Thursday 21st September, 11.00 am – 1.00 pm:


The Junction’s Ethical and Shared Remembering Project is interested in the past because of its relevance to present and future. Seamus Farrell will explore the links between 1917/18 and the present – locally and globally. Specifically he will look at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919 after WW1, which lead to the Treaty (Agreement) of Versailles among other treaties and mandates, and ask if the history makers of then could have foreseen its multiple legacies, how might they in retrospect have acted.

While the centenaries of the Easter Rising, and the Battles of Somme and Messines have passed, the War was still going on this time 100 years ago. Has it even ended in 2017? Do our current violent conflicts have roots in the 20th century? The 1919 Paris Peace Conference (described as a Peace Settlement or Peace Agreement!) set the stage for World War II. But neither did it end in 1945. There followed, in the wake of the Holocaust, the establishment of Israel and the continuing consequences. Much less fully recognised is the link between the Paris Peace Conference and events today in Syria and throughout the Middle East in the last several decades. The shadows of the last century are long indeed.

We live with the consequences of more than the Paris Peace Conference, 1919. As we approach the 20th birthday of the Good Friday Agreement it is in order to ask questions, for the sake of future generations, about what has been done and what has not been done with it by the history makers of today. The answers may suggest that the future is too important to be left to a few people, that democracy is more than voting and that civic society can and must be history makers too.

Friday 22nd September, 11.00 am – 1.00 pm


There are disturbing trends in today's Europe and world. Not only is there an economic recession and a crisis for capitalism, there is a democratic recession. There are leaders of Nations who are engaged in hollowing out democracy, diminishing human rights and tending towards totalitarian rule. Hard won freedoms are at risk. There are threats to global peace. There appears to be little concern and resistance. In Johnston McMaster’s forthcoming book, he states

“Democracy has been described as the worst form of government except for all the rest! But is democracy on its way out? The seminar will explore trends and critically look at the nature of democracy, what it means and how we practice it. What does pluralist democracy look like? How do we practice participatory and deliberative democracy? What does it mean to embed the rule of law and human rights? And what is the role of civic society in democracy? How can civic society and politicians engage in democratic discourse? These are some of the questions, which need to be part of our deliberation or deliberative discourse and practice of democracy. The seminar will also explore how a healthy democracy and it's nurturing is the best framework for creating a common good and it's essential practice of public justice.

Or are we indifferent to democracy on its way out, or are we committed to its recovery, revisioning and making democracy more truly democratic? The future of community relations, a common good for Northern Ireland, the future of Europe and the world will depend on the future of democracy.