The Children's Program of Northern Ireland aims to develop respectful relationships between children of all traditions in Northern Ireland through cross-community activities in both their own communities and through their four-week summer visit with families in Minnesota. We strive to provide opportunity to develop understanding and respect for diversity through these relationships and promote constructive approaches to conflict resolution.
In 1994, CPNI realigned its mission to focus on a cross-community program in which 24 Protestant and Catholic children were brought together to work on conflict resolution and reconciliation skills. CPNI believes that by reinforcing these skills both here in Minnesota and in Northern Ireland after the children return, they may foster the belief that Catholics and Protestants can live and work together in an atmosphere of trust and security. The children will be the ones to use these skills to help shape a new Northern Ireland. This summer, the cross-community work will continue. Our goal is to have as many children as possible participate in the cross-community program.
Who We Serve
The Children's Program of Northern Ireland (CPNI) was founded in 1973 in response to a letter to the editor of the Fargo Forum newspaper from a Belfast mother who wanted her son to be free from the violence in Northern Ireland for the summer. The following year the Hibbing Minnesota Rotary Club sponsored 150 children from Northern Ireland for the summer. In 1975, the program moved to the Twin Cities, of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, where it has remained. During the summer of 2012, 30 children will be hosted by families in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. Over 6500 children have participated in the program over the past forty years. CPNI is operated by two volunteer boards, one in Minnesota and the other in Northern Ireland. CPNI is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization.