Wednesday 15 May 2019

'Women making the difference - it's our time!'

Your comments and feedback from 'Women - Champions of Peacebuilding - The Past and the Future'

Thanks to everyone who made The Next Chapter REPRESENT Women's Ambassador Forum a success. In particular thanks to Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD who opened the event and to our special guest speakers Bronagh Hinds, Jane Morrice, Liz O’Donnell, Cara Duffy, Bronagh McAtasney, Michelle Mayne and Ola Sobieraj, and to our compere and MC for the day, Sheila Reilly.

Main photo TOP (L-R) Next Chapter Speakers Bronagh McAtasney (Newry Chapter), Cara Duffy (Louth Chapter), Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD, Michelle Mayne (Monaghan Chapter) and Ola Sobiera (Mid Ulster Chapter)

The event was organised and hosted in Monaghan by project partner Irish Rural Link, and Deputy CEO Sinead Dooley gave the Welcome Address.


Deputy CEO Irish Rural Link Sinead Dooley


Welcome Address by Sinead Dooley, Deputy CEO Irish Rural Link, project partner and host 
(L-R) Speakers Jane Morris EU election candidate and former Deputy Speaker of the first power sharing Northern Ireland Assembly, Liz O'Donnell Liz O'Donnell former Department of Foreign Affairs Minister, Bronagh Hinds former Women’s Coalition and event host Sinead Dooley, Irish Rural Link.



Opening the event, Keynote Speaker Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD

On behalf of our 400 project particpants, warmest thanks to The Next Chapter project Funder, the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. Match-funding for The Next Chapter project is provided by The Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.


Next Chapter Project Partners and Funders
(L-R) Maria Regan Department for Rural and Community Development, Christine Darrah Politics Plus, Sinead Dooley Irish Rural Link, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD, Emer McGeough North South Ministerial Council, Tanya Gillanders North South Ministerial Council, Joanne Breen The Executive Office Northern Ireland, Leanne Massey Special EU Programmes Body and Alex De La Torre Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA).


After the event we asked all of our invited participants and guests to complete an Evaluation Form containing the following questions... Which Speaker did you find most inspiring and why? Which issue discussed did you find most important? What (if anything) really surprised you when you hear it today?Which issue or topic do you think was missing from the discussions today? And if they had any other comments…

Over 70% of particpants completed the evaluation forms and a selection of their comments are printed below, together with more photographs, to give you a flavour of the event.
 
Which Speaker did you find most inspiring and why?
'All of them! They all had inspirational things to say and it was great to hear the common themes of each of the Chapters. Bronagh Hinds, because of her passion and purpose.'

'Jane Morrice, because of her creative ideas of her campaign and her style of speech delivery and her way of expressing her disagreements with other speakers.'

'I found Liz O’Donnell as the most inspiring speaker because, as a Republic of Ireland gal myself, she demonstrates in a political pool of men, the stigma can be broken and women can make a change.'

'All speakers were great in different ways – interesting and good mix of perspectives.'

'Bronagh Hinds, Liz O’Donnell, Jane Morris, Heather Humphreys.'

'I really enjoyed Sinead Dooley. She was inspiring and relatable.'

'Really enjoyed Chapter members who spoke on platform – interesting and personal.'

'The 4 Next Chapter participants. Lovely to hear different stories and voices.'
 

Twenty Years of Peacebuilding - Looking Back - Panel Discussion and Q&A with Audience
(L-R) Speakers Jane Morris EU election candidate and former Deputy Speaker of the first power sharing Northern Ireland Assembly, Liz O'Donnell Liz O'Donnell former Department of Foreign Affairs Minister, Bronagh Hinds former Women’s Coalition and Compere Sheila Reilly Head of Digital, Iconic Newspapers and former Editor of Longford Leader.

 
Which issue discussed did you find most important?
'That the issues faced 21 years ago were far more complex than current Northern Ireland issues. Although difficult, they need to get it together.'

'Achieving reconciliation across the island of Ireland through SUSTAINABLE peace! Plus the restoration of the NI Executive and the protection of the Good Friday Agreement.'

'Human Rights and Equality.'

'The maintaining of peace in Ireland regardless of the outcome of Brexit AND the message to ‘be the change’ and stop waiting for that ‘tap on the shoulder’ AND the importance of ‘Women’s Stories’.'

'Where do we go next, how does the Next Chapter develop and keep moving forward.'

'Grass roots campaigning and involvement. The participation of women in the political process. We have more power when working together and have made (and are making) history. Don’t get written out of these narratives.'

'… reminding us that we all have the power to do something to make a difference.'

'Need for continued work on healing and reconciliation and for bringing women into positions of power and changing system from within.'

'The need to recognise that politics is not green and orange, it is more diverse and Europe is important to us in the border counties.'

'Gender equality – the journey yet to be completed.'
  

Funders Remarks by Leanne Massey, Special EU Programmes Body 
(L-R) Next Chapter Speakers Ola Sobiera (Mid Ulster Chapter), Michelle Mayne (Monaghan Chapter), Cara Duffy (Louth Chapter) and Bronagh McAtasney (Newry Chapter), on stage with Leanne Massey, Special EU Programmes Body.

 
What (if anything) really surprised you when you heard it today?
'Just feeling proud to be part of this group. Again a platform of women. To be a part of making a difference.'

'Being reminded about the Civic Forum.'

'All the different pathways The Next Chapter participants are taking.'

'Sadly none. It appears the problems/issues/barriers are consistent.'

'The change starts with ME.'

'No surprise but delighted to hear Blue Planet has inspired many young people to write essays about environmental issues.'
 

Over 100 Next Chapter participants and invited guests attended the REPRESENT Women's Ambassador Forum at the Hillgrove Hotel, Monaghan
 
Which issue or topic do you think was missing from the discussions today?
'I think school age girls 16 year olds – 18 year olds should be part of the Chapters.'

'A sharing opportunity of Chapter updates/projects.'

'Now where? Looking forward?'

'I think more ways in which women could build sisterhoods – Women’s biggest barriers at time can be – women. Let’s demonstrate ways in which we can support each other more!'

'Young people/girls representation.'
 

Twenty Years of Peacebuilding - Looking Forward  - Panel Discussion and Q&A with Audience (L-R) Next Chapter Speakers Ola Sobiera (Mid Ulster Chapter), Michelle Mayne (Monaghan Chapter), Cara Duffy (Louth Chapter) and Bronagh McAtasney (Newry Chapter), with Compere Sheila Reilly.
 
Any other comments:
'A great networking event with wonderful speakers from the platform, especially the girls from the Hubs. Chaired by a wonderful compere.'

'Loved it: Both panels inspiring. Good venue, good food, GREAT women.'

'Thoroughly enjoyed today, would love the chance to meet other chapter members in a more ‘team building’ event, rather than a conference so we can connect and get to know each other.'

'It could be better to provide the speakers’ speech notes or the key points.'

'What next?'

'Excellent day with such inspiring women all in the one room sending the same message.'

'It would be nice to have an inside about the logistics of political campaigning.'

'An excellent and uplifting event. MC was excellent. Facilities and organisation were perfect.'

'Opportunity for more interaction with Speakers and the audience on ‘Hot Topics’.'

'Thank you for an overall very thought provoking event.'


Closing Remarks from Joanne Jennings, Head of Programmes Politics Plus
(L-R) Next Chapter Speakers Bronagh McAtasney (Newry Chapter), Cara Duffy (Louth Chapter), Michelle Mayne (Monaghan Chapter) and Ola Sobiera (Mid Ulster Chapter), together with Compere Sheila Reilly and Joanne Jennings, Head of Programmes Politics Plus


Next Chapter Funding Body SEUPB and inivted Stakeholders, together with Speaker Broangh Hinds
(L-R) Dr Hannah Russell Northern Ireland Human Rights Council, Jonna Monaghan Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform, Bronagh Hinds former Women’s Coalition and Leanne Massey from Special EU Programmes Body, funding body for The Next Chapter project



Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD together with Monaghan schoolgirls
(L-R) Ellen Flynn, Evelyn McCaul and Heather Humphreys TD



The Next Chapter Project Team – Politics Plus (Lead Partner), Irish Rural Link (Partner and Event Host) and Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) (Partner)
(L-R) Mirjam Bader Project Manager Politics Plus, Christine Darrah Executive Director Politics Plus, Joanne Jennings Head of Programmes Politics Plus, Adrianne Peltz Regional Coordinator Politics Plus, Alex De La Torre Regional Coordinator Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action, Claire Rushe Regional Coordinator Irish Rural Link and Liz Beaton Communications Lead Politics Plus.