The Office of the President and the College of Liberal Arts at Fairmont State University are pleased to announce the return of Reverend Dr. Gary Mason to campus. Mason, the founder of Rethinking Conflict, a UK based non-profit working in the field of conflict transformation, peace building and reconciliation, will conduct a series of lectures, seminars, and a panel discussion rooted in his experience with the peace process in Northern Ireland. As an ordained Methodist Minister, Mason previously served as Superintendent of the East Belfast Methodist Mission and led the building of the largest faith-based community economic development project in Europe.
Over the years Mason has worked with both Republican and Loyalist communities in peace building and reconciliation. He has facilitated dialogue between these groups on numerous occasions. Behind the scenes he has taken part in discussions with those wedded to violence in Northern Irish society, trying to present an alternative way to resolve their differences.
Mason first engaged with Sinn Fein in the late 1980's and has maintained these relationships for almost three decades. In 1992 to 1999, along with a Catholic Dominican sister, he developed the Forth-spring Community Project. This community center in West Belfast, allowed the communities to come together during some of the darkest days of the conflict. He was instrumental in facilitating negotiations with paramilitaries and government officials and in 2007, his contribution was formally recognized by the Queen.
On Tuesday, September 11, Dr. Mason will present “Responding to Terrorism: Lessons from Northern Ireland” at 12:30 p.m. in the conference area on the top floor of the Falcon Center. He will repeat this presentation at 7:00 p.m. in the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center.
On Wednesday, September 12, Dr. Mason will speak to the Women’s Studies Colloquium on women’s roles in peacemaking in Northern Ireland from 12:00 to 12:50 p.m. in Jayne’s Hall, room 304. At 7:00 p.m., Mason will join Fairmont State University faculty in a discussion about the campus book HillbillyElegyby J.D. Vance. The panel discussion will be in the Folklife Center.
On Thursday, September 13, Dr. Mason will speak on the changing Irish culture in the Falcon Center conference area at 12:30 p.m.
Mason holds a Ph.D. from the School of Psychology at the University of Ulster. He completed his theological studies at Queens University and holds a Bachelor’s degree in business studies from the University of Ulster.
These events are free and open to the public.