January 21, 2006

Academics and policy makers discuss the future of cross-border cooperation

At the final conference of the Mapping Frontiers project in Armagh on 19-20 January were (from left to right): Prof. John Coakley, Prof. Liam O’Dowd, Prof. Brendan O’Leary, Sir George Quigley and Andy Pollak

Over 80 academics, policy-makers and cross-border practitioners attended the Mapping Frontiers, Plotting Pathways end-of-projectconference in the Armagh City Hotel on 19-20 January 2006. The conference was opened by Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies and Sir George Quigley, Chairperson of the Institute of British Irish Studies.

The conference heard a number of keynote speakers beginning with Professor Brendan O’Leary of the University of Pennsylvania. He spoke on the various theories of partition and its 20th century application in various states including India, Ireland and Cyprus. The second lecture on Thursday was given by Professor Josiah Heyman of the University of Texas at El Paso who dealt with the shifting location of state borders when these functioned to regulate the movement of people or goods.

Prof. Brendan O’Leary of the University of Pennsylvania speaking at the conference

The conference held a series of parallel sessions where project members relayed their research findings to the audience. These sparked a number of lively discussions on, among other things, the reality of an ‘island economy’, the extent of cross-border labour mobility and the sustainability of voluntary sector cross-border cooperation.

The aim of the event was to cross the divide which often exists between academic research and policy makers. Several contributions from the audience commented on the success of the conference in achieving this aim and the final panel session focused on how this can be continued into the future.

The presentations are now available for download.

See further information on the Mapping Frontiers project.