BY KERRY CAMPION
A delegation from NUS-USI, a representative body for over 200,000 students, met with Haas talks officials at the Europa Hotel on 9th October to discuss the pressing need for further integrated education in Northern Ireland.
The delegation met with Dr Meghan O’Sullivan, professor for Practice of International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School, and Charles Landow, an official at Dr Haas’s New York think tank.
The delegation emphasised the need for expanding integration to help dismantle the barriers of societal division.
NUS-USI President Rebecca Hall said: “We took the opportunity to discuss the central role that having all children educated together could play in delivering a shared future and cementing stability in Northern Ireland.
“NUS-USI plays a pioneering role in bringing students here together across the whole community to speak as one voice on issues that are important them collectively. We believe that more integrated education is the foundation stone essential to tackling societal division and delivering greater community cohesion.
Hall also commented on the need to expand upon integration on public spaces, as well as in education.
“We also outlined the importance of ensuring that all public space here is shared space. It is crucial that government and the authorities act to ensure that all public space is seen as, and maintained as, shared space. This is vital not just for community cohesion, but also to help in attracting more jobs and investment into Northern Ireland.
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Hall expressed her optimism at the possibility of a shared future in Northern Ireland, and extended her gratitude to the Haas officials.
“We had an extremely productive meeting with the Haass officials, and we would like to express our gratitude to them for giving their time to helping deliver positive progress in Northern Ireland.
“It is important that all the political parties here maintain a constructive outlook to ensure that a genuinely shared future can be created. The Haass talks provide an excellent opportunity for progress. The parties’ top priority should be building consensus and progress for the good of everyone here, and they should refrain from political grandstanding and points scoring.”