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""I didn't realise how much history there is involving Ireland and World War 1. This experience has taught me a lot and really opened my eyes, and I hope to take this experience back home and use it to teach others what it's all about""Sean, Community Worker



The International School for Peace Studies via it's Schools-Links Programme and various other project initiatives engages large numbers of school children from all over the Island of Ireland in peace programmes, peace projects and study visits to the Flanders area.

On their return home, the young people contribute directly to the development of a new peaceful society, where people in Ireland can live side by side and where differences are accepted and respected.

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A Heartwarming Experience

The following account comes from Susan Keown, Head of History, Lisneal College.

"Off to Belgium for six days - what were my expectations?

At least it would be a welcome break and an opportunity to see the battlefields I had taught about for 13 years. At best it would mature the pupils, enlighten them to the huge loss of life and give them a chance to experience it with pupils from another tradition.

I was not prepared for the major life change these pupils were about to undergo. The young people went to Messines as one kind of person and come back another, fired up to promote change and tolerance in their own country.

The Messines programme is so meticulously thought out that those who take part in the six days are taken on a journey which describes and explains the horror of war, the huge loss of life and tells the true stories of Nationalist and Unionist, Protestant and Catholic - how they fought side by side, how they supported each other against the common enemy and how some tried to save each other.

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