Intercultural and Refugee Programme


Society in Ireland, both North and South, is facing challenges regarding the acceptance of ethnic, faith, linguistic and cultural diversity as well as the acknowledgement of new inclusive multiple identities and facilitating effective integration. To respond constructively to polarised opinions about migrants and other minority groups, there is an urgent need to promote the positive benefits of a more diverse and inclusive society. Careful listening through dialogue processes can help key stakeholders and the wider public understand the everyday experiences of minority groups and respond appropriately to their needs. Through facilitated dialogue community leaders, service providers, policy and decision makers in relevant sectors, gain an insight into, and an understanding of, the views and experiences of minority groups. This helps to inform their future communication and work with these communities while also serving to combat stereotyping, prejudice, racism and discrimination.


Programme Summary

Established in 2016, our Intercultural and Refugee Programme seeks to build on Glencree’s experience in providing opportunities for people from divided communities to listen to the experience of ‘the other’, reduce prejudice, and develop constructive intercultural connections and collaboration. The programme focuses on facilitating intercultural dialogue to bring about more effective integration. These dialogues take place in safe spaces using creative methodologies and wellbeing practices that help individuals to find their voice and engage with others.

Our Intercultural and Refugee programme adheres to the following core values: we honour resilience and attentiveness to trauma; we foster authentic expression and voice; we operate with dignity and mutual respect; we encourage autonomy and empowerment. Across our projects, our team undertake quality trust and relationship building with individuals and groups who may experience exclusion and discrimination in their everyday lives.

Since its inception the programme has focused on 4 project areas with the goals of:

  1. Building mutual understanding across linguistic, ethnic, faith and cultural differences through engagement and dialogue
  2. Facilitating refugees, migrants and other minority communities to identify their own needs and to explore shared experiences
  3. Supporting individuals from refugee, migrant and minority backgrounds to engage in intercultural dialogue with stakeholders and those from majority communities, to promote effective integration and combat racism and Islamophobia

Programme Activities

1. 'Wellbeing and Intercultural Communication'

Funded by the Tony Ryan Trust, this 2016/2019 project focused on trust building work for refugee and migrant women leaders, and others working with them.

Project Activities:

  • International Women’s Day hosted at Glencree for migrants and women from marginalised communities
  • Ongoing series of Wellbeing and Intercultural events for women from diverse backgrounds
  • A Workshop delivered by Dr Patricia Cane, founder of Capacitor International, that focused on ‘Capacitar for Refugees’ training for practitioners from around Ireland
  • Monthly Wellbeing mornings in Direct Provision Centres
  • Glencree Annual Summer Event - participation of speakers and performers from refugee, migrant and other minority ethnic backgrounds at the annual event, with break-out sessions to examine intercultural and migration issues

2. ‘Deepening Understanding on Human Rights and Equality for the Muslim Communities of Ireland’ Dialogues

Funded by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC), this 2018 project engaged diverse groups within the Muslim communities in the Dublin region in a series of dialogues on human rights and equality issues, and connected them with key stakeholders.

Project Activities:

  • A Series of Dialogue Events that focused on:
    • Promoting equality - how to access legal assistance through IHREC when combating discrimination
    • Islamophobia in Ireland – how to deal with hostility, threats, verbal abuse, physical assault, discrimination in the workplace, education and accessing services
    • The role of the Garda Diversity and Integration Office in building relationships with Muslims and other minority groups at local level
    • Identifying and discussing the human rights and equality issues most relevant for Muslims. These issues included: employment; education; the position of Muslim women in Irish society; perceptions of Muslims as portrayed in the media; representation of Muslims in decision making and politics; everyday Islamophobia and racism; religious freedom and faith issues; community integration
  •   ‘Human Rights and Equality’ Dialogue Day

This dialogue day welcomed Muslims from diverse communities, representatives of the Department of Justice and Equality, the Department of Education and Skills, and representatives from the world of education and media. A talk on anti-Muslim racism was followed by a discussion of key issues from which emerged 3 powerful messages:

    • The need to recognise the diversity within the Muslim communities of Ireland
    • The need for greater public representation of Muslims in decision making positions in Irish society
    • The need for an official response to Islamophobia/anti-Muslim racism in Ireland

3. 'Hope and Ambition Project' – Mount Street Club Trust

This 2019/2022 project aims to build the confidence of marginalised women from minority ethnicities and faiths, and disadvantaged economic backgrounds, who are living in or are moving out of Direct Provision, to feel safe and express their needs.

Project Activities:

  • Through ‘Community Circle’ work, participants are facilitated in identifying their own ‘hopes and ambitions’ and engage with women from different ethnic and faith backgrounds
  • Bringing women from different circles together and using “Capacitar Multicultural Wellness” practices, creativity and dialogue, they are enabled to find common interests, listen to different perspectives, and share information and learnings

4. ‘Belonging and Identity in the Second Generation: Integration and Anti-Racism Dialogues with Hard to Reach Minority Communities’

In 2020 Glencree launched ‘Belonging and Identity in the Second Generation’. Building on Glencree’s earlier work on the Muslim Communities Dialogue Project (funded by IHREC), this project was designed to support the implementation of the ‘National Migrant Integration Strategy 2017-2020’ in line with the Irish Government’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The project was funded by the Integration Unit, initially within the Department of Justice and Equality (DJE) and subsequently under the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY).

Project Activities:

  • Glencree built on existing contacts to develop a network of interested participants for dialogue work through outreach to communities experiencing stereotyping, discrimination and racism.
  • A Project Advisory Group, comprised of skilled individuals from diverse faith and ethnic backgrounds together with Glencree staff and Board members, was established to support the development of the project outreach and dialogue work.
  • Glencree facilitated a series of safe space dialogues with second generation Irish Muslims, their parents and families, and with African Irish communities, around the issues of belonging and multiple identities, anti-racism and intercultural integration.
  • The active involvement of key stakeholders, including An Garda Síochána, Local Authorities, Local Area Partnerships and Public Participation Networks, were also a feature of these dialogue processes.

5. 'Promoting Community & Intercultural Relations through Dialogue and Encounter’

Building on the work of the Glencree Belonging & Identity project, supporting the government’s National Migrant Integration Strategy, and advancing the work to strengthen social inclusion and build diversity at local level, Glencree is currently undertaking the ‘Promoting Community & Intercultural Relations through Dialogue and Encounter' (CIR) project. This 2021 – 2024 project is funded by the Tomar Trust.

Glencree’s CIR project aims to support improved community and intercultural relations between host communities and diverse ethnic and faith groups. This will be achieved through facilitating communication and engagement between migrants and other diverse groups and local and national stakeholders.

Project Activities:

Glencree will work with communities in four Dublin local authorities: South Dublin County Council (Tallaght, Clondalkin and Lucan), Fingal County Council (Blanchardstown and Balbriggan), Dublin City Council (inner city), Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and Wicklow (Enniskerry/Bray/Arklow/Wicklow). Within these communities, Glencree will:

  • Create and support opportunities to facilitate safe space encounters and dialogue with:
    • - individuals and leaders from Irish Muslim (of all ethnicities including African Irish), and other African Irish backgrounds to build trust and relationships that lead to encounters with key people from host communities at local level

      - minority ethnic and majority communities to identify challenges to, and solutions for, advancing integration at local and national levels

  • Strengthen the intercultural conflict resolution capacity of minority ethnic and local indigenous communities at local community level to dialogue together, and work with all parties in finding grassroots solutions. Conflict resolution training will build skills for key individuals from host and migrant communities and a sharing and learning network will sustain skills and relationships to further enhance integration by preventing discrimination and resolving intercultural tensions at local levels.
  • Convene and independently facilitate national policy dialogues between migrant groups and government and statutory stakeholders.


Glencree-Report-Dialogue-Poster-side-WEB (1)
Dialogues with Muslim Communities of Ireland Report

The 2018 Muslim Dialogues report identifies the key findings by participants in a series of dialogue events with women, men and young people of diverse Irish Muslim backgrounds living in the Dublin region. The current 2020 Belonging and Identity Project is taking some of those issues further through actual and remote dialogue events and a social media campaign.

Download the Full Report

Podcast 2: Belonging & Identity in the Second Generation

This podcast talks about diversity, integration and what it is like to be a young Muslim in Ireland during Ramadan and Eid in this time of Covid19. Joining Glencree’s Intercultural & Refugee Programme Manager, Nadette Foley, are Fardus Sultan from the Belonging & Identity Project Advisory Group and Mohammed Elsayed from the Under One Tent Initiative.

Project Team

Nadette Foley

Programme Manager

Nadette brings over 30 years’ experience in the area of human rights, refugee and minority integration, and inter-faith work. While living in Pakistan in the late 1980's Nadette worked with Afghan refugee communities. During the 1990s she was Director of the Irish Refugee Council, and joined the Board of the Refugee Agency responsible for the resettlement of the Bosnian and Vietnamese refugees. As CEO of the Multi-Cultural Resource Centre - Northern Ireland, Nadette facilitated consultations between minority ethnic and faith groups, and statutory agencies during the introduction of new Equality and Human Rights legislation that resulted from the Good Friday Agreement. She continued her inter-faith and intercultural work with the Jesuit Refugee Service and the Dublin Multi-Cultural Resource Centre in Dublin before joining the team to lead Glencree's Intercultural and Refugee Programme.

Louise Keating

Project Lead, Hope & Ambition Project

Louise has a background in youth and community work, training and facilitation, intercultural integration and homelessness. She has also been engaged with migrant and refugee issues for over 20 years. Louise has worked with Foroige, Comhlamh, South County Dublin Partnership and Focus Ireland. She spent two years in both Kenya and Rwanda before returning to Ireland where she worked for the Irish Refugee Council. She later managed an Intercultural Drop-in Centre established by Tallaght Intercultural Action. Louise holds a Degree in Social Science, a Diploma in Community Work and an MA in Cross Professional Supervision.

Sinead Bolger

Programme Administrator

Sinead has supported administration on various projects working with refugees and asylum-seekers. She worked as a shift leader and administrator in a refugee camp in Athens, Greece from 2016 to 2018. In 2019, Sinead moved to Roscommon to work as a shift leader in the emergency, reception and orientation centre for programme refugees from Syria and Iraq. Her background in creative facilitation meant that she was able to run projects with women especially and help ease communication with the benefit of Arabic classes taken while in Palestine. She is really happy to be in a position to support the Refugee and Intercultural programme at Glencree.

Capacitar Multicultural Wellbeing Programme

Nadette and Louise are qualified Capacitar Ireland Tutors. They have trained in, and facilitated, capacitar practices for over 10 years. Capacitar is an international network committed to uniting people across borders in solidarity, understanding, reconciliation and peace. Practitioners use holistic wellness practices based on indigenous traditions that help people tap into the wisdom of their own mind, body and spirit.

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