We look forward to seeing you in Boston!  Please find the conference line-up below.   We are working hard to create opportunities for discussion and relationship building.  We hope that by prioritizing “conversations” versus “panels” & participants rather than “panelists.” 


Day One | Tuesday, 10 October 2023
Tsai Performance Center
First Floor, BU College of Arts and Sciences
685 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

4:00PM              Welcome Remarks
Remarks by Joe Kennedy III,  U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland for Economic Affairs
“Why Grassroots and Gendered?” a welcome from Conference Organizers, Sandra McEvoy, Clinical Associate Professor of Political Science & Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies and Debbie Watters, O.B.E., Co-Director, Northern Ireland Alternatives.

4:30PM              Keynote Address
“The impact of conflict and the role of women in peace building in Northern Ireland and beyond.”
Monica McWilliams, Professor Emerita, Ulster University and Co-Founder of The Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition.

5:00PM              Roundtable Discussion
Monica McWilliams joined by Avila Kilmurray, Debbie Watters, Anne Pendleton (CRJ), Julie Davidson (ACT), Máirín Martin, Ballinamore Area Community Council and facilitated by Prof Sandra McEvoy 

5:45PM               Closing remarks
Andrew Elliot, Director/Counsellor, Northern Ireland Bureau


Day Two | Wednesday, 11 October 2023
Metcalf Ballroom
Second Floor, George Sherman Union
775 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

8:00AM                Registration
Coffee, Tea and Pastries will be available.

9:00AM                Welcome from Conference Organizers Sandra McEvoy and Debbie Watters

9:15AM                 ’12 Feminist Lessons of War’
Cynthia Enloe, Clark University

10:30AM              Conversation I Trauma and Healing: Grassroots Solutions
In any conflict, the need to address ongoing issues of legacy, trauma and healing is central to reconciliation. This Panel will explore these issues from a human perspective including methodologies and approaches that work at the grassroots.

12:00PM               Lunch
Grab-and-go lunch is available for registered attendees.

1:15PM                  Conversation II: Social Justice and Policing: Who is Serving Whom?
As part of the GFA, Northern Ireland underwent a strategic programme of policing reform. This Programme changed the policing architecture and placed a focus on accountability; human rights, representation and a change in style of policing. This Panel will explore the successes, challenges and lessons for other regions including international models of good practice.

3:30PM                 Conversation III: Restorative Justice and Conflict Transformation
Restorative Justice/Practice has been used extensively in Northern Ireland and globally to address issues of violence in contested spaces. This Panel will explore the role of restorative justice and how this approach can help address issues of legacy, conflict, fragmented relationships and build civic society.

5:00PM                 Closing Thoughts for the Day – Looking to Tomorrow


Day Three | Thursday, 12 October  2023
Metcalf Ballroom
Second Floor, George Sherman Union
775 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

8:00AM                Registration
Coffee, Tea and Pastries will be available.

9:00AM                Opening Conversation IV: Gender, Civic Society and Peacebuilding: Dispatches from the Ground
It is widely accepted that the role of women in any process of peace-building is very important but often undervalued and underrepresented. This Conversation  explorea in detail the role of women, both in the Northern Ireland context and beyond – in developing and nurturing civic society processes that underpins the development and growth of peace-building.

10:45AM              Conversation V: In conflict, who suffers most?
It is globally accepted that in countries dealing with the ongoing legacy of conflict, socially economically deprived communities are disproportionately impacted. This Conversation explores how conflict in contested spaces plays out in poorer communities with a specific focus on educational under attainment, health, housing and the disconnect between policy and lived experience.

12:00PM               Lunch
Grab-and-go lunch is available for registered attendees.

1:15PM                 Conversation VI: Framing Narratives: Sectarianism, Racism and Displacement
This Conversation will explore identity through an intersectional lens and how the impact of these key themes disproportionately affects socially disadvantaged communities. The speakers come from a range of backgrounds and will reflect predominately on the grassroots Northern Ireland but include contexts outside of Western Europe and the U.S.

3:00PM                Conversation VII: Lyra (2022) Screening and Discussion
Please join us for an abbreviated screening of the documentary film Lyra (2022). Lyra traces the brief life of Lyra McKee, an investigative journalist in Northern Ireland who was murdered by Dissident Republicans in 2021.  Lyra’s sister, Nicola, will join us and discuss Lyra’s legacy.

4:15PM                Conference Closure and Committments 

4:30PM-6pm     Northern Ireland Bureau Reception / George Sherman Union