Tripoli, 25 December:
International IDEA, in collaboration with the Libyan Irish Business Council (LIBC) recently organized last month an intensive 5 day study tour to Northern Ireland for members of the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Committee within the General National Congress (GNC) as well as some government officials.
International IDEA’s main aim with this activity was to promote the exchange of experiences on conflict management and the reconciliation processes and support mutual learning. Northern Ireland was chosen for this study tour due to its long-lasting and important experience in internal conflict, reconciliation and peace building.
Indeed, after long years of violent conflict and many efforts to manage it, the parties in Northern Ireland were able to launch a real reconciliation process through the conclusion of the so called Good Friday Agreements. This huge effort and the accords reached among the “Republicans” and the “Loyalists” have widely opened the doors for a historic process of mutual understanding and accommodation, moving from conflict to nation building.
Through the intense study tour programme the Libyan delegation was able to learn about the various experiences, difficulties and good practices in Northern Ireland.
The program of activities was designed to respond to the demands expressed by various Libyan actors, including the relevant committee of the GNC. The agenda included meetings, discussions and presentations by influential Northern Ireland figures that were, and still are, among the key players contributing to the process of reconciliation and peace building.
During the study tour, the delegation also had the opportunity to meet with leading political figures of Northern Ireland, including the First Minister and his Deputy, the Mayor of Belfast, Ministers, political parties, head of intelligence, various influential women politicians, victim’s commissioners, media representatives and academics, among many others.
The visit of this Libyan delegation was the first official visit to Northern Ireland in more than three decades. Therefore, and in addition to achieving the main objective of exposing the Libyan delegates to important experiences on the substance matter, it also allowed for the opening of new horizons of renewed and new levels of relations between the two people.
Many of the actors involved in the study tour programme, including some high officials in Northern Ireland, confirmed their sincere interest in deepening the relations with Libya.
As an intergovernmental organisation working to support democratic institutions and processes worldwide and specialised in the sharing of comparative experiences and good practices, International IDEA is looking forward to providing continued support to the Libyans in the area of national dialogue and reconciliation, as well as in many other areas of democracy building. [/restrict]