04/07/2019

Peace Prize Nomination For Integrated Education Groups

Two integrated education campaign organisations in Northern Ireland have been jointly nominated to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) and the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) received the nomination from politicians and academics in recognition of their work to actively and intentionally celebrate religious and cultural integration in a divided society.

There are currently only 65 integrated schools in Northern Ireland, representing around 8% of total school enrolment.

The winner of the 2019 award will be chosen from hundreds of nominees, with the decision announced in October.

Tina Merron, Chief Executive of the IEF, said: "This is a great honour, and a testament to all the pioneers who have been committed to opening and developing integrated schools in the face of social challenges and political inertia. Thanks are due to the nominators and also to the donors and supporters who have helped grow integrated education in Northern Ireland in response to parental demand."
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Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong said the nomination is a well-deserved recognition of both organisations.

The party's spokesperson for Integrated Education said: "This is fantastic news. Nobel Peace Prize winners from Northern Ireland are few and far between, with the last being David Trimble and John Hume, so I hope the IEF and NICIE join that prestigious list." 
Ms Armstrong added that the award is acknowledgement of the vital role integrated education has played in bringing an often fractured society together.

Lagan College in Belfast, the first planned integrated school, was awarded the Cross of Nails and, more recently, New-Bridge Integrated College in Loughbrickland received the Evens Peace Prize.

Roisin Marshall, CEO of NICIE, commented: "This Nobel nomination is the latest prestigious recognition of the spirit of the integrated education movement. It highlights the power of education in supporting peace building and reconciliation – and also acknowledges the dedication shown by committed campaigners over four decades in the face of social challenges and political inertia."



(JG/CM)

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