Women students from across Northern Ireland have been debating their role in the province's future development at the National Union of Students-Union of Students in Ireland women's annual conference, writes Olga Wojtas.
Bernadette Fearson, NUS-USI women's officer, said: "This conference has encouraged women students to play a more direct and influential role in our political life. Women have been at the fore in opening up political processes across the world, and we hope that, as women students, we can promote greater women's involvement in politics and a more pluralist Northern Ireland."
Meanwhile, Tony Gallagher, of the graduate school of education at Queen's University Belfast, said the student movement had played a key role in community relations and in encouraging people to support political efforts to end conflict.
Dr Gallagher told the annual conference of the British Psychological Society in Belfast that, by contrast, higher education institutions in the province had avoided tackling social division during the Troubles. They now had a responsibility to help create a new society. "Education should be directed towards the fulfilment of human potential in a context of tolerance, justice and social inclusion," he said.