Jo Berry (England)
Sixteen years after her father was killed by an IRA bomb, Jo Berry first met with the man responsible, Pat Magee. This initial three hour meeting led them speaking on over a hundred and fifty occasions, on a shared platform, to bring a message of understanding and peace. Jo advocates that empathy is the biggest weapon we have to end conflict. With political, religious and racial divides deepening as global and local events unfold, her words offer a message of hope and encourage us all to see the humanity in others. She founded a charity, ‘Building Bridges for Peace’ which works to resolve conflict around the world. Jo is frequently invited to address international conferences and seminars on themes of humanitarian aid, conflict resolution and human rights. She is a trained facilitator in storytelling, conflict transformation and restorative justice. She has worked with Pat Magee in areas of conflict including Lebanon and Rwanda, Ireland, Palestine and Israel as well as throughout the U.K. She has spoken in venues throughout this country and joined panels and discussions forums on radio and TV. Jo is currently writing her book and she has just been made a visiting fellow with the University of Nottingham Research Priority Area in Rights and Justice.
Dr Patrick Magee (Northern Ireland)
Dr Patrick Magee (photo: left with Jo Berry) was released from prison in 1999 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. Whilst in prison he completed a PhD examining the representation of Irish Republicans in ‘Troubles’ fiction. For 27 years he was a committed member of the IRA and remains a Republican. In November 2000 he agreed to meet Jo Berry, whose father had been killed along with four others in the IRA’s attack on the Grand Hotel, Brighton in 1984. Since then they have met on more than 150 occasions, in the UK, the North of Ireland and overseas. Although Pat carries the burden of knowing he had caused Jo profound hurt, they continue to explore their common humanity, recognising that war robs combatants of what it is to be human, of an essential capacity to empathise and to see the world through the eyes of others.
Celia Demoor (France)
Celia Demoor recently started her career as a peace and conflict worker. After completing her Master’s degree in Peace, Conflict, and Development Studies, she decided to return to her community in the north of France. Her multiple experiences abroad have shaped her political awareness and cultural sensitivity. She now teaches English language, interculturality and civic engagement at Lille University. She is also the founder and director of DEEP France, a member of the DEEP International Network (Dialogue, Empathic Engagement, and Peacebuilding), a global network of peace practitioners across the globe. Her research and professional focus encompass migration, post-coloniality, and intercultural dialogue. She intends to do a PhD in this field in the near future.
Dr Brahim Hammouche (France)
Born in Algeria (Kabylia), Dr Brahim Hammouche went to France in 1973, where he settled in Lorraine. He lives in a region hit hard by the crisis in the steel industry and unemployment. He is therefore receptive to the questions posed by the forum regarding Europe. Married with three children, he is a doctor specializing in psychiatry and geriatrics. He takes an active role in the Moselle Federation of the Human Rights League. He is also a member of Moselle’s Departmental Council and a candidate in the French legislative elections. In politics he draws his inspiration from Jean Monnet's phrase: "What is important is neither to be optimistic nor pessimistic, but to be determined." His goal is to foster an inter-generational sharing by associating young talents and experienced elders.
Dr Abderrahmane Hedjoudje (MD/MSE) is a radiologist and biomedical researcher, social entrepreneur and president of The Créa' Team Factory, an association promoting culture and access to knowledge for the mainstream public. He is the writer of several audiovisual projects including the award winning documentary Californian Muslims. His goal is to mix science, culture and technology to bring education and edutainment to a creative and uplifting level.
Olena Kashkarova (Ukraine)
Olena Kashkarova is a Ukrainian with Russian family background. She became involved in IofC work through its programme for Eastern Europe ‘Foundations for Freedom’ in 2001 and traveled within Europe, to South-East Asia, Latin America and USA with different IofC initiatives. For three years she coordinated development of the training platform and community house in Baranivka village in Central Ukraine. Her major interest lies in dialogue work, especially in Ukraine between people of different background and political views. She started the work through ‘Healing the Past’ project, which explored different understanding of history as a root of conflict in the Ukrainian society, initiated dialogues between people of different political views during Maidan revolution in 2013-14 and worked for UN Programme for Development as a Specialist on Reconciliation. She studies Non-Violent Communication and explores Embodiment practices to develop an integral approach to dialogue. Olga is currently part of the network of facilitators from Foundations for Freedom.