Actor Adrian Dunbar has been a long-time supporter and advocate for Integrated Education in Northern Ireland as evidenced by his recent activity. For years, Adrian has been a friend to the IEF, visiting schools and appearing at events.
In a video interview he made during a visit to Rowandale Integrated Primary School give a boost to the school’s fundraising efforts in 2010, Adrian said;
“I have always felt that children being educated together and sitting beside each other at school was surely the first step for a healthy society…..
…..“It’s much easier to demonize a section of the community if you don’t know anything about them.”
View the video below to see Adrian’s interview in full.
In June this year, Adrian addressed around 60 business, arts, media and political figures gathered at a summer drinks reception for the Integrated Education Fund in London.
At the event Adrian said
“There are thousands of organisations that are funded to try to bring children together when actually all that money could be going into an integrated education system.”
Adrian hit back at politicians who are ‘resistant’ to integrated education adding
“If we want to heal society in Northern Ireland then integrated education would be the norm; sadly it’s not. There’s huge resistance to it from various parties and the people who are advocating a two-strand education system have a vested interest in the state of NI being split.”
In a recent interview for the Sunday Times Adrian said;
“Integrated education should be the norm – I’m passionate about that. The current system doesn’t make any sense.
“You can’t make someone fear another person if they shared a desk for seven years.
Speaking to the Fermanagh Herald on a brief visit to his hometown of Enniskillen, he said
“The separation of children in two education systems has a physical and psychological impact.
“It’s very hard to get beyond thinking that you are separate if you are separated at such an early age. Many people want their children to be educated in an integrated way and don’t want them to go to an entirely faith-based school while there are others who prefer that system. We believe that people should be allowed to be educated where they want and integrated education should be the norm.
“We spend millions of pounds separating children at the age of five to then spend millions trying to tell them that they are the same at 16. It’s a bit dysfunctional and if you want to invent a dysfunctional society that’s what you do. To split people’s education on religious grounds is a wicked thing to do to any society.”
The Fund is very grateful to Adrian, and to all our high-profile supporters who spread the word about our work and about the importance of integrated education in Northern Ireland. You can see pictures of some of the friends of the IEF in our picture gallery here.
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