associated Press
- The Chicago Tribune
http://www.people.com/ - People
http://www.herald.com/ - The Miami
http://www.closeup.org/ - The Close Up
The links contained within this resource guide are functional at the time the page is
posted. Over time, however, some of the links may become ineffective.
These links are provided solely as a convenience to you and not as an endorsement by
St. Anthony Messenger Press/Franciscan Communications of the contents on such third-party
Web sites. St. Anthony Messenger Press/Franciscan Communications is not responsible for
the content of linked third-party sites and does not make any representations regarding
the content or accuracy of materials on such third-party Web sites. If you decide to
access linked third-party Web sites, you do so at your own risk.
The links contained within this resource guide are functional
at the time the page is posted. Over time, however, some of the links
may become ineffective.
These links are provided solely as a convenience to you
and not as an endorsement by St. Anthony Messenger Press/Franciscan
Communications of the contents on such third-party Web sites. St. Anthony
Messenger Press/Franciscan Communications is not responsible for the
content of linked third-party sites and does not make any representations
regarding the content or accuracy of materials on such third-party Web
sites. If you decide to access linked third-party Web sites, you do
so at your own risk.