The word so long associated with Northern Ireland was "intractable" but Northern Ireland has now become a model for other conflict zones to emulate. Sinn Fein and the DUP, now in a power-sharing government together, recently sent representatives to Finland to help broker a settlement between Iraqi Sunnis and Shias.
Having absorbed 40% of two Prime Ministers' time for many years, there is an understandable desire to look over the Irish Sea with some satisfaction and to hope that the devolved administration makes orthern Ireland a prosperous place to live and work.
There is some evidence that this is happening - soaring property prices and increased investment in jobs in towns once devastated by terrorism.
But beneath the happy headlines the sad reality is that Northern Ireland remains a bitterly divided and segregated society. Most people live in homogenous Catholic or Protestant areas and 95% of its pupils
attend largely segregated schools.
There are four state-funded schooling systems in Northern Ireland: controlled schools which are open to all but are mainly Protestant; Catholic maintained schools which are 99% Catholic in numbers and
ethos; Irish language schools; and the integrated education sector.
Integrated schools began in an old scout hut 26 years ago and have grown into a 62 school, 19,000 strong part of the educational mosaic. They command high public esteem because their pupils achieve above average results and because they seek, much more than other schools, to nurture understanding of the cultures of their Protestant, Catholic and other pupils. Yet they cannot meet the demand for places with up to 800 pupils turned away each year.
The case for increased integrated education has been championed by a wide variety of politicians. The Conservative Minister Sir Brian Mawhinney legislated to ensure that the Government had a duty to encourage and promote integration. The need for integration was part of the Good Friday Agreement. Mo Mowlam wanted to make it a priority but had to put making peace first. Peter Hain won loud applause at the 2006 Labour Party conference by backing more integrated schools.
It's common sense that increasing contact between pupils of different faiths would do much, over time, to break down divisions and misunderstandings. I have myself heard on visits to integrated schools
of how teachers and pupils contend with days that test community tensions: the death of the Queen Mother or the Pope, for instance. Or putting on "Irish" or "British" sports.
Sectarian attitudes are formed at a very early age in Northern Ireland and pupils at integrated schools are more likely to challenge such attitudes as they mature. There is another benefit too as parents,
carers and extended families come into contact with "the other community" at the school gate and events.
But integrated schools have to live in the world as it is and one of its flagship schools is to have a large security fence built, at massive cost, to prevent youths running through the playground to chuck missiles at nearby Catholic houses.
The moral and political case for overcoming segregation is now increasingly complemented by a strong and growing economic case.
A recent authoritative report from Deloitte claims that £1.5 billion is being spent on running a divided society.
There are already 50,000 spare desks in Northern Ireland and this is forecast to rise to 80,000 due to falling rolls. This means that schools built for thousands now have mere hundreds rattling around
their corridors. Small rural schools are in danger of being closed.
The integrated education movement has responded to this challenge by suggesting that integrated schools could provide the solution in such rural areas and so avoid children having to travel long distances to schools in nearby towns.
The movement does not, however, take a purist position and encourages sharing of facilities and collaboration between all parts of the educational estate.
There are, however, no silver bullets, so to speak, that will wave away decades of accumulated division, distrust and segregation.
The danger is that public opinion outside Northern Ireland will become complacent about Northern Ireland. Perhaps symbolically, Gordon Brown is the first British Prime Minister since 1976 without a personal family connection to Ireland.
I don't doubt his commitment to Northern Ireland and it is clearly up to those who live there to make it work. But those who are seeking to foster reconciliation need continuing understanding and support from others in these islands and further afield. It will take a generation or more to lift the dead weight of the Troubles. Where better to focus attention than the new generation in school?
Gary Kent is the parliamentary consultant for the integrated education movement. He can be contacted at email@example.com. There is a Facebook support group. The Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education is at http://www.nicie.org/ and the Integrated Education Fund is at http://www.ief.org.uk/