President Michael D. Higgins
14 Jun 2016
Corrymeela was honoured to welcome the President of Ireland to Ballycastle recently, where he gave the gave the keynote address at our Living Well Together Beyond 2016 conference. He spoke of ethical remembering and narrative hospitality and as ever drew on his knowledge of the Irish language and classical learning to illustrate his thoughts.
To listen to the audio of his speech, click the image:
“Rather than any false denial of the past, then, what can be achieved through ethical remembering is, I would suggest, a certain disposition, a way of relating to the past that does not serve to form exclusive judgements or reinforce grievances, but, rather, to embrace the stories, the memories and the pains of the other. Drawing from the philosophy of Paul Ricoeur, I have described this particular disposition as “narrative hospitality”, that is, an openness to the perspectives of the other carved out at the very heart of public commemorative discourse.”
In a wider ranging speech he also spoke of the power of storytelling,
“Tarraingíonn sceal sceal eile – One story leads to another. A simple phrase but one which captures the dense and intertwined nature of our history on this small island – the fact that no single story can ever be separated from the story of the neighbour, the putative “other”. Importantly, this phrase also suggests a further liberating possibility – the hope that our stories can lead us somewhere new.”
After paying tribute to the work of Corrymeela and our conference partners The Irish Association, President Higgins ended on a note of hope and vision,
“May our united endeavours at living well together in this new century strengthen our hope in the unrealised possibilities of being human, truly free, in celebratory, joyous co–existence, with and for others.”
To read the text of his speech, CLICK HERE.