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First Teaching International speaker for Fall 2012 on Northern Ireland conflict

9/21/2012 —

An expert on Northern Ireland spoke about the conflict to open the Fall 2012 speaker series for Teaching International. Dr. Tony Novosel's talk, "From Civil Rights to Civil War and Back: Northern Ireland 1967-1994," examined the long-standing issues in this region.

According to Dr. Novosel, the historical and political situation in Northern Ireland is “loaded” emotionally for many Americans of Irish descent and for those who see the conflict in terms of Imperialism and Colonialism and the fight of a “small nation to be free and united.” However, he believes that this conflict was/is much more complicated than simple slogans, such as “Brits Out” or “No Surrender.” His talk analyzed this period and its actors in all their complexity. As part of the discussion, he also addressed the question, “Do you ever talk to Terrorists?”

Dr. Novosel teaches in the History Department at Pitt. Since 1974, he has traveled regularly to Northern Ireland. Over the past five years, he has worked with grassroots organizations in Belfast. He recently completed a book, Northern Ireland's Lost Opportunity: The Frustrated Promise of Political Loyalism, to be published in 2013.

Teaching International began in 2004 to promote greater awareness of global trends and civic engagement and to broaden students' understanding of intercultural and international issues. This year's focus on the Celtic Nations, defined as Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Isle of Man, and Cornwall. The accompanying theme for the year is water, which not only is related to sustainability issues, but to broader themes such as human rights.

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