Irish School of Ecumenics (Belfast)
Welcome to our website
Committed to applied research at the intersection of politics, theology and religion, ISE offers research degrees (M.Litt. and Ph.D.) and taught M.Phil. degrees in Ecumenical Studies, International Peace Studies and Reconciliation Studies as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Conflict and Dispute Resolution Studies. Our programmes are internationally recognised as providing ground-breaking, research-driven immersion in the field.
The School is located on two campuses: in Milltown Park, Dublin (three miles from the main TCD campus) and on Antrim Road, Belfast (three miles from the city centre). The Ecumenical Studies, International Peace Studies and Conflict and Dispute Resolution Studies programmes are based in Dublin and the Reconciliation Studies programme is taught in Belfast. In addition, students at ISE may avail of the student services offered by Trinity College in Dublin, and the many other benefits to students of Ireland’s oldest university.
In additional to our postgraduate programmes ISE also has broad outreach programmes and projects. ISE has a continuing education programme in Northern Ireland and a Regional Ecumenical Officer in the Munster Area, Republic of Ireland. Two current projects which grew out of Moving Beyond Sectarianism, a major five year ISE research project, are SEED (Sustained Education Encouraging Diversity) and Partners in Transformation, a joint project with Mediation Northern Ireland.
The Irish School of Ecumenics (ISE) is an institute within Trinity College Dublin. ISE offers M.Phil. (course work and dissertation) degrees and research degrees (Ph.D. and M.Litt.) in Ecumenical Studies, International Peace Studies and Reconciliation Studies. Also available is a evening postgraduate Diploma in Conflict and Dispute Resolution Studies.
Our programmes are taught in an dynamic environment that fosters intellectual and scholarly discussion and learning using interdisciplinary approaches to the subject matters. In addition to a core curriculum that gives students a solid knowledge base in the field, each programme allows for specialisation. Courses in the three programmes are open to all students which allows them to pursue their academic interests. In addition to our permanent academic staff and visiting lecturers, there are regular guest lecturers and visitors from around the world who visit ISE, adding to the international flavour of the School.
ISE also has extensive and expanding Continuing Education programmes both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland. The School is also involved in a number of research and outreach projects.
ISE is located on two campuses: Milltown Park in Dublin (three miles from the main TCD campus) and Antrim Road in Belfast (three miles from the city centre). The Ecumenical Studies and International Peace Studies programmes are taught in Dublin as is the Conflict and Dispute Resolution Studies programme.
Our Belfast building houses the Reconciliation Studies programme, Education for Reconciliation programme – The Continuing Education programme in Northern Ireland, Partners in Transformation Project, and Transforming Sectarianism Project.
The School was founded in 1970 by Dr. Michael Hurley SJ and for many years has had a close association with Trinity College Dublin, leading to its full integration into the College on 1 January 2001.
ISE is an international academic institute, Christian in its inspiration and ethos, interdenominational in structure and personnel. The School exists to promote through research, teaching and outreach activities the unity of Christians, dialogue between religions, and work for peace and justice in Ireland and abroad. Our resources are available to churches and other appropriate bodies committed to unity, dialogue and peace. Interdisciplinary and interdenominational in its teaching approach, ISE is a place where there is groundbreaking study and research on Christian unity, interfaith dialogue, peace, and reconciliation.
Applied research is at the heart of the School’s work, with students addressing through their theses crucial issues facing governments, the major religions, NGOs and peace organisations in our world today. By their interaction with staff and with each other, valuable work at the cutting edge of ecumenical, peace and reconciliation studies is being undertaken which can only be to the benefit of society in the future. Striving for excellence in our academic activities has undergirded the School’s success so far. ISE is committed to maintaining this excellence.
Study at ISE has proved to be a catalyst of change in graduates’ lives, personally and professionally, enabling them to encounter new people and to make friendships across boundaries of denomination, culture, gender, ideology, religion and nationality. Energy, vitality and imagination are key words in outlining the distinctive character of ISE.
Our students come from diverse backgrounds, bringing with them a vast array of work and life experiences. ISE students come from all around the world, bringing with them energy and vitality to the programmes which is at least as important as the teaching and research work. Almost all students agree that ISE is a memorable learning experience for them. Over the years, several students have held Rotary and World Council of Churches’ scholarships as well as other prestigious awards. In 2000-2001, we had an inaugural George Mitchell Scholar in the International Peace Studies programme.
Our Continuing Education programmes in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland are steadily expanding with increasingly more local communities contacting ISE to start new courses.
We are being recognised increasingly as the major resource in Ireland for research, study and application of ecumenical, peace and reconciliation work and the demand for our services continues to grow.
Moving Beyond Sectarianism, a major ISE research project, recently concluded and published its findings in October 2001. The book, Moving Beyond Sectarianism: Religion, Conflict and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland, is now available through our Dublin office. This research project proved to be very successful in its appeal to local communities and organisations seeking to address issues of sectarianism.
Creating sustainable dissemination of project insights has been a major concern of the MBS research project. With this in mind, ISE through the Transforming Sectarianism project developed attractive, accessible educational materials based on the findings of Moving Beyond Sectarianism for use in a range of key sectors – the senior secondary schools and youth sectors and continuing education sector. The MBS Educational Resources Materials for Young Adults and Continuing Education are now available through our Belfast office. This project, Transforming Sectarianism, will continue with Yvonne Naylor, the author of the educational materials for young adults, who is working with schools and youth sector for a further period.
Another fruit from the MBS research project has been the Partners in Transformation project which began in 2001. The aim of this 5-year project is to enhance, nurture, and support the capacity of churches and faith communities in their calling to be peacebuilders and agents of transformation and is a joint initiative with the Mediation Network for Northern Ireland (MNNI). This project grew out of the realisation that there is an overriding need for systemic work with church leadership teams around generating new agendas and strategies for peacebuilding.
ISE has had the privilege of welcoming many distinguished visitors to the School over the years. Among these visitors were: Dr. Mary Robinson, President of Ireland (1990-1997); Dr. Mary McAleese, President of Ireland; Mrs. Jean Kennedy Smith, US Ambassador to Ireland; Dr. Donald Shriver, Professor Emeritus, Union Theological Seminary (NYC); Dr. Konrad Raiser, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches; Mr. Richard Bruton, TD, Fine Gael; His Excellency Ivor Roberts, British Ambassador to Ireland; HRH Prince Michael of Kent; and Rev. Fr. Michael Lapsley SSM, Director of the Institute for Healing of Memories, South Africa.
Additionally, ISE has welcomed visitors from various churches, ecumenical groups, church organisations, seminaries, and other academic institutions from throughout the world. ISE also has regular visits from leaders of various Christian churches and bodies in Ireland.
Over the years, ISE has organised significant conferences on interchurch marriages, human rights, and international security. Most recently, ISE organised conferences and public lectures on “Religions and the Politics of Peace and Conflict”, “A Place for All? Comparing Civil Society in Scotland and Northern Ireland”, “ECUMENISM: Facing the Reality, Renewing the Vision”, “FOR YOU WERE STRANGERS: Towards an Ecumenical Response to Refugees and Racism”, ” THE ENVIRONMENT: The Endangered Species’ from Christian and Islamic Perspectives” and “HIV/AIDS: The Global Situation and the Christian Churches”. Recent books edited by staff members arose from conferences on Reconciling Memories (in the Irish conflict and elsewhere), and on The Theological and Political Dimensions of Religious Pluralism, and Ethics in International Affairs.
Committed to the urgent work of Christian unity, peace, and reconciliation on this island and around the world, ISE has developed an exciting and imaginative set of new and expanded projects and initiatives. These are designed to meet some of the major challenges and opportunities in ecumenical, peace and reconciliation work which will characterise the opening decades of the new Millennium.
Continuing Education Program
For more information please visit the website.