'Everyone needs to be re-educated'

February 6, 1998

Students are holding their own multinational talks on the future of Northern Ireland in Belfast

Kerry-Ann Huxley, 19, is following a course in health and social care in East Antrim Institute of Further and Higher Education. She is not a student union activist, but is closely involved in cross-community relations, notably through her work as a youth club leader.

She is a member of the "Spirit of Enniskillen", which aims to bring the two communities together and was founded by Gordon Wilson whose daughter died in the IRA Enniskillen bombing. As part of the scheme, Ms Huxley visited the Basque country to discuss the province's domestic difficulties against a comparable backdrop.

"We were able to stand back from our own tradition and background rather than being constantly reminded of it. I've educated myself about different attitudes and culture, which has enabled me to educate others," she says.

"I can't quicken the peace process, but I can help by spreading my knowledge around."

Nobody knows what the future holds, she says, but there is still hope through cross-community schemes. In her class, everyone mixes together. "I would like to think my generation is more open to change, but I think everyone needs to be re-educated from birth," she says.

"It's born in people that Catholics don't like Protestants and Protestants don't like Catholics, but all this has to stop. People will have to be more tolerant."

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