COVENTRY is to host a major annual global peace forum featuring leading figures from across the world.
Rising 15 – to be held over three days this November – has attracted a string of high profile speakers including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, now a UN special envoy for Global Education, and ex-Beirut hostage Terry Waite.
The event has won the personal backing from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation will act as patron.
It is hoped Rising will develop into the leading annual global event of its type, building the city’s reputation as a world symbol for peace and reconciliation.
Organised by Coventry University, Coventry City Council and Coventry Cathedral, it hopes to attract around 400 delegates from across the world for its first year, which coincides with the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Coventry and Armistice Day.
Laura Payne, Rising director and research fellow at Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, said: “Rising has been more than a year in the making and we are delighted with the response we have received from across the world.
“We live in ever-changing times and we believe Coventry is perfectly placed to bring together leading players who can help form and share new ways of thinking about peace and conflict in our turbulent world.
“Rising 15 will bring together global leaders, practitioners and advocates working for peace, presenting brave and creative ideas that challenge us to go beyond conventional thinking and change how we approach threats and confrontations.
“Coventry is already seen as a role model and our cathedral is viewed as an icon for forgiveness. We believe there is an opportunity to mobilise diverse groups of people around new ways of thinking about peace, and the response we have had from the international community only strengthens that belief.”
Rising 15, which will have a theme of ‘A Hard Road to Hope’, will run from Wednesday, November 11 to Friday, November 13. It will feature a wide range of events, including keynote addresses, panel discussions and a UK premiere of the film Send In The Clowns.
A ‘Big Question’ event, a new series of public talks launched at Coventry University earlier this year with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will also be held, chaired by Michael Binyon OBE, one of Britain’s most well-respected foreign correspondents.
Speakers include John Cardinal Onaiyekan (Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria), Lord Alderdice (chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Conflict Issues), Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon (Secretary General of the Anglican Communion), Emma Sky (former political advisor to America’s Commanding General in Iraq) and Richard Smith (Action Support Centre, a peacebuilding organisation based in Johannesburg).
Other leading names will be announced soon. National and international media are expected to attend the event, which will be held in the cathedral and its ruins, St Mary’s Guildhall, Coventry University, and the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.
Further information can be found at www.rising.org