|Type||Non-profit, Interest group|
|Founded||1965 by Ray Davey|
|Key people||John Morrow, Alex Watson|
|Service(s)||runs programmes aimed at establishing a shared society defined by tolerance in schools, families, communities|
|Method(s)||reconciliation, peace-building, building community|
|Motto||Committed to Reconciliation in Ireland and Throughout the World|
The Corrymeela Community is a Christian community whose objective is the promotion of reconciliation and peace-building through the healing of social, religious, and political divisions in Northern Ireland. It runs programmes aimed at establishing a shared society defined by tolerance, where differences are resolved through dialogue in the public sphere and where there is equity, respect for diversity and recognition of interdependence.
Corrymeela works throughout Northern Ireland and beyond, developing and delivering focused community relations work through single-identity, cross-community and cross-border community and residentially based programmes. Each year over 6,000 participants take part in programmes at the Corrymeela Ballycastle Centre, which can host over 100 residents. Corrymeela currently has 28 staff, 15 residential volunteers, 100 short-term volunteers, 150 community members and over 5,000 supporters worldwide who support the work of the community. Corrymeela offers participants the opportunity to engage in dialogue, build a sense of inclusive community during their programme, listen to different stories and perspectives and explore ways of moving out of violence and finding more constructive ways of working together. In addition to providing a model of reconciliation, Corrymeela seeks to offer a language around relationships and reconciliations which can be applied to politics, conflict transformation, and faith. This language around relationships and reconciliation has been taken up in political discourse. The Northern Irish government's Shared Future document references Corrymeela and writes that "relationships matter and are central" and "moving from relationships based on mistrust and defence to relationships rooted in mutual recognition and trust, is the essence of reconciliation."
Corrymeela was founded in 1965 by Ray Davey, along with John Morrow and Alex Watson, as an organisation seeking to aid individuals and communities which suffered through the violence and polarisation of the Northern Irish conflict. Early members were Christians in the Northern Irish community from diverse backgrounds who wanted to begin a new community which could counter apathy and complacency and open up new possibilities.
In early 1965, to give the community a physical gathering place, Corrymeela moved to the Holiday Fellowship Centre near Ballycastle in County Antrim. Its structure formalised, and a council was elected with Davey serving as treasurer and secretary. Corrymeela opened for the public in November 1965, opening itself as a place for Christian reconciliation in Northern Ireland.
Corrymeela hosts programmes which are centred around:
- Schools: seeking to address community relations issues, often through citizenship
- Families: providing respite and development work
- Faith and Life: seeking to support individuals and church communities in their journey of faith and to support encounter with different traditions
- Youth: seeking to provide a safe and welcoming environment, primarily focused on marginalised youth
- Communities: looking at issues of inter-community relations, both on a single-identity and a cross community basis
- International communities: hosting groups who are interested in learning about conflict management and peace-building.
The community also exhibits artwork with themes of peace and reconciliation for Northern Ireland. In 2007, it exhibited The Linen Memorial, a piece made from almost 400 Irish linen handkerchiefs listing almost 4000 names of those killed in the Northern Irish conflict. Visiors left mementos and tokens beside names of those killed, making it an interactive and evolving artwork.
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- Ray Davey 1965 – 1980
- John Morrow 1980 – 1994
- Trevor Williams 1994 – 2003
- David Stevens 2003 – 2010
- Inderjit Bhogal 2011 – 2013
- "The Corrymeela Community". Retrieved 14 July 2008.
- "The Ireland Funds", http://www.irlfunds.org/your_money_at_work/projects_corrymeela.aspk' Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- Pulford, Cedric (24 February 1997). "Corrymeela Community Wins International Peace Prize". Ecumenical News International. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
- Corrymeela Community website
- Youth as Evaluators: Contested Spaces and Identity Short film of interviews with young people at the Corrymeela Centre