Pretani Associates Ltd is based in Northern Ireland and the directors are Helen Brooker and Dr Ian Adamson OBE. Their work focuses on building stability for societies by explaining, promoting and remembering Common Identity.
Both directors are originally from a health professional background but have spent many years working within the community on inter-community projects such as The Somme Association and Belmont Tower in a voluntary capacity.
Time spent working on their respective projects and on others together highlighted the feeling of isolation felt by many communities and the fear that division and tensions were not only persisting, but were growing, despite the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998. For many people there is still a poor quality of life as they continue to suffer from pain created by recent conflict.
Problems such as ‘failure to thrive’ both on a personal and societal level have become hidden. Coping with the loss of loved ones, possibly coupled with the difficulty of living with injuries. These problems can lead to increased suicide at worst, and at best, not feeling any real peace dividend.
The perception persists that it is key areas within Northern Ireland that are causing these on-going problems. However, is this perception simply masking the extent of the problem and the cause of the divisions?
Pretani Associates are now working within many communities in Northern Ireland introducing a new approach to help the peace process evolve, by explaining and promoting Common Identity. An approach that highlights that it is the need for cultural understanding which will remove cultural confusion, the ‘two sides’, and the respective branding allowing people to embrace a much broader perspective to their cultural past.
Viewing land and sea borders as cultural corridors will allow an understanding of those words and historical perceptions which seem to define and divide us. Cultural stability is the foundation for achieving economic and political stability. A shared future is only possible if there is an acceptance of a shared past – of our common identity.
Common identity offers a future all can embrace without fear of losing identity.
The fear of letting go of old thinking is real, so perhaps asking the question – “Do we want to remove branding and replace it with stability and an acceptable quality of life for all in our ‘wee’ country?” – will allow us to start the ‘Common Identity’ journey together which begins with…
We are all human being with the potential to listen to conscience and always ask…
Does it feel right?
The following are some examples of the inter-community events attended, supported or organised by Pretani Associates from 2013.
2013 –The Ullans Academy, a community based group from Belfast, host an historic inter-community event in the Great Hall in Belfast City Hall on 23rd November 2013. Helen Brooker as Chair 2013 was delighted when over 300 guests attended and Dr Ian Adamson OBE, President of the Ullans Academy and the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, agreed to speak at the event. Both gave very inspiring speeches concerning Common Christianity and Columbanus
Dr Ian Adamson OBE said “Columbanus is only one example of someone who represented Common Christianity. The ‘Feast of Columbanus’ event aims to improve understanding of one aspect of our rich cultural heritage by presenting a broader perspective of Irish history.”
“Only in the complete expression of our common identity lies the basis of that genuine peace, stamped with the hallmark of justice, goodness and truth, which will end forever the war in Ireland.”