Socratic Debate

Tuesday 26 November
Crescent Arts Centre
C.S. Lewis was President of the Oxford Socratic Society and oversaw many vibrant debates on contentious issues. This year's Socratic Debate will discuss the motion that  
'This House believes that Northern Ireland will not move forward until our children are educated in the same classrooms together.'
The debate will be chaired by writer, documentary-maker and presenter of Radio Ulster's Talkback programme, William Crawley. There will be skilled speakers on both sides of the debate as well as opportunities for contributions from the floor of the House.
Speaker Biographies:
For the motion:

Matthew O'Neill
Matthew is part of Integrated AlumNI and on the board of Governors at Braidside Integrated Primary School, Ballymena. He is an alumnus of Hazlewood Integrated College, Belfast and North Coast Integrated College, Coleraine. Outside of this work supporting Integrated Education, he is finishing his PhD in Politics at Queens University Belfast and is a Contributing Writer for Northern Slant. 

Roisin Marshall 
Roisin is the Chief Executive Officer for the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE). She has been a teacher in primary, post-primary and special schools for 15 years in the Catholic Maintained and Controlled sectors.  She is passionate about peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland through education. She led the development of Shared Education in the North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) area for 5 years and has worked for NICIE for nearly 10 years.  She firmly believes that education has the power to transform lives.  

Against the motion:

P.J. O'Grady
PJ is the former Headmaster of St.Patrick's College, Bearnageeha, an all-ability Catholic maintained school for boys aged 11-19, where he transformed the school's academic record and drove a successful cross-schools cultural programme, including pupils from Bearnageeha playing hurling with Ashfield and Boys Model, and taking on Scottish Schools Shinty players; and welcoming Dr. Ian and Baroness Paisley to the school and GAA President Nicky Brennan to the Annual Cross-Community Breakfast where he joined fellow guests from Boys Model in 'having a go’ at the Lambeg Drum!  Prior to this P.J. was Headmaster of St.Olcans High School Randalstown, Co. Antrim.  A committed egalitarian, he is a founder member of the Catholic Principals Association.

Michele M. Marken OBE
Michele was Principal of St Joseph’s College, Belfast, a successful, all-ability Catholic Maintained secondary school of more than 650 pupils aged 11-18, from 1993 to 2008. The school has a reputation for welcoming children from newcomer families - 20% of pupils come from other countries and there are at least 25 languages spoken by pupils. Michele led a successful amalgamation of two single sex schools, developing a strong Post-16 curriculum of traditional A Levels, and Vocational subject; she also developed a transition year for students ‘not yet ready’ for the challenge of A Levels, ensuring a high retention rate into Sixth form.  Michele works in a voluntary capacity with a wide range of educational, religious and other third sector organisations and contributes regularly to BBC programmes such as Thought for the Day, Sunday Sequence, Talkback, The Nolan Show and various current affairs programmes.  Michele is Deputy Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast.