Invited Discussants

Dr. Ray Bassett is a former Irish diplomat. He was educated at The O’Connell School and Trinity College, Dublin. He obtained a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Trinity College, specializing in the study of the vitamin Folic Acid. He changed careers from clinical biochemistry to the Irish Diplomatic Service, serving in Belfast, London, Canberra, Copenhagen and Ottawa. Bassett was part of the Irish Government Talks Team during the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement negotiations. He went on to serve as Irish Joint Secretary to the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference in Belfast, 2001-2005. He subsequently headed up the Irish Consular Service and the Irish Abroad Unit, which deals with relations with the Irish Diaspora. He spent his last six years in the Diplomatic Service as Irish Ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas. Since his retirement in October 2016, he has become a columnist with the Sunday Business Post.

Bridget Brownlow is the Conflict Resolution Advisor for Saint Mary’s University. She holds a master’s degree in History and is a certified conflict resolution specialist with over 20 years of extensive experience in organizational conflict management. Her expertise in part is focused on delivering a wide range of appropriate dispute resolution services, training and education designed for students, faculty, staff and unions at all levels within the university community and beyond. For the past fourteen years, Bridget has been the Senior Coordinator for a local and international conflict resolution initiative in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Belfast, Northern Ireland. This involves working directly with students, faculty and staff in the development and implementation of peace education programs in collaboration with Peaceful Schools International and Saint Mary’s University. This includes maintaining positive and productive long-term partnerships with more than 20 different Primary schools throughout Belfast, Northern Ireland. Bridget is currently the President of Peaceful Schools International and is a part-time Professor in the Department of Political Science, Department of Irish Studies as well as the Faculty of Education at Saint Mary’s University.

Carol Cunningham has been Project Coordinator of Creggan Enterprises Unheard Voices Programme since 2013. Unheard Voices is a citywide project based in Derry engaging single identity and cross-community groups, targeting individual women and women’s groups who have not yet engaged, or who are only partially engaged in peace-building activities. Supported by the International Fund for Ireland, it is a powerful project that has engaged women in a unique and empowering way without shying away from the difficult issues. Carol has coordinated a number of EU Peace, European Social Fund and EU Interreg Capital funding programs. She has been employed on a number of projects focusing on women’s issues and has a background in promoting cross-community engagement and developing programs.

Tim Dalton, a lawyer by training, was a Civil Servant who spent most of his career in the Department of Justice and Equality in Dublin, dealing with matters generally related to law and order. He was appointed Secretary General of that Dept in 1993 and remained in that position until he retired in 2004. During that period he was a member of a small team of senior civil servants who engaged in extensive discussions, document drafting etc. that supported the efforts of the British and Irish Governments to bring about peace in Northern Ireland. Subsequent to his retirement he has worked in both the private and public sectors which included a six year term as Irish member of the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture and  Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT).

Maurice Fitzpatrick is a film director and an author from Ireland who was educated at Trinity College Dublin. He was a recipient of the Ministry of Japan scholarship 2004-2017, a lecturer at Keio University, Tokyo, 2004-11, a lecturer at Bonn University 2011-2012 and a lecturer at the University of Cologne 2012-2016. He has made two documentary films for the BBC: The Boys of St. Columb's (also an Irish public television, RTÉ, production) which tells the story of the first generation of children to receive free secondary education as a result of the ground-breaking 1947 Education Act in Northern Ireland, whose participants included St. Columbs' Nobelists John Hume and Seamus Heaney; and a second film for the BBC, an examination of Brian Friel's play, Translations which shows how Translations came to spearhead a cultural movement in both Northern and Southern Ireland, North and South, Field Day, which attempted to achieve a measure of cultural pluralism in advance of a political settlement. In 2017, he wrote, directed and produced a documentary feature film, In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America. He is also the author of a book entitled John Hume in America (Irish Academic Press, 2017 and Notre Dame University Press, 2019). 

Roy Garland was born and reared in an evangelical home on Belfast’s Loyalist Shankill Road. He partially completed a Diploma in Theology successfully through London University. He was actively involved in Ulster Unionist Party politics as Press Officer of the Young Unionist Council and was Master of an Orange Lodge and District Officer in Number 3 Belfast District Orange Lodge. From 1969-1971, Roy became associated with preparations to defend Loyalist communities. He then switched his thinking and by 1973 was an undergraduate at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) reading Social Science. Roy completed a Certificate in Ecumenics through Ulster University and the Irish School of Ecumenics during the mid-1980s. By the early 1990s Roy was working with the late Dutch Pastor and psychoanalyst Roel Kaptein on the concepts of Rene Girard (then of Stanford University USA) relating to culture and society. From 1977 to 2001 he lectured in Sociology and Religion in Further Education. By 1991 Roy had completed a master’s Dissertation on the “new thinking” within the leadership of the modern Ulster Volunteer Force. By the mid-1990s Roy became involved in the “Shankill Think Tank”. During 1995 he began a weekly Monday Column with the nationalist Irish News but then stopped to concentrate on writing a book. That same year Roy founded and co-chaired the cross-border/cross-community Guild of Uriel which was based near Dundalk. He was part of an organizing committee drawn from the Union Group for “East Belfast Speaks Out”. Roy is author of a biography of former loyalist leader Gusty Spence (2001) and is no longer a member of the Ulster Unionist Party but remains actively involved with political and reconciliation groups.

Makayla Haussler is a Yale University undergraduate student from Nebraska who is majoring in political science. She has been politically active since high school, working on reproductive rights and social justice issues. At Yale, she has held various positions with College Democrats, served as the chair of a Yale student’s campaign for city council, and interned in the office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, Planned Parenthood, and for other progressive causes. In 2017, she spearheaded a Yale students’ campaign to expand financial aid for undocumented students at public colleges. Last summer, she interned in Nebraska at a social justice not-for-profit and ended up working to prevent efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Haussler, recently selected as a Mitchell Scholar will study the political rhetoric of the Together for Yes campaign in the Gender Studies program at University College in Dublin.

Kevin Hippsley is the manager of Creggan Enterprises (CE), based at the Rath Mor Centre in Derry. Creggan Enterprises (CE) is a social enterprise which emerged in the early 90s from the heart of one of the North's most deprived communities to meet the need for a targeted economic, social and cultural mechanism to regenerate the area - as a result of decades of institutional neglect, economic inactivity and years of bloody conflict. Kevin and his team at CE, under the guidance of Development Executive Conal McFeely, work tirelessly to deliver grassroots interventions within the local community and beyond - working with funders such as DFA, Joseph Rowntree Trust, IFI and others to create inclusive opportunities to bring about peacebuilding and capacity building interventions. Kevin is also founder of Hive Studios at Rath Mor – a Creative Digital Hub for the local community which specializes in Digital Social Innovation, Youth Engagement, Community Re-Imaging, Digital Inclusion, Assistive Technology, Film Production, Community Digital Radio, Vocational Training and a wide variety of creative initiatives which complement CE's broader peacebuilding and community development work. He is a former production manager with the Derry Journal Newspaper and Designer, Sub-Ed and Production Manager at Guildhall Press. He graduated from Queens in 1999 and completed an MBA with Creative Technology at UU Magee receiving the MBA Excellence Award in 2016. Kevin has won several accolades and awards for his work with Guildhall Press and has worked on many of the definitive publications and projects recording Derry's political / troubled past.

Dr. Katy Hayward is a Reader in Sociology at Queen’s University Belfast, and Fellow in the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. She is also a member of the Centre for International Borders Research and on the Steering Group of the Institute of Irish Studies in Queen's. Outside the University, she is a non-executive Board member of Conciliation Resources, the Centre for Cross Border Studies, and the Institute for Conflict Research. Dr. Hayward has twenty years’ research experience on the impact of the EU on the Irish border and peace process, including as part of the EU FP5-funded EUBorderConf [EU and border conflicts] project and the current SSHRC-funded ‘Borders in Globalization’ programme. She is the author of over 100 publications, including most recently the report Bordering on Brexit: Views from local communities in the central border region of Ireland/Northern Ireland and co-author (with Prof David Phinnemore) of UK Withdrawal (Brexit) and the Good Friday Agreement commissioned by the AFCO committee of the European Parliament. Her recent funded research includes TRUST Tracing Risk and Uncertainty in Security Technology (RCUK, 2013-15), and Conflict in Cities and the Contested State (ESRC, 2010-14). She is currently lead partner for the Irish case study of the Canadian $2.8m SSHRC-funded project ‘Borders in Globalization’ (PI: UVic, British Columbia).

Dr. Christopher Moran joined the board of Co-operation Ireland in 2004 and since becoming Chairman he has ensured the work of the organization has gone from strength to strength. Under his leadership, Co-operation Ireland has been creating new relationships and seeking out opportunities for integration between existing and new communities on the island of Ireland and beyond. He has played a central role in building positive Anglo-Irish relations. He was instrumental in creating the correct conditions for the historic and successful visit of Her Majesty to the Republic of Ireland in 2011 and the reciprocal visit of President Michael D Higgins in 2014. He was also critical to the first meeting of Her Majesty with the Martin McGuinness, the late deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

Garvan O’Doherty is CEO of Garvan O’Doherty Group (GODG) which operates in the hospitality and property sectors and holds business interests in Ireland and UK. GODG is a material contributor to the economy in the North West of Ireland. GODG hospitality trading interests include a hotel complex and a chain of five off-licence outlets, Chill. Garvan served as Chairman of Londonderry Port and Harbour Commission between 2006 and 2014 and, during his final term, the Port announced record profits and secured an £80million renewable energy investment scheme. Garvan serves locally on the Board of one of the most successful neighbourhood renewal companies in the UK - Creggan Enterprises Limited. He has also chaired talks between the Residents Groups and Loyal Orders, including ABOD, Black Preceptory and Orange Order at different stages over the last 16 years. This process devised solutions to the contentious marching issue in Derry and is now known as “The Derry Model”.

Andrew Sens was nominated by the U.S. government to serve as a member of the Independent International Commission of Decommission in 1999. His appoints to the Commission jointly by the British and Irish governments was with effect from July 3rd, 1999. Mr. Sens was a member of the Commission staff for twenty months prior to his appointment as commissioner, an assignment he took up shortly after retiring from the U.S. foreign service in 1997 after a career of some thirty-one years. His last assignment as a career diplomat was as executive secretary of the National Security Council in Washington. As statutory head of the 180-member NSC staff, Mr. Sens served for nearly three years as a senior foreign and defense policy aide to the President Clinton and his national security advisor. Mr. Sens’ first diplomatic assignment was as third secretary at the American Embassy in Kampapa in 1966. Subsequent postings took him to Bordeuac as consul, Washington as a trade negotiator and later as an energy policy specialist, and to Oslo and then Tehran as counsellor for economic and commercial affairs. In Washington for consultations when student activists seized the embassy in Tehran in November 1979, Mr. Sens was assigned as deputy director of the interagency task force formed to manage the U.S. response to the crisis. Subsequently, he became deputy director of the interagency task force formed to manage the U.S. response to the crisis/ Subsequently, he became deputy director of the State Department office responsible for implementing the Algiers accords resolving extensive financial claims between the U.S. and Iran. He later held postings as counsellor of embassy in Islamabad and Buenos Aires, and in Washington from 1987 to 1990 as director for environmental matters and from 1990 to 1993 as director for South American affairs. He served as executive assistant to the Department under secretary for global affairs from 1993 to 1994, helping manage the U.S. response to international crime and terrorism, international narcotics trafficking, refugee matters and human rights concerns. Mr. Sens has a BA from Hope College, an MA from American University and an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He has studied as well as the Institute de Haute Etudes Internationales in Geneva.

Claire Sugden is a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for East Londonderry. She also served as the Minister of Justice in the fourth Northern Ireland Executive from May 2016 to March 2017. She served as a member of the Committee for Employment and Learning from May 2014 to March 2016 and as chairperson of the All Party Group on Ageing and Older People from October 2015 to March 2016.

Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray received his PhD in Geography from the University of Toronto in 1992. He has served in several senior academic roles, including as Dean of Social Sciences at Mount Allison University from 2003-2010 and as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Dalhousie University from 2010-2015. Dr. Summerby-Murray became Saint Mary's University's 34th President on July 1st, 2015. He is a respected educator, having received the Tucker Teaching Award, the AAU Distinguished Teacher Award and a 3M National Teaching Fellowship in 2006. His research areas include historical geography, environmental history, industrial heritage, geographic information systems and student mobility and internationalization. In leading the development of a new strategic plan for Saint Mary’s, he paid particular attention to building global connections, encouraging discovery and innovation, and ensuring intercultural learning opportunities for domestic, international and First Nations students. He has had the privilege of supporting initiatives in peace and conflict studies, including the work of Peaceful Schools International and the university’s annual program in Northern Ireland. Dr. Summerby-Murray is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, is the incoming board chair of the Canadian Bureau of International Education and serves on committees of Universities Canada.