Register for a 3-day online conference focusing on Education in Divided Societies

Join us on 29-31 March for a 12-hour conference with the Centre for Shared Education at Queen's University Belfast to learn from local and international experts on education in divided societies. 

Across three days (3 workshops x 4 hours comprising 2 mornings and an afternoon) teachers will have the opportunity to network with each other and international contributors, and to engage with speakers. Participants will also be facilitated to develop an action plan for future operationalisation of ideas and approaches in their own contexts.  

A pre-meeting pack of key readings on the programme themes will be distributed to participants prior to the event. 

This workshop is suitable for teachers in both primary and post-primary sectors who are keen to engage with the topic and have an interest in developing the work within their schools. The event is free and will be delivered on Zoom. For more information, please contact

 *Please note spaces are limited to 25 participants - attendees of the conference will be given priority for future international study visits around the theme of education in divided societies*

Click on the drop-down menu below for a breakdown of the 3-days:

Day 1: The role of education in divided societies

This session will consider the potential for education to affect change in deeply divided societies. Drawing on theory and empirical evidence from across the world, it will set the context for understanding both the importance of focussing on schools and the education system as mechanisms for peace building, and the barriers and limitations of doing so.  

This session will include input from Professor Tony Gallagher, who has published extensively on the role of education in divided societies, as well as input from international colleagues involved in the development of education initiatives in 2 divided societies. 


Issues to be covered: 

  • The development of mass education systems 
  • Dealing with difference and equality, multiculturalism and interculturalism 
  • Comparative examination of education structures and their impact on majority-minority relations
  • Case study contributions from speakers from 2 of the following jurisdictions: Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, Kosovo 

Day 2: Contact initiatives for promoting better relations in societies emerging from conflict

Drawing on the experience of Northern Ireland and other post-conflict societies, this session will examine the evidence for structural and policy interventions designed to improve relations between divided communities. Professor Joanne Hughes will present an overview of contact theory and review of the evidence for integrated and shared education in Northern Ireland and intergroup encounter programmes in other jurisdictions. Speakers, possibly from Israel and the US will present on efforts to adapt the shared education model for use in other divided contexts.  


Issues to be covered: 

  • Contact theory, conditions for effective contact 
  • Separate schools versus common schools 
  • The Northern Ireland model of shared education and its adaptation in other contexts, including input from colleagues in 2 of the following:  
  • Israel, Kosovo, United States 

Day 3: Curriculum based interventions for promoting democratic citizenship

This session will consider local, national, and international policies and practices that are designed to enhance understanding of citizenship and promote critical engagement with one’s own and other cultures, beliefs, and historical and political narratives. Drawing on international policy and guidance materials, best practice models will be considered alongside the difficulties associated with implementation of these in deeply divided contexts. Focusing on the history curriculum, colleagues from Lebanon, Israel and NI will explore the barriers and enablers to delivering a curriculum for a range of historical narratives, whilst developing the critical thinking skills that can assist students in navigating these.  


Issues to be covered: 

  • Models of curriculum practice 
  • Avoidance 
  • Singular, dominant narrative 
  • Separate narratives in separate schools 
  • Parallel narratives 
  • Negotiated narrative 
  • Multi-perspectival approach 
  • Skills-based approach, content free 
  • Teaching controversial issues 
  • Teaching history 
  • Teaching citizenship