International IDEA, in collaboration with the Libyan Irish Business Council (LIBC) recently organized last month an intensive 5 day study tour to Northern Ireland for members of the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Committee within the General National Congress (GNC) as well as some government officials.
International IDEA’s main aim with this activity was to promote the exchange of experiences on conflict management and the reconciliation processes and support mutual learning. Northern Ireland was chosen for this study tour due to its long-lasting and important experience in internal conflict, reconciliation and peace building.
Indeed, after long years of violent conflict and many efforts to manage it, the parties in Northern Ireland were able to launch a real reconciliation process through the conclusion of the so called Good Friday Agreements. This huge effort and the accords reached among the “Republicans” and the “Loyalists” have widely opened the doors for a historic process of mutual understanding and accommodation, moving from conflict to nation building.
Through the intense study tour programme the Libyan delegation was able to learn about the various experiences, difficulties and good practices in Northern Ireland.
The program of activities was designed to respond to the demands expressed by various Libyan actors, including the relevant committee of the GNC. The agenda included meetings, discussions and presentations by influential Northern Ireland figures that were, and still are, among the key players contributing to the process of reconciliation and peace building.