Belfast City Councillors have unanimously congratulated the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) and the NI Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) on their nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize 2019.
This follows a similar vote at Derry City and Strabane District Council last week, when politicians from Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance, DUP, UUP, People before Profit, Aontú and Independents all supported the motion that the council:
“Encourages and supports reconciliation in our community; and congratulates the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education and the Integrated Education Fund on being nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.”
Proposing the motion in Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister of the Alliance Party said that the nomination was a fantastic achievement, and she reflected on how the integrated education movement has grown since the opening of the first integrated school, Lagan College, which is now one of the largest schools in NI and is heavily over-subscribed.
The motion was seconded by Councillor David Graham (DUP) and representatives of the Green Party, PUP, UUP, SDLP and Sinn Fein expressed their support.
The councillors were echoing the sentiments of politicians sitting on the Oireachteas Joint Committee on Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, who invited representatives of the IEF and NICIE to Leinster House in Dublin on 26 September.
Responding to the good wishes from the wide range of politicians, IEF Campaign Chair Baroness May Blood MBE said:
“We were humbled to be nominated by high-profile academics and politicians for the Nobel Peace Prize 2019. We are very honoured that this nomination has been acknowledged by politicians of different parties across this island. The Nobel nomination recognises the work over the past decades of pioneering parents and campaigners and the courageous teachers who established integrated education in Northern Ireland and who continue to work to bring children of all backgrounds, beliefs and traditions together in school.”
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor John Finucane, will host a reception for representatives of the integrated education movement at City Hall on 07 October. He said:
“The impact that integrated education has had in building peace cannot be underestimated. The vision and bravery of the teachers, parents and campaigners who took forward the idea of building a better future for our young people through the medium of integrated education was ground-breaking. To be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize is an absolutely outstanding achievement and I want to congratulate everyone involved in the movement and wish them the very best of luck.”
The winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on 11 October. Nominators of the integrated education organisations included elected politicians in London, Dublin and Brussels and senior academics in the USA and Canada.
Read more about the visit to the Oireachteas Joint Committee on Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement here.
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