Teen attending U.S Conference

Eileen's Granddad - David Graham and her Granny Eileen (since remarried and now Johnston).
Eileen's Granddad - David Graham and her Granny Eileen (since remarried and now Johnston).

A Cookstown teenager has travelled to the United States to take part in a peacebuilding event, as her family prepare to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the death of her grandfather at the hands of terrorists.

Nineteen-year-old Danielle Hamilton, whose family are involved with the umbrella organisation Innocent Victims United, went to Washington DC last week to take part in Project Common Bond’s winter programme.

Danielle’s grandfather David Graham was shot by the Provisional IRA on March 15, 1977, at his place of work in Coalisland, Co Tyrone.

Ten days later, on March 25, he died from his injuries.

The conference-style programme which Danielle attended was specifically planned for those who are interested in active and sustainable peacebuilding, building upon practical leadership, conflict negotiation and resolution skills.

Sessions will follow the thread of the Dignity model, while also offering trainings to empower participants to use their experience and knowledge to make a difference in their communities and lend their voices to the countering violent extremism (CVE) movement.

It is acknowledged by the management of Tuesday’s Children organisation that the Project Common Bond community have powerful points of view.

Danielle has attended PCB Conferences on two other occasions but this scholarship will help her enhance her ability to contribute to the conference workshops and offer her experiences in relation to the long term effects of terrorism even after 40 years. She will also be making a special visit to the Irish Embassy in Washington as part of a PCB delegation.

Danielle said: “I am privileged to once again be in a position to attend a Project Common Bond Conference, it is so important that I and others continue our journey of development around these issues which plague so many nations - how justice, truth and accountability can be delivered whilst also moving our people’s forward in a genuine spirit of peace and reconciliation.

“Northern Ireland has not yet mastered how to do so - we have failed and continue to fail victims and survivors and we have phony peace without reconciliation.

“I hope that I will learn some useful tools whilst in the U.S which will assist me to better contribute to the objective of healing Northern Ireland’s society.”