From 6-8 March 2012, NDC Skopje represented by Project Manager Veton Zekolli participated at the inaugural conference on Integrated and Peace Education: Global Network for Practice and Research, organized by the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education in partnership with the Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The conference brought together an international network of academics, non-governmental organizations and practitioners working in the field of integrated education. Staff from Israel, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Macedonia, Croatia and Cyprus discussed their experiences and challenges in developing integrated education in their own regions.

The overall goal of the conference was to share international initiatives for integrated education as part of peace and social cohesion efforts. According to the agenda, the first day sessions were dedicated to the challenges of establishing integrated education initiatives in divided societies.
Veton Zekolli, represented NDC Skopje with a presentation which illustrated the perspectives, challenges and experience of the organization in developing and establishing integrated education initiatives in Macedonia.

During the second day of the conference, the participants visited Belfast integrated schools and tour sites. One of the schools visited was the first integrated post primary school –the Lagan College in Belfast where the participants had the opportunity to learn more about the tradition and the development process of this educational institution. The closing day of the conference was dedicated to exploring the idea and the possibility for establishing an international network for practice and research in integrated education that will provide support for each other and for societies planning integrated education initiatives. In addition, all the experiences and perspectives presented at the conference will be featured in a joint publication that will be issued in the future.

Dr Clarie McGlynn from the Queen’s University said the event was an opportunity to bring together the pioneers of integrated education from divided societies to share their knowledge and experience.

“Gaining knowledge about others facing similar issues, gains you perspective- and even more important- knowledge of other people’s problems and solutions” – said Dr. Zvi Bekerman, Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.