Future leaders and managers within the PUL community are receiving training through an innovative training programme.
The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland STRIPE project is half way through facilitating a certificated course in Leadership and Management in Eglinton aimed at potential community leaders aged between 18 and 35 years of age.
Offered in partnership with Queens University Belfast, the course is running throughout 2014 and is part of a wider programme of learning aimed at helping lead marginalised Protestant communities towards reconciliation by enabling them to understand their identity, evaluate their own experience during the course of the ‘Troubles’ and to understand how mistrust between the two main communities in ‘Ireland’ has undermined good relations. It is hoped it will equip the Protestant community with the ability to engage with others and re-engage as equal partners as Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland move forward.
By create sustainable frameworks and networks amongst participants, it is hoped the training will have a lasting impact on the attitudes and behaviour of Protestant groups, with the ultimate goal of allowing the PUL communities to become comfortable in themselves and move forward with inter-community and cross border reconciliation leadership development and active citizenship. Course content, delivered in three modules, will allow participants to acquire a knowledge of leadership and management approaches, and implementing change and reform.
Presented in a mixture of lectures and seminars, with group work and case studies, there is also a study tour to Scotland to examine parade management and public processions.
STRIPE leadership development officer, Richard Forsythe said in addition to a recognised qualification from Queens University Belfast, students had the opportunity to analyse the concept of leadership and the role that leaders play in initiating and implementing change.
“Students will be encouraged to participate and debate examples that benefit Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland,” he said.
Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Drew Nelson, said: “An exciting part of this project is identifying young leaders, building their capacity and developing their skills so that they can play a full role in shaping society.”
So far students have completed the first of three modules and will resume the course in September following their summer break.
Mr Nelson added: “We look forward to the continuing development and growth of this Eglinton based leadership course in the North West of the Province over the coming months.”
The project is funded by the EU’s Peace and Reconciliation Programme, PEACE III, Theme 1.1, Reconciling Communities: Building Positive Relations at the Local level.