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Civic Engagement


ISE students at R CITY cross-community youth project in Ardoyne, North Belfast.

Trinity College Dublin has a long and important tradition of outreach and community engagement. Through this type of activity Trinity remains connected with society in manifold and mutually enriching ways. ISE shares in this wider aim of our university and we have our own unique history of civic engagement. Our current civic engagement includes:

Service Learning and Community Learning Internships

As part of their course, ISE students have the opportunity to undertake work placements. Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (Belfast) students may undertake placements with a community organisation working in grassroots peacebuilding/social justice. This is an assessed module (10 ECTS) and allows students to gain real-world experience of community work in Northern Ireland and to make a contribution to the vital activities of the groups involved. Organisations which have hosted ISE Belfast students in the past include the Committee for the Administration of Justice, Clonard Monastery's reconciliation programme, Turas Irish language centre, WAVE Trauma Centre, R CITY youth project, and Healing Through Remembering.

A video made by CRR student Kelsey Hanson about her placement with the Turas project

ISE students in Dublin have the opportunity to do a 3-6 month internship with a number of local and European NGOs. The internship module was introduced in ISE Dublin 2011 and has proved a huge success ever since. Internships (un-paid) may be taken for credits (10ECTS) as an assessed module as a formal part of the MPhil programme, or on a non-assessed basis. Most internships are in areas of human rights, gender, refugees/migration/trafficking, peace-building and inter-religious dialogue. Students have been placed with NGOs such as Frontline Defenders Dublin, UNICEF Dublin, Plan International Dublin, Global Action Plan Dublin, Peacedirect London, CFOR London, Henry Martyn Institute India, KSM Seoul, as well as the UN Geneva. For further information please see

In addition, ISE recently partnered with the Al Quds University Human Rights Clinic (Palestine), becoming the first school in Trinity College Dublin, to formally sign an MOU with a Palestinian academic institution. The MOU has developed close ties with interns being selected from across the school to take part in a human rights internship in Palestine, engaging in documentation of human rights violations in and around the old city of Jerusalem. Recent interns have reflected on their experiences here and here.

Dean's Awards for Volunteering

Dr Annah Nyadombo was included in the first ever TCD Dean's Awards for Volunteering (previously called Roll of Honour) for her work on challenging stigma around HIV-AIDS in Zimbabwe. Ceri Wallington, an International Peace Studies student, was also included in the 2012 awards for her voluntary work with Ruhama (an NGO working with women in prostitution). In 2013, Alan McGovern, a Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation student, was honoured for helping to establish the Tania McCabe Foundation (to raise money to donate specialised equipment that is required for premature babies). In 2014 Sonja Huttunen (International Peace Studies) was included in the awards for establishing the highly successful new student society for International Affairs (SofIA).

Field Visits

Field visits take a number of forms throughout the year. ISE Masters students participate in various field trips such as trips to the UN Geneva and Belfast. The MPhil's location in Belfast in the midst of a society recovering from violent conflict presents invaluable opportunities for students to engage directly with places and people that have been closest to the conflict and peace processes. See details of Belfast field trip 2017.

Staff Outreach

ISE also seeks to make an impact on its social context via the activities of its academic staff. Through public events, media contributions, collaborations with civil society groups, diplomats and the policy community, ISE academic staff endeavour to harness their expertise to further peace, justice and reconciliation. For example, ISE staff are on boards of civil society organisations including Healing Through Remembering, Action from Ireland (AfrI), Trocaire, International Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO), Irish Forum for Peace in Sri Lanka, Christian Aid. Staff are actively involved in public policy and societal impact activities through dissemination of their research, for example on Palestine-Israel, trafficking and gender, Ethics and societal challenges, inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue, Brexit and Northern Ireland. For up to date information on ISE civic engagement follow the news section.

In 2018, Dr Brendan CiarĂ¡n Browne was nominated (and subsequently shortlisted) for the inaugural Trinity College Dublin civic engagement award for his extensive civic engagement and outreach with Palestinian organisations across the West Bank. More information can be found here.

Internship Experience: Nathalie De Hertog (2016-2017)


Through the International Peace Studies course I had the opportunity to opt for the internship module, whereby I applied for an internship at the United Nations (UN Information Service. Through the International Peace Studies course I had already developed a great extent of background knowledge regarding sustainable peace, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Agenda 2030, which I could apply to the internship and facilitated my learning.

Last updated 13 June 2018 by Irish School of Ecumenics (Email).