Equity Diversity Interdependence
Promoting a Peaceful and Fair
Society based on Reconciliation
and Mutual Trust.
Community relations and cultural diversity are complex issues requiring a variety of responses and approaches. The Community Relations Council takes the view that community relations and cultural diversity work in Northern Ireland are based on three key principles which are inextricably linked to each other. These principles are diversity, interdependence and equity.
Diversity can be seen in the ever-changing variety of community and individual experiences. Respect for diversity affirms the value which can be derived from the existence, recognition, understanding and tolerance of difference (whether expressed through religious, ethnic, political or gender background).
Interdependence requires a recognition by different interest or identity groupings of their obligations and commitments to others and of the inter-connectedness of individual/ community experiences and ambitions leading to the development of a society which is at once cohesive and diverse.
Equity is understood as a commitment at all levels within society to ensuring equality of access to resources, structures and decision-making processes and to the adoption of actions to secure and maintain these objectives.
(This material is based on work contained in A Worthwhile Venture, Practically Investing in Equity,Diversity and Interdependence in Northern Ireland. K. Eyben, D. Morrow & D. Wilson, University of Ulster, 1997.)
The Community Relations Council believes that civil society depends on a shared discourse which recognises and affirms differences but allows these to exist in constructive relationships with each other. For this to happen, initiatives at all levels must be able to integrate these principles into their work in appropriate ways.
"In order for community relations to have any substantive meaning, it must be constructively linked with policies for equity and diversity. Likewise, if equity and diversity are to contribute to stability rather than heightened competition, they need to be brought together with an acknowledgement of interdependence between groups in Northern Ireland. The practical task is to translate these broad principles into workable policies, structures and procedures with due regard for the many different contexts and learning cultures. It is certainly no longer possible to limit community relations to the informal and community groups without reference to the broader structure of public and private management." (Eyben, Morrow, Wilson 1997).
Further reading on 'Community Relations'
A Worthwhile Venture? Practically Investing in Equity, Diversity, and Interdependence in Northern Ireland
by Karin Eyben, Duncan Morrow & Derick Wilson
Unfortunately I have been unable to obtain an electronic copy but a chapter from this publication is available on the CAIN website click here
An influential report published in 1997 by the Future Ways programme at the University of Ulster examining the future of community relations work in Northern Ireland. The report highlights the requirement for the development of a culture of Equity, Diversity and Interdependence.
Approaches to Community Relations Work
by Mari Fitzduff
Published in 1993 this booklet by Mari Fitzduff attempts to classify the different kinds of work which can usefully be classified as 'community relations work'. Although written before the paramilitaries' cease-fires, much of the classification (or 'typology') is still applicable today.
Building the Peace: Good Practice in Community Relations in Northern Ireland
by John Lampen
In 1993 the Community Relations Council commissioned John Lampen, an experienced and respected peace worker, to compile a book which would illustrate the richness and variety of community relations work in Northern Ireland.
The publication served not only as a description of current CR work but was also helpful as a point of learning contributing, as it did, 'nuggets of wisdom' to those involved in the practical and constructive work of addressing the divisions in Northern Ireland.
Building the Peace, has been out of print for quite some time but because of continued interest in the book, an online web version has now been made available. Download
Community Relations Groups
Currently there are well over 130 organisations in Northern Ireland dedicated to community relations and peace work. Many of these groups have received support from the Community Relations Council. Their work is as varied as society they exist in - groups include: church groups, bereavement organisations, youth work groups, ex-prisoner groups, cultural organisations, community development organisations, etc. See the Community Relations Groups link under services for more details.
Attitudes to Community Relations work in Northern Ireland
The Conflict Archive in the Internet (CAIN) project based at the University of Ulster have published several interesting articles on attitudes to community relations work among the Northern Ireland public. The articles are from various editions of the Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey
The policy – A SHARED FUTURE - Policy and Strategic Framework for Good Relations in Northern Ireland was published on Monday 21 March 2005 by way of a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) in the House by the Rt Hon John Spellar MP. You can download a copy of the Framework from the OFMdFM website click here