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In late September, Fr. Nicholas accepted the invitation of the Northwest Academy to visit Northern Ireland and consider relocating one of JPB’s two-week, youth peace and leadership institutes there. Accompanying Fr. Nicholas on the visit was longtime JPB friend and volunteer, Dr. Peter Gascoyne.

A short flight from London landed them in Derry/Londonderry on the north coast of the island. The day was clear and sunny, and Northwest Academy hosts Francesca Giacomini and Magda wasted no time in introducing Fr. Nicholas and Dr. Peter to the history, people, and places of Derry. The city played a central role in the Irish Troubles.

Together Derry and the Northwest Academy offer a rare setting for JPB teens to learn about the Northern Irish conflict and peace process in ways that will strengthen and inform their own leadership at home. The Academy is extraordinarily well connected with local and national figures who are willing to share their experience and insight with JPB youth. JPB is also in conversation with UK-based Solutions Not Sides (SNS) to include English and Scottish teens in the Northern Ireland program. SNS works with the JPB-Retorika EXCEL Teacher-Training Institute each summer in Cambridge, UK. The JPB Board is considering a date in the Summer of 2025 for a pilot program in Derry.

Fr. Nicholas, Jess Brandler and a Solutions Not Sides associate in London

Fr. Nicholas, Francesca, Magda, and Peter overlooking Derry

A local mural depicting the eponymous Derry Girls


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