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What kind of future can we build in the context of Brexit? How will our lives change as the influence of the West, including the United States, declines while that of Asia grows in the years to come? Can we meet the challenges of globalisation without resorting to hard borders and the building of walls? What do the events of 500 years ago teach us about reform and renewal?
These are some of the questions which will be raised and discussed at a day conference at the Killyhevlin Hotel on Friday 23rd September, organised by the Fermanagh Churches Forum with the support of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.
Part of Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week, the conference is titled Building The Future Together: Embracing and Celebrating Our Global Citizenship. The main speaker will be Dr. Johnston McMaster of the Irish School of Ecumenics, an inspiring and energising writer and speaker well-known to many in Fermanagh. There will be the opportunity for participants to share their insights in small workshops and open discussion, and the ethos of the event will be inclusive, respectful and positive.
All are very welcome to the conference, which begins and 10am and ends at 4pm, including lunch and refreshments. It is free of charge, but booking is necessary for catering purposes: please contact Eileen Gallagher at email@example.com by Monday 19th September.
The day conference is a partnership between the Fermanagh Churches Forum and the local District Council. The Community Relations Week theme will be explored in a much wider context than Northern Ireland. There is a formidable challenge to building a future after the European referendum. What kind of future do we build in the context of Brexit? All has changed and no one really knows what will change in the years ahead for Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the European Union. And the future will be built in a world of geopolitical change, tectonic shifts, with the West in decline and the East on the rise.
Brexit is not the game changer but one of the symptoms of a Europe which is no longer a world power, shaping the politics and economics of the planet, and of a US no longer sure of its place in the world, a superpower on the way down. For the West it is a disturbing time with neonationalism and narrow ethnocentrism on the increase, and the desire for hard borders and building of walls.
The Conference will try to avoid a Northern Ireland focus turned in on itself, and to explore the building of the future within global horizons and citzenship. With the European Union under question there will be an exploration of the moral foundations of the EU, to curb excessive nationalism, outlaw war, a social justice basis and a peace and reconciliation praxis.
In the second session of the conference attention will be given to the global dynamic of Easternisation, with which we will increasingly live. The future is Asia and this will impact our politics, economics, culture and perception of ourselves as a people. In this context attention will be given to pooled sovereignty and the major global challenges which no single nation can resolve. The common good and global Citzenship will be explored and critical questions will be raised as to whether our past in Ireland and it’s competing ideologies are any longer relevant in a radically changing world. We may need new political and economic models.
Some brief attention will be given to a slogan that emerged from the heart of Europe 500 years ago next year : reformed, always to be reformed. It was and is more than a slogan, but a dynamic for continuous reform and renewal. Does this emphasis on continuous reform have implications for Brussels, London, Dublin and Belfast and their political and economic structures, systems and institutions? The conference may have more future questions than answers but hopefully a larger perspective on interconnectedness, global vision and citzenship, a shared humanness and neighbourliness, and a commitment to champion, nurture and struggle for our common, eco-human good.