Four 6 Form pupils from Wallace High School and Friends School recently travelled to Atlantic College in Cardiff for a four-day conference organised by the United World Colleges.Joy Haydock, Neil Marks, Stephen Martin and Harriet Kinkead were among 20 young people from Northern Ireland who took part in the multinational event, which involved an intensive series of workshops built around the theme of ‘initatives for peace in Northern Ireland’.
The programme began by looking at the historical background of Northern Ireland and went onto explore the role of the media and literature in conflict resolution. Role-plays, cultural performance and team building exercises were also part of the busy 4 days for the local teenagers.
Wallace pupil Harriet Kinkead commented, “Atlantic College was an amazing place the conference took place in a 16 century castle with beautiful views of the Bristol Channel. I shared a dormitory with girls from Wales, Israel, England and Africa.
The seminars gave us all a lesson on compromise and Negotiation and I feel I learnt a great deal. One highlight of our time in Cardiff was the formal Chinese Banquet to celebrate the Chinese New year. The United World Colleges experience certainly opened my eyes to different cultures.
An e-group has been set up to maintain contact with all those on the course and to allow us to continue our discussions on conflict resolution.
I’ll never forget the experience and certainly feel a lot wiser and more open minded now.”
Stephen Martin, Wallace’s Deputy Head Boy added, “The issues surrounding the conflict management are relevant to many areas of life. Lack of understanding often leads to sectarianism and mistrust. I know I’ll be able to discuss many of the issues covered in A level politics classes and in our tutorial groups”.
Stephen also hopes the course will be useful in the future, “I’m hoping to study Law and Politics at Queens next year. The value of listening to everyone’s opinion will be very important in my future career”.
Friends’ pupil Neil Marks, 16, from Anahilt also thoroughly enjoyed the event and said, “I really learnt how to appreciate the views of others and my negotiation skills improved dramatically. It was an excellent opportunity to meet people from other backgrounds”.
Joy Haydock, 16, from Dollingstown, told us, “The discussion groups were very interesting and I now feel very keen to promote harmony within our community”.
Last modified: February 24, 2016