Reflections from the Hedge School

ITB students speaking at the Hedge School

ITB students speaking at the Hedge School

The 2016 Hedge School took place in Blanchardstown on November 8th, the same day as the US presidential election.  To our surprise, the latter event seemed to overshadow the former! However, we are confident that the outcome of the Hedge School will be much more positive and beneficial to people and planet than that of the election! The election was a contest between two corrupt multi millionaires supported by arms companies and oil companies while the Hedge School was organized on a shoe string and with the good will of many people.

Sorcha Pollak opened proceedings with a powerful talk on Roger Casement. Casement was a great humanitarian and internationalist, who, having carried out an investigation into atrocities on Belgium rubber plantations in the Congo, was sent by the British government to the Amazon jungle to investigate atrocities committed by the Peruvian Amazon Company, which collected rubber in the region of the river Putumayo. Casement was executed four years later for his participation in the 1916 Rising.

John Maguire further explored Casement’s work in the context of his deepening awareness of the evils of Empire and of its implications for his beloved country and characterised him as an ideal symbol for today. 

Other speakers included Kay Mulhall and, the highlight of the day, Miriam, a former asylum-seeker from Uganda.  Miriam spoke about the gruelling circumstances of her life in Uganda before being forced to leave her country and seek refuge in Ireland. In Ireland she experienced the Direct Provision system which poured salt in the wounds of her previous suffering.

The students made a tremendous contribution to the day in terms of both organisation, and input. They interwove  workshops, music and the writing of a Proclamation into the fabric of the day. Special thanks to Liam McGlynn whose support, collaboration and enthusiasm adds to the very positive experience of working in ITB.

Afri Hedge School 2013: Resources, Conflict & Climate Change: The Links

From L-R: William Hederman (Journalist), Liam McGlynn (Lecturer in ITB) and David Horgan (Petrel Resources) participate in a debate: “Natural Resources: Whose Gain, Whose Pain? From Ireland to the Wider World”. Photo: Derek Speirs

In our history, Hedge Schools were places of learning, continuity and resistance, emerging out of the draconian Penal Laws that forbade formal education to most Irish people. Learning about and resisting the causes of poverty is at the heart of Afri’s work and the Hedge School symbolizes the kind of resilience and creativity needed to address the crisis facing our world as a result of climate change and the obscenity of the war industry.

As Joe Murray (Afri’s Co-ordinator) noted in his opening address the crisis facing our world today cannot be over estimated but it also represents an opportunity to bring about the kind of change that is urgently needed. Justine Nantale spoke about the effects of climate change in her country, Uganda. She noted that most people in Uganda are dependent on farming and when the rains don’t come they are very badly affected. For them, climate change is not something to be debated, but a living reality. (more…)

Hedge School 2013 – Resources, Conflict & Climate Change: The Links

Just a SecondAfri 2013 Hedge School organised in partnership with I.T. Blanchardstown

 

Tuesday 5th November 2013

9.30 am – 4.30 pm

Room A57, A Block, I.T. Blanchardstown (for directions click here)

 

Programme for the day

 9.30 am Registration

10 am Opening

10.15 am Natural Resources: Whose Gain, Whose Pain? From Ireland to the Wider World

Debate between David Horgan (Petrel Resources) and William Hederman (Journalist) with Q&A

11.15 am Panel Discussion with Justine Nantale (Uganda), Kevin Murphy (ITB) and a speaker from Shannonwatch

12.30 pm End of Art is Peace

Music and dance by I.T. Blanchardstown students

12.45 pm Gary White Deer (Choctaw Artist): The Art of Campaigning

1pm Lunch

1.45pm Donal O’Kelly’s play “Fionnuala”

2.35pm World cafe

4.30pm Finish

To book a place, call the Afri office 01 8827563 or email admin@afri.ie

Afri gratefully acknowledges the support of Irish Aid and Trócaire

Date for your Diary: Afri Hedge School 2013

Hedge School 2013The 2013 Hedge School will take place in Institute of Technology Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, on the themes of militarisation, conflict and the environment on Tuesday 5th November from 10am to 4.30pm in Room A57.

Registration takes place from 9.30am.

The Hedge School is being organised in partnership with the students from I.T. Blanchardstown .  All are welcome.

For details on how to get to I.T. Blanchardstown, go here.

Further details will be posted closer to the event.

To book: contact the Afri office on 01 8827563 or by email at admin@afri.ie

Post Hedge School Impressions: A Disarming Event

i Nov 29th No Comments by

Rob Fairmichael attended the International Peace Bureau council meeting and Afri Hedge School in Dublin in November and wrote this report…

Ruairi McKiernan speaking at the 2012 Hedge School, “Non Violent Struggles for Democracy”. Tomas Magnusson (IPB) and Lina Ben Mhenni (Sean MacBride Peace Prize laureate for 2012) are seated on the right.

A Disarming Event
‘Disarming’ in English can mean two quite different things. So far as the peace movement is concerned it implies the process of disarmament, of overcoming militarism, and building a real and lasting peace. But ‘disarming’ can also imply pleasant and charming in a low key way, possibly through calming hostility and building confidence. I certainly was not hostile to the International Peace Bureau (IPB) to begin with but I think I could describe the IPB council meeting and related conference as being disarming in both senses. Significantly, this was the first ever IPB council to be held in Ireland.

Andy Storey (Afri), Rose Kelly (Afri) and Paddy Reilly (Kimmage DSC). Photo by Derek Speirs.

There were two or three related events. The first was the IPB council business event. The second was a conference which Afri runs in different locations throughout Ireland every autumn but which this time was co-organised with IPB, using IPB people as speakers and resource people. Also speaking at the Hedge School were Afri’s Rose Kelly and Kimmage DSC’s Paddy Reilly, in a session on “Climate Change, Resources and War” chaired by Afri Chairperson, Andy Storey. The conference title was “Joining the dots: Disarmament, Development, Democracy.” In order to make a tangible response to the threat of Climate Change, participants in the Hedge School planted a rowan tree which was then named “Lina [Ben Mhenni]’s tree”. In addition there was the award of IPB’s Sean MacBride Peace Prize to two prominent women involved in the ‘Arab Spring’. (more…)

International Peace Bureau to Award 2012 Sean MacBride Peace Prize to Nawal El-Sadaawi (Egypt) and Lina Ben Mhenni (Tunisia)

i Nov 8th No Comments by

The International Peace Bureau is delighted to announce its decision to award the 2012 Sean MacBride Peace Prize to two Arab women: Lina Ben Mhenni from Tunisia and Nawal El-Sadaawi from Egypt. They have both shown great courage and made substantial contributions to what is known as the Arab Spring.

The award ceremony will be held on the eve of IPB’s annual conference, which this year doubles as Afri’s Hedge School. The prize ceremony will be held on Friday 16th November, at 6pm. The venue is Woodlock Hall, All Hallows College, Dublin 9. The Hedge School will be held in the same venue the following day. This will be the first ever IPB Council meeting in Ireland in its over 100 year history during which it will be hosted by Afri, a member organisation of the International Peace Bureau.

The presenter of the awards will be President Michael D. Higgins, himself the very first winner of the MacBride Prize in 1992.

 

About the Prize

Every year the IPB awards a special prize to a person or organisation that has done outstanding work for peace, disarmament and/or human rights. These were the principal concerns of Sean MacBride, the distinguished Irish statesman who was Chairman of IPB from 1968-74 and President from 1974-1985 and special advisor to Afri for many years.

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Hedge School 2012: Disarmament, Development and Democracy – Joining the Dots

i Sep 26th No Comments by

Afri’s 2012 Hedge School will be organised in partnership with the International Peace Bureau, and will take place on Saturday 17th November. This will coincide with the first ever International Peace Bureau Council Meeting to be held in Ireland.

As our globalised world gets smaller, so the burning issues we are confronted with seem to overlap to a greater and greater extent. How to solve the challenge of poverty without re-allocating some of the huge sums devoted to militarism? How to ensure a stable future for our economies and our societies without taking into account the massive impacts of climate change and resource depletion? How to redeem the promise of a new democratic order in the Middle East and North Africa without ensuring true gender justice? And how can we achieve any of these things without a full, inclusive, transparent democracy? These are some of the issues we will tackle in the Dublin Dialogue.

On Friday 16th the MacBride prize award ceremony will be presented to two women activists from the ‘Arab Spring’ by President Michael D. Higgins.

The theme of the Hedge School will be “Joining the Dots: Disarmament, Development and Democracy”.

 

Programme / Clár

Saturday 17th November 2012

Woodlock Hall, All Hallows College, Dublin 9

10am: Registration and tea/coffee

10.30am:  Music by Fionnuala Gill, introductory remarks by Joe Murray and tree planting

11am:  Climate, Resources and War (with Rose Kelly, Paddy Reilly and Andy Storey)

1pm:  Lunch

2pm: Non Violent Struggles for Democracy (with Lina Ben Mhenni, Ruairí McKiernan and Tomas Magnusson)

3:30pm: Tea/coffee

3:45pm: Role of Women in the Arab Spring (with Nawal El Sadaawi, Ingeborg Breines and Iain Atack)

5:30pm: Music.  Concluding remarks by Colin Archer

7pm – 8:30pm: Special performance of “The Cambria” with Donal O’Kelly and Sorcha Fox. The Cambria is the story of freed slave Frederick Douglas’ journey to, and through, Ireland. “A powerful theatrical experience…a stirring production” (Irish Examiner). A small admission fee will be charged at the door.

Followed by Irish music, dancing, conversation agus craic!

*** Full details are available in our brochure which you can download here: Hedge School 2012 Brochure ***

As spaces are limited this year, please register for the event either by downloading our Registration Form 2012 and posting it back to us, or by registering online here: http://hedgeschool2012.eventbrite.ie/

Impressions from Hedge School 2011: Climate Change, Conflict and Famine

i Oct 12th No Comments by

Saturday, 1 October 2011, Kimmage DSC, Dublin 12

Christine Nalubega

The 2011 Afri Hedge School took place in Kimmage Development Studies Centre (KDSC) in Dublin for the second year running.  You can watch a short film of the highlights from the day, made by Dave Donnellan, by clicking here!

Abjata Khalif

The theme was Climate Change and how this has impacted on developing countries resulting in famine and wars. Abjata Khalif, a pastoralist from Kenya, spoke about how climate change has affected pastoralists in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia, and in particular how the current famine in the Horn of Africa has caused great hardship for many, resulting in a surge in refugees and other social problems. (more…)

Afri Hedge School 2011

i Sep 15th No Comments by

The programme for the 2011 Afri Hedge School includes a talk by Kenyan Pastoralist, Abjata Khalif, on famine, climate and conflict in the Horn of Africa, followed by an examination of how we can tackle the problem of climate change in Ireland by climate scientist John Sweeney.

The 2011 Hedge School consists of a selection of workshops, hedge planting, and beautiful African music! The day promises a stimulating engagement with the issue of climate change in the world and especially how it impacts on developing countries. Lunch will also be provided.

When? Saturday 1st October 2011, 10am – 4pm

Where? Kimmage Development Studies Centre, Whitehall Road, Dublin 12.  For directions on how to get there, please click here.

How much? €10 (or €5 for students/unwaged)

You can download the brochure here to book on: Hedge School 2011

Hedge School 2010: Food Sovereignty – Rooting out the Causes of Global Hunger

i Jan 1st 2 Comments by

Saturday, 23 October 2010, Kimmage DSC, Dublin

The Afri Hedge School 2010 was organised in partnership with Kimmage Development Studies Centre (KDSC) and took place on Saturday, 23 October in Kimmage DSC in Dublin.

The event focused on the fundamental right to food and discussed the importance of food sovereignty as a precondition for food security and tackling world hunger. Introductory talks were given by Alan Matthews, from the Economics Department at Trinity College Dublin, Former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday, and Clare O’Grady Walshe, who launched her new pamphlet, entitled Seeds of Hope in a World of Insecurity. The pamphlet deals with issues of food insecurity and loss of biodiversity and was edited by Dervla Murphy.

Afri Hedge School 2010 from Dave Donnellan

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Peacemaker 2010

i Dec 31st No Comments by

Our annual newsletter, Peacemaker, is now available to download from our website. The newsletter represents a snap-shot of our year with short reports and photographs relating to some of Afri’s activities.

This year, Afri celebrated 35 years of working for justice and peace and we would like to thank everybody who has supported us and our work over the years.

Peacemaker 2010 (PDF)

Hedge School 2009

i Sep 7th No Comments by

A unique blend of conversation, debate, music, fun and food!

Food for Thought

From 9th to 11th October
Jinx Lennon – Friday 9th
Hedge School sessions/talks/workshops – Saturday 10th
Short walk to local famine graveyard – Sunday 11th

in The Glens Centre, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim

 For more details please download the brochure here.