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Is There a Common Good?

To mark its fiftieth anniversary the Irish School of Ecumenics is developing a new programme for Northern Ireland and the Border Counties entitled:
Is There a Common Good?

The framing of the programme is around a question to allow community participants the opportunity to vision and shape a response. The Irish School of Ecumenics is not providing answers or being prescriptive but putting the question to the community.

The common good is about sharing the good things of life in common. It is an ethical vision for our society and world that takes seriously our responsibility to, and for, each other. It is concerned with the values we live by, and the consequences of how we live; not only for ourselves and other people, but importantly for other life forms, and the planet. The vision of the common good will evolve as participants engage with the programme. This approach is crucial to the programme’s community educational methodology, which will seek to model participative and deliberative democracy.

The programme is contextual and will take account of the current realities and challenges we are living with, including Covid 19, Brexit, the need for eco-sufficiency to protect the world we inhabit, and for global justice.

In year 1 (2021) we will be addressing the question of the common good in the context of the past history of violence on the island of Ireland from 1969 to 1998. In year 2 (2022) the question of the common good will be explored through the lens of the contemporary situation. The final year (2023) will engage more directly with the question as it relates to a future vision.

The programme will be delivered through Zoom in the first two years and reviewed. If it is safe to do so, in year three the programme will be rolled out in the community. The question: Is There a Common Good? will be explored from interdisciplinary perspectives – historical, political, economic, religious, environmental, ethical, cultural, psychological, social and legal - to ensure a holistic approach.

Thematic inputs provided by those invited to contribute to the community education programme, and insights shared by course participants, will become the basis of two publications and an educational resource. The hope is that an articulated vision of the common good will contribute to a changing Ireland and the building of a shared and reconciled future. The research may potentially inform thinking and action within the Irish School of Ecumenics and contribute to the development of a future community education programme in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties.

For more information please contact the Programme Director, Dr Cathy Higgins: