Mesen (Flemish)/Messines (English), Belgium, was the location of a battle, which proved pivotal in the first World War, and which resulted in huge losses of members of the Nationalist 16th Irish and the Unionist 36th Ulster Divisions.
Because of other events in Ireland at that time and since, the sacrifice of some of those who died have never being recognised.
The projects now proposed to commemorate all those who fell in the battle of Mesen/Messines and all those from all parts of the Island of Ireland, who were lost in the war by establishing a major Peace and Reconciliation initiative in that area.
The Main Objectives of the Project are:
- To encourage as many individuals and organisations, especially those at the interfaces in Northern Ireland, to participate in discussions regarding the involvement of people from both communities and both parts of Ireland in the 1st World War.
- To use the historical event of the Nationalist 16th Irish and Unionist 36th Ulster Divisions fighting side by side at the battle of Messines Ridge in June 1917 as a catalyst for creating an environment of tolerance and understanding leading to reconciliation and the acceptance of differences throughout the Britain and Ireland.
- To encourage those of influence and potential leaders from both communities to engage in the Conflict Resolution and Mediation Skills Programme through the International School for Peace Studies in Messines.
- To engage those leaders and young people in the design of Conflict Resolution and Meditation Skills educational programmes.
- To be a neutral location/facility for Peace and Political discussion and development for areas in conflict throughout the World.
- To be a location/facility for all the people of Ireland to visit and stay, undertake study tours and participate in programmes organised by the Peace School.
- To encourage cultural developments which support the Peace Developments in Northern Ireland and the Republic.