The International School for Peace Studies' Schools Links Project brings together students from throughout the island of Ireland by way of its "Messines Experience" programme, which takes place in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Belgium and France.
Students from participating schools are introduced to one another through a series of fun, exciting and enlightening activities, designed by our team of highly experienced trainers to promote positive relationships between the assorted participants.
During the programme students are given the opportunity to experience "living learning", meaning they are fully submerged in a world that allows them to explore their own and each other's past, present and shared future.
Through active participation in the programme, students learn about the key principles necessary in establishing a peaceful, all-encompassing, prosperous, stable and just society, built on the realization of interdependence, respect for diversity, tolerance, mutual trust, understanding, and the protection of equality for everyone.
The "Messines Experience" is not designed to change people's politics, persuasions or personal beliefs. Rather it offers a vision; one that rejects all forms of violence and advances peaceful dialogue as the only means of creating change.
All activities take place in safe, supportive, inclusive environments that enable students to acknowledge the existence of the various conflicts that affect their lives. At various stages they are provided with opportunities to freely discuss in a safe and sensitive manner what can be sensitive issues.
The programme does not seek to take learning out of the classroom, rather it seeks to enlarge and enhance the learning process. Students benefit in numerous practical ways - bringing subject matters alive, advancing social skills, encouraging cross-border and cross-cultural cooperation, implanting confidence and empowering students to achieve their aspirations and become active citizens at all levels.
Students completing the programme receive a nationally recognised qualification in the "Messines Experience" programme accredited by NIOCN at either levels 1, 2 or 3.