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’

Currently funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (initially funded by the Department of Justice and Equality), this 2020/2021 project will carry out dialogue work with young people (18-30), their parents and families, around the issues of anti-racism and intercultural integration. This dialogue work will also engage Irish people, members of other minority communities and other stakeholders.

Project Activities:

  • The first strand of the project will involve Dublin regional and national level dialogues between representatives of the diverse Muslim communities and statutory and community stakeholders. These dialogues will focus on finding ways to combat racism and Islamophobia and make integration of minority communities within their local communities more effective
  • Further actions will focus on building new relationships with African and diverse socio-economic groups of Muslims in the Tallaght/Clondalkin areas, together with other stakeholders, and engaging these groups in dialogues on second generation and inter-generational issues in integration


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.

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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