Dr Joan McGregor, who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Birmingham last year, has recently been involved in a number of projects supporting international conflict transformation efforts.
Joan co-facilitated a consultation in Mindanao, Philippines to explore the possible synergies and resources for conflict transformation and peace building across the belief systems of the Tri-People of Mindanao (the Muslim, the Christian and the Indigenous Peoples). This was a rich and challenging discussion that addressed many myths and explored the richness available within the spiritual foundations and practices of the Tri-People.
She also co-facilitated two modules as part of the annual international training programme of the Mindanao Peace Institute in Davao, Philippines. In the first week: “From Understanding to Action” focused on creating conflict sensitive interventions in humanitarian relief, development and peacebuilding programmes. This module was attended by 30 participants from 9 countries across four continents. The module in the second week focused on “Identity and Culture as Resources for Peace”. The programme was attended by 24 people from 14 countries across 5 continents.
Joan is currently in Cali, Columbia, supporting a research programme “Economic Recovery in Post Conflict Cities: the role of the urban informal economy”. This exciting research project is being led by Alison Brown and Peter Mackie from the Town Planning Department at Cardiff University. The research explores the role of the urban informal economy in poverty-reduction and peace-building in post-conflict cities, and its scope to provide both livelihoods for the extreme poor and a platform for economic recovery. With a focus on urban areas in post-civil war settings, and on cities affected by protest or on-going turf wars, the research explores the complex drivers of conflict and links to the informal economy, examines the structural and individual factors that support/inhibit growth, and analyses the role of local government in post-conflict economic recovery.
Last month, Joan joined the ICCS for its annual training programme to facilitate a two-day session on “Practical Skills for Transformative Mediation”, which gained rave reviews from this year’s delegates. The next training programme to be held at the University of Birmingham will take place in Spring 2019.