The commercials, promoting integration as the best way to move towards a peaceful future for Northern Ireland, form one plank of a campaign – “Be Stronger Together” – which also involves press adverts and a poster in Belfast city centre. Students at three integrated schools posed for the photographs.
Liam travelled to a sound studio in New York to record the script, before heading off to Canada for his latest movie project. The Ballymena-born actor, known for his roles in Star Wars, Michael Collins, and Schindler’s List and as the voice of Aslan in the Narnia films, has been an advocate of integrated education for many years and has said that integrated schools should be the first step to “end the cycle of hate and fear which has prevailed in Northern Ireland”.
Pupils from Lough View Integrated Primary School hosted visitors from Priory Integrated College and Lagan College when they all got together for the photo shoot in January. It was a long day – the students got to see that the life of a model is not all glamour! – but the IEF team kept them occupied with games and chat during the long periods of waiting whilst the creative team from RLA advertising got to work. The end results are something to be proud of, and we are grateful to the children and teenagers who helped in this important project, getting the message across that students flourish when they learn in a culture which celebrates and nurtures all traditions together. The young people also recorded a video message of thanks to send to Liam Neeson.
The advertising campaign is designed to inspire parents to find out more about integration, alerting the public to a new internet microsite – www.bestrongertogether.org.uk– which will offer information on the transformation process and other IEF grants for cross-community work by schools. There are also details of how people can get involved by donating or raising funds for the IEF.
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