BCA’s Signature Courses focus student learning on cross-cultural awareness and trans-disciplinary study through traditional classroom learning and in-field experiences. Much of this learning incorporates meaningful and direct contact with local people whose lives are entwined with and affected by the issues we examine. Enrollment in a Signature Course is required for all students participating in a BCA program.
Understanding Conflict: The Irish Experience- An interdisciplinary, problem-oriented Peace and Conflict Studies (3 credits)
This is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented Peace and Conflict Studies course (in Ireland called a module). It addresses the problem of how humans manage conflict, in order to instill an understanding of the nature and impact of conflict in society. The module will use the prism of the long and supposedly intractable conflict in Ireland as the basis and primary case study to elucidate the issues involved. This approach will maximize the benefit of being on the ground in Ireland to give the material a unique authenticity, immediacy and relevance.
The module unites the emphasis on conflict as a process of social interaction with practical examples drawn from Irish experience. By looking at the Irish conflict from historical, political, sociological and international perspectives, students will explore how it is possible to move from a situation of violent conflict towards a transformative peace.
The overall matrix and rubric of the module entails a period of field-work in the divided society of Belfast, backed by interactive contextual lectures, workshops and seminars, field visits and extensive supervised independent study at Maynooth University, during the entire 15 week period of the taught semester. It will take advantage of being on the ground in Ireland both in the North (Belfast) and the South (Maynooth) to analyze the experience of “the troubles” and the Irish peace process.
The module will include investigation of the impact of grassroots community peace and how local events and situations are affected, positively and negatively by international factors. Consideration will be given to the etiology and dynamics of a sustainable peace process.
Teaching BCA’s Signature module is resident director, Dr. Kieran Doyle who is the Project Manager in the Edward M Kennedy Institute. He holds a PhD on Work Based Learning and Experiential Learning Systems. Within this role Kieran has day to day responsibility for the development and management of the Institute and develops Institute connectivity with the wider community.
The Institute honors the late Senator Edward M Kennedy for his lifelong commitment to justice, equality, human rights, education for all and environmental protection and in particular for his contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process. The Institute also honors what one could argue is his most remarkable achievement of all – his ability to articulate a future where the causes of conflict, however ingrained, can be transcended; a future where society, economics, education and politics are organized in ways that support individuals, groups, communities and nations to work together for the benefit of all. This is a future that the founders of the Institute, Professors Robert Galavan and Anne Ryan fully endorse and hope to play a part in realizing.