25th Jun, 2022

Coventry's leading the way on peace, says Gordon Brown

Les Reid 20th Nov, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

Former prime minister Gordon Brown told the Rising 15 global peace forum that the “world should come to Coventry and see what it has achieved”.

Mr Brown was the keynote speaker on the second day of last week’s three-day event aimed at seeking to resolve world conflict.

The event was held before Friday’s appalling terrorist attack on Paris.

It attracted a global audience of experts in peace-making and global affairs.

Mr Brown was joined by former Beirut hostage Terry Waite and Liberal politician Sir Simon Hughes at sessions at Coventry Cathedral, Herbert Art Gallery and Coventry University.

Laura Payne, a director of Rising and Research Fellow at Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, said Brown’s 45-minute address covered education, hope and criminal justice for children.

She said: “It was a very impassioned speech around the importance of education and maintaining hope in bringing conflict to an end, and had the audience riveted.

“We have had great feedback from all attendees around the power of the contributors but also the relevance of having the event here in Coventry.

“Gordon Brown and Terry Waite both made reference to the city’s standing in the world of peace and reconciliation and that is a message that will continue to be spread by our contributors and the audience in the months and weeks after this year’s event.”

Mr Waite said ahead of the event: “It is important to have a location which becomes fixed in the mind of the people when they think of peace and reconciliation, and Coventry should naturally be that place.

“We look back at the Second World War, but you can argue we are in a third world war now. It is a very different war from the others when combatants and nationals faced each other.

“Now it is isolated but linked acts of terrorism springing up around the world from Australia to the UK to America. They are outbursts of violent behaviour on a global scale.

“We have to look into what is causing this, where and what are the routes of dissatisfaction that cause people to act in such a violent way.

Rising 15 has been established as a partnership between Coventry University, Coventry City Council and Coventry Cathedral and has adopted the theme of “ A Hard Road to Hope”.

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