Jason Gappa's research into how the Irish secondary schools engage with the peace process and the "other side" is a timely and very significant work for UISCE and the development of its future programs that will seek to encourage irish students to engage witu the peace Proceess. to spread the mission of peace and overcoming conflict.
Jason was raised and attended high school in central New Jersey. After high school he traveled west to attend Dickinson College in Pennsylvania where he majored in History with a focus on European History. During his junior year Jason studied abroad at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England where he was enrolled in the American Studies program, which also allowed Jason to travel to Ireland for the first time. After returning to the States and graduating from college with a BA, Jason returned to Dickinson to earn his teaching degree. The next fall he began teaching and coaching at Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA which is a private high school. After four years at Berkshire, Jason left to pursue his MA in Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He returned to Berkshire the following year while he finished his degree and he is now entering his 19th year in the classroom at Berkshire and is currently teaching U.S. History, Advanced Placement American Government, and Global Studies. In the summer of 2007 Jason returned to Europe on one of Discover Sligo's educational tours for teachers in Ireland and Northern Ireland where he met Keith McNair. With encouragement from McNair, Jason brought a group of students from Berkshire to take part in McNair's first UISCE program in the summer of 2016, which inspired him to do his own research on how the education systems in Ireland and Northern Ireland teach empathy for "the other" and work to promote reconciliation following the violence during the Troubles. With help from the UISCE Scholars program and Berkshire School, Jason traveled to Ireland and Northern Ireland in the summer of 2017 and the winter of 2018 to conduct research in schools in the border counties and in Northern Ireland. The report is the product of conversations during those visits and subsequent research on education in Ireland and Northern Ireland.