24 hours; 100 stories

To create the marathon text of TWENTY FOUR HOURS OF PEACE , Neil spent nearly six months travelling across the UK, meeting one hundred remarkable individuals who work for peace.

Here they are
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The Full 100 Names

Almas Farzi, Ana Victoria Bastidas, Ann Feltham, Audrey Layton, Avila Kilmurray, Beeban Kidron, Bethan Roberts, Braich Goch: Javier, Maria, Yosola, Cedoux., Caesar Nyeko Poblicks, Carolyn Leary, Celia McKeon, Charlotte Cooper, Charlotte Hall, Chrissie Steenkamp, Ciara Kinsella, Danielle Spencer-Cornish, Danny Coonan, David Wyatt (Canon), Diana Francis, Donald Sutherland, Emma Sky, Erinma Bell (Dr.), Girdari Bhan, Hannah Brock, Ian Johnstone, Ian Partridge, Irfan Chishti (Iman), Ilker Kilich, Inderjit Bhogal, James Leadbitter, Jay Sutherland, Jennifer Dathan, Jo Clifford, Jonathan Cohen, Jonathan Powell, Juweria Ali, Kelly Simcock, Khadija Coll, Leanne Cameron, Lee Lawrence, Leisha Beardmore, Lindis Percy, Louise Mallinder, Mahima Shrestha, Margaret Clark, Marwan Darweish, Matt Beard, Matt Dougall, Michelle Ross, Mike Haines, Mike Hardy, Nick Taylor, Nigel Bromage, Nomad: Asha, Hinda, Hana, Jasmine, Nudrat Alexander Moghul and Ilyas Patel, Olga Lucia Johns, Pat McGee, and Jo Berry, Paul Murphy, Paul Taylor, Pauline Sergeant and Patsy McKie, Peter St Ange, Philippa Roberts, Professor James Thompson, Qaisra Shahraz, Rabbi Rebecca Birk, Reem, Rob Deeks, Ruth Daniel, Saba Shafi, Salim Salamah, Sandya Sharma, Scilla Elworthy (Dr.), Scottee, Sean Morris, Shannen Johnson, Sheila Hancock, Steph Howlett, Stephen Gethins, Susan and Arthur McHugh, Susi Bascon, Symon Hill, Cllr Tommy Judge, Vesna Matovic, YWCA: Beth, Elena, Cristina, Zarina Khan, Zoe Williams, Zrinka Bralo

Celia

I think any citizen has a right to ask their government what goes under the banner of national security

Celia, 44, is the coordinator for Rethinking Security, a network of organisations, academics and activists dedicated to persuading the UK public and politicians to radically re-think the way we conceive security. Celia has been a peace-builder for over 20 years, working to support peace building processes in Colombia, Northern Ireland, the Philippines and the post-Yugoslav states

Marwan

So the soldier told me to get out of the car…!

Marwan, 59, is Principal Lecturer in Peace Studies at Coventry University, working in the brilliantly-named department of Trust, Peace and Social Relations. An exiled Palestinian, he has a life-long commitment to non-violence. You can find out more about Peace Studies in Coventry here:

Lee

Start focussing on what’s possible.

Lee, 45, set up The Cherry Groce Foundation in 2016, in honour of his mother who was unlawfully shot by the police in Brixton in 1985.  After a thirty-year struggle to get justice, Lee is now using the lessons of that struggle as a trained mediator, a restorative justice practitioner and as an entrepreneur working for disability inclusion.

Sean

We will not get a nuclear weapon free world in 2020

Sean, 46, works for Manchester City Council , and is currently UK  Secretary for  Mayors for Peace , a global organisation founded in Hiroshima which works towards the long term goals of the nuclear free movement and pushes policy and issues onto the agenda of local government.

Rebecca

David Cameron suggested 50 refugees for each local borough – and my life changed on that day

Rebecca, 49, is the Rabbi at the Finchley Progressive Synagogue.. In 2015 she campaigned to provide homes for Syrian refugees in Barnet, including organising a walk to parliament to highlight this issue. For the past 8 years, she has opened the synagogue for the homeless to take shelter during the winter.

Ciara

The funding’s stopped. The problems are not fixed.

Ciara, 35, is Project Leader at the Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation. She uses her skills as a trained teacher to deliver peace education across the North of the country but is not entering London due to the success of the programmes. Her work focuses on promoting togetherness and understanding; she works with all young people from early Primary school years up until University, but also trains teachers and frontline staff.

Saba

We figure it out - and we'll get it done

Saba, 32, is Commercial Director of The Advocacy Academy in Brixton. The Advocacy Academy is a youth movement, building the next generation of social change activists; Saba is passionate about the need to increase the representation of young people in the championing of community issues.

Pragna

A man with a sawn off shot gun came in and threatened us because we had helped his girlfriend escape him

Pragna, 59, is Director of Southall Black Sisters. She helped found the centre  in response to the racist violence of the late 1970’s and for over forty years has been fighting for the safety and rights of black and minority women. As well as providing advice, advocacy and campaigning services, SBS is also developing creative programmes to challenge the roots of  violence against the women and related issues they work with.

Ruth

It really is a struggle. We hustle, but it means we do things in a way I feel truly reflects what should be done

Ruth, 38, is CEO of In Place of War, a global organisation that uses creativity in places of conflict for positive change. It enables grass-roots change-makers in music, theatre and the arts to transform cultures of violence and suffering into spaces of  hope, opportunity and freedom. Recent achievements include the creation of GRRRL, an all-female producing and touring coalition for the international promotion of female bands and singers.

Nick

You have to wage peace

Nick, 55, is CEO of the Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation. The Foundation was created as a memorial to the two young boys who lost their lives in the Warrington terrorist bombing in 1993. The foundation is a specialist in mediated dialogue, terrorism victim support and the prevention of violent extremism through education and runs innovative programmes

Diana

We can’t make the world safe without each other now

Diana, 74, has been a peace activist since she was 15 and still stands every week in a vigil outside Bath Abbey. She has worked for many years with different international peace building organisations, supporting the efforts of local peace activists to address destructive conflict. In 2014 she helped to launch Rethinking Security, which argues that human and planetary security cannot be achieved by military means but only by cooperation

Louise

I have worked with colleagues for many years to encourage policymakers to address Northern Ireland’s past

Professor Mallinder, 40, works at Queen’s University, Belfast, where she teaches human rights and constitutional law. She led the project to write the Belfast Guidelines on Amnesty and Accountability.

She has also been involved in several projects that sought to ensure that the legacy of the Troubles is addressed in order to sustain and deepen the peace brokered by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. At a time when that peace is threatened by Brexit and the ongoing power vacuum in Northern Ireland, it is important to maintain a commitment to the goals and institutions of the peace process, and to deliver for victims and Northern Irish society.

Zrinka

You know, you bombed us three times…

Zrinka, 51, grew up in Sarajevo, worked as a journalist during the war and on post-war reconciliation in Prijedor, notorious for death camps  – and is now Chief Executive of Migrants Organise, a platform where refugees and migrants organise for power, dignity and justice. They develop leadership and open up spaces for organised participation of migrants and refugees in public life. You can find out more about her incredible work here:

David

The garden is immensely important to us as the lung which people desperately need

David, 84, has been the priest of St Paul’s Church in Salford for over 40 years. Since serving in the Manchester regiment in Berlin between 1954 – 1956, he felt Salford was where he wanted to put his faith into action. Every day the church provides food, resources and advice to those that need it, together with sanctuary in its  beautiful garden.

Ann

While UK foreign policy prioritises arms exports and military responses to problems, any peace in the UK is illusory

Ann became a supporter of Campaign Against Arms Trade in 1978 and is now Parliamentary Co-ordinator. She leads on CAAT’s parliamentary work and is also responsible for CAAT’s international work and liaises with lawyers on its current Judicial Review challenge to the UK government’s licensing of exports to Saudi Arabia where there is a clear risk they might be used in serious violations of International Humanitarian Law in Yemen

Jo

These people that hate me - they're suffering

Jo, 69, is a playwright , performer, father, and grandmother. Her play The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven talks about faith, respect, love and the body – especially the trans body – in relation to the idea and the daily practice of peace. You can meet Jo and her work here:

Audrey

No, I didn't have a problem with going to jail

Audrey, 84, is an ex-primary-school teacher who ended up in Holloway after protesting against the US army base at Greenham Common in 1983. You can find out more about the incredible story of the pioneering women of Greenham here:

Leisha

Peace is universal access to education and rights, and the realisation of the importance of kindness

Leisha, 29, a UK citizen, works for the International Rescue Committee, currently in Afghanistan and previously for the Cross Border Iraq/ Syria Programme. She leads IRC’s work on violence prevention and response at the field and country level, working with women and girls, children and other excluded groups to ensure access to human rights and humanitarian protection services.

Scottee

I’m at this moment of frustration with myself, my community, the world. Everything, livid

Scottee, 33, is an artist and writer. He explores issues affecting the LGBTQI+ community, often focussing on  the experience and politics  of violence . In 2015 he collaborated with  local communities in Peterborough, which had one of the highest rates of online homophobic hate crime in the UK, and his shows  have also toured in Europe, Australia, Japan and the US.

Michelle

Gay people fought for the rights of equality; it didn’t come gifted - it came through fighting

Michelle, is co-founder of CliniQ, an inclusive well-being and sexual health service for trans and non-binary people. Her campaign work started when she joined the Terence Higgins Trust in 1988, to support people living with HIV and working towards safe sexual health services for all. Michelle spent 23 years on the helpline; trained new volunteers, she was a counsellor and developed the first booklet on HIV and Trans Women in the UK(2012).

Zarina

How can there be peace if there’s no peace in my home, if I can’t feed my children and send them to school

Zarina, 29, is a passionate campaigner of women’s rights and currently works for the Foreign Office as a Gender Adviser, working to support women’s rights in conflict. Since leaving university Zarina has focused on helping women and highlighting their issues. She recently worked as the Director of Gender Action for Peace and Security to influence government policy on women’s rights and conflict prevention.

Paul

We are humanitarians and we’re driven by a humanitarian imperative to help people in need

Paul, 49, is Response Operations Manager for Team Rubicon UK, a disaster response charity whose workers are 70% ex-military. After serving in the army himself for 26 years, he left in 2011 and took up expedition and disaster response work. Paul has led aid teams across the world, responding to the Nepal earthquakes in 2015, Indonesia in 2018 and the recent flooding in Mozambique.

Nigel

I joined the far-right at 15 years of age, somebody gave me a leaflet at school, that's when my life changed

Nigel, 53, is the founder of Small Steps and Exit UK. Having been an active member of the far right in this country , he now uses his insider experience to combat it. Small Steps is a training and advocacy organisation which aims to educate people – especially school students  – about the realities  of the far right, and Exit UK is a support network for those who want to get out of it.

Ian

Each individual has their strengths, their weaknesses; male, female, it doesn't matter

Ian, 51, is an RAF Staff Officer who works at SHAPE  Headquarters Belgium. He is also a Gender Advisor for NATO and works to implement UN resolution 1325, which is the UN’s call for the equal participation of women in all peace and security work.

Mike

It was a realisation that the act was about hate, and that they wanted me to hate

Mike, 52, established the campaigning charity Global Acts of Unity after his brother David, a humanitarian aid worker, was murdered by the so-called Islamic State in Syria in 2014.He now tours schools to tell his story and to use it to promote  the active combatting of hate in this country.

Juweria

We need to remember the survivors

Juweria, 25, is a postgraduate research student at the University of Westminster – and a peace and justice activist.She told Neil extraordinary stories passed on to her by survivors of the conflict in Somalia, and talked to him passionately about the bigger pictures of climate justice and gender justice as well as about the specifics of life in Ogaden. You can find out more about the conflict in Ogaden here:

Shannen

Mum and dad decided they didn’t want me going to secondary school in Bradford. They didn’t want me living somewhere divided

Shannen, 25, is the Learning and Engagement Officer at the Peace Museum, Bradford – the only Peace Museum in this country. She runs the learning programme at the Museum, delivering work in schools all over the country using the museum’s collections. She explores historical events such as WW1 with the children and runs a class about migration which seeks to raise awareness and an understanding of migration.

Ana Victoria

I love to share the kiss of peace

Ana, 53, is a Church of England curate in West London. A proud immigrant, she was forced to flee from her native Colombia by the FARC – and now works with the Truth, Memory and Reconciliation Commission, working to provide safe spaces in which women can share, process and understand their personal experiences of conflict and forced emigration. You can find out more about her story here:

Peter

You don’t have to be limited. You can be as small or as big as you want

Peter, 55, set up the Sea Café in Walmer, Kent 14 years ago. Since then, he has been using the café and his painted stones to engage with the community and generate conversations about peace, inclusivity, anti-racism and ‘oneness’. He has also worked with schools through the charity Samphire, they work with people from a migrant background to improve social cohesion in Kent.

Cedoux, Javier, Maria & Yosola

We wanted to make the difference, because it was needed

Cedoux, 33, Javier, 39, Maria, 43 and Yosola, 32, are part of the team at Braich Goch, a centre for refuge and creativity in the depths of rural Wales which facilitates social action and change for young people of refugee and migrant backgrounds. The centre was born out of their work with Ros Norton one of the founding members who selflessly sold her home to buy the Braich Goch.

Avila

Someone has to do something about this to actually bring it to an end

Avila, 66, is a Consultant for an NGO called Social Change Initiative. She has worked for forty-five years as a peacebuilder and community activist in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. She was involved in the negotiations leading to the “Good Friday” agreement of 1998 and helped establish the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition.

Beth, Cristina and Elena

I don't necessarily think of the feminist movement as peaceful

Beth, 24, Cristina, 26,  and Elena, 27, are three passionate feminists working for YWCA Scotland. Their work includes the report “The Status of Young Women in Scotland” and the Young Women Lead programme, in partnership with the Scottish Parliament.  YWCA Scotland is explicitly feminist in its intention to promote the full potential of young women and girls.

Ilyas and Nudrat

It’s nothing complicated, to bring together different communities to make food

Ilyas,49, is  a self identified Paraplegic Muslim, and participant in NEAR NEIGHBOURS; HONEST TALK in Blackburn; Nudrat, 30, is a Programme Co-ordinator for this community initiative which seeks to bring members of different communities and faiths together – usually over community “feasts” – to initiate dialogue over contentious issues.

Pat

I am so sorry

Pat, 67, was a member of the IRA .He has recently been speaking publicly as part of THE FORGIVENESS PROJECT about how he struggles to reconcile his ongoing belief in armed struggle with the experience of being forgiven by some of the victims of his violence . A rare chance to hear this story from its relentlessly demonised source – find an interview with Pat here:

Danielle

The earth was literally shaking under my feet

Danielle, 36, has held senior positions in a number of large aid charities across the world and works at the global level, through UN coordination structures, to tackle and coordinate responses to gender-based violence in conflicts and natural disasters.  Danielle is part of the #AidToo movement – calling out the sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse that takes place within the aid sector.  She’s a post-colonial, intersectional, socialist feminist and has worked in active conflict areas in Somalia, South Sudan and Syria.  Originally from South Liverpool, Danielle grew up in Toxteth, but now lives in Brighton where she is active in the Labour Party.  Find out more about Danielle here: @daniellewas

Jay

Actually I only turned 18 in November

Jay, 18, a working-class Millenial activist from Ayrshire, Jay and his mates created Scotland Against Militarism, a campaigning alliance which seeks to question and challenge the influence of the British Army in Scottish schools. Follow their work here:

Tommy

I got blown up on the M62 coach bombing in which 12 people lost their lives

Tommy, 62, is a Labour Councillor for Manchester City Council. His role at the council is to champion the Armed Forces Community Covenant. He joined the army at 15 years old and in 1974 he was a passenger in the M62 coach bombing by the IRA. Tommy is now the chairperson of the Moss Side Fire Station Boxing Club Foundation Trust, which works to inspire and include some of the hardest to reach young people in the city.

Lucia

Working with communities makes me think okay, let’s do something practical’

Lucia, 54, is a member of the WILPF Cornwall – the Women International League for Peace and Freedom, the international feminist alliance founded in 1915 and still active around the world. Lucia is passionate about the need for small-scale community initiatives – and is inspired by her memories of the conflict in her native Colombia.

Jennifer

We are recording such high levels of civilian harm and, the UK are deeply involved in those areas

Jennifer, 26, works as a researcher for Action On Armed Violence and conducts research into the harm caused by the use of explosive weapons. She has carried out research in Sri Lanka, Lebanon and Syria. She looks at the environmental impacts of the violence, the destruction of infrastructure and the health implications for civilians including casualties.

Khadija

It’s building the trust. Because remember, they haven't had anyone they can trust

Khadija, 46, is the Project Leader for ‘One Community’, part of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit. Khadija and her team work with  communities in Glasgow to build new lives for  refugees and asylum seekers fleeing war or enslavement.

Sandhya

There’s a phrase “ Hatred is your weapon, courage is ours” - and I hold onto that all the time

Sandhya, 47, works at Safety4Sisters, a Manchester organisation campaigning for women experiencing gender-based violence subject to immigration control. They have just celebrated ten years of providing front-line support and advocacy for black and ethnic minority women fleeing violence.

Caesar

I just think about the children

Caesar, 51, is Projects Manager for Conciliation Resources’ East and Central Africa Programme . He’s also worked in Uganda, the Central African Republic – where he helped broker the deal that saved over 12,000 children and young people from the conflict there- and on cultural initiatives on London’s notorious Broadwater Farm. You can find out more about his story here:

Patsy and Pauline

So a group of women decided they’ve had enough now. We need to get to together

Patsy, 72, is one of the founders of the Manchester community action group ‘Mothers Against Violence’ and Pauline, 70, is the chairperson. Mothers Against Violence was  formed in 1999,  after Patsy’s son was shot and killed during a wave of gun-crime.

Erinma

Shot? Somebody got shot? People don’t get shot! That’s just… It’s not part of your world….”

Erinma, 54, is a leading cultural figure in Manchester, a self-described Community Peace Activist of Nigerian heritage. After witnessing a near fatal gun-shooting in Moss Side in 2003, she created CARISMA – Community Alliance for Renewal Inner South Manchester Area – combatting gun crime through direct community intervention and building social capital.

Carolyn

I am extremely concerned about the future, we must invest in our young people to help make the change

Carolyn, 63, is the Programme Director for CRESST, in Sheffield, a charity-funded NGO that provides conflict resolution training and workshops in primary and secondary schools and whose brilliant work reaches around 1,500 young people in the city a year.

Lindis

I heard somebody say, Come on women, let's sit down

Lindis is a long-time peace activist, 36 years in the NHS as Nurse, Midwife and Health Visitor.  She protested at Greenham Common in the early 1980’s, and has been arrested over 400 times, serving many prison sentences.  She co-founded the Campaign for Accountability of American Bases (CAAB). She stepped down as Co-ordinator of CAAB in 2016, and it is no longer active. However Lindis is!

Ian

War is not the solution to the problems we face in the 21st century

Ian, 59, is a proud member of VETERANS FOR PEACE UK, which is an association of ex-servicemen and women trying to open up public debates  about the cost – financial and moral – of the UK’s continuing addiction to war. Activities include attending Armed Forces day events, speaking at Trade Union meetings and unofficial participation in Remembrance Sunday.

Hannah

I remember this boy, this eleven year old boy.

Hannah, 33, is a Sheffield-based Quaker and peace activist, and part of Roots of Resistance, a grassroots network of activists trying to stop the London arms fair. She talked to Neil about working in Kenya and the West Bank and Israel – about how she sees connections between feminism, pacifism and climate justice – about queerness – and about how she struggles with the idea of Remembrance Sunday. You can find out more about Roots of Resistance here:

Ilker

Peace culture is the philosophy

Ilker, 72, is an architect. He played an important role in the founding of the Republican Turkish Party after he was forced to leave Turkey following the military coup of 1971. He spent his childhood in Paphos, Cyprus and witnessed the sectarian violence between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots during the 1963/1964 civil war

Rob

I knew that actually it’s not widely celebrated, peace. It’s become dirty word

Rob, 37, is CEO of Aik Saath, a charity in Slough. He works with young people to encourage conflict resolution. Aik Saath means “Together As One” in Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu, and the charity was founded in 1998 in response to gang violence between young Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims in the town. He also set up Slough Young Carers group to specifically support young people looking after their relatives and studied Peace at Bradford University.

Jonathan

More than 70 million people are currently displaced as a result of violent conflict

Jonathan, 54, is the Executive Director of Conciliation Resources, a peacebuilding NGO which works in many conflict zones around the world. He was awarded an OBE for his services to conflict prevention and resolution in the South Caucasus. His work focuses on building partnerships and helping people to resolve conflict peacefully.

Charlotte

We’ve got this amazing poster, it says “ No Pride In Wars “- we got that from Pride in London in 2016

Charlotte, 29, is Curator of the Peace Museum in Bradford – the only Peace Museum in this country. She looks after over  7000 objects which tell the story of peace in the UK, and curates exhibitions which respond not just to that amazing history but also to  live protests and issues that we face today

Irfan

Forget the darkness - light a candle

Irfan, 45,  is Imam of the Jamia Masjid Chashtiah in Rochdale. Together with his colleague the self-identified skinhead Dave Allport, he Co-Founded and now runs the  Me and You Foundation, an outfit which provides inclusivity and anti-extremism training across the education and public sector – bringing together, as the Imam puts it, “the white and the brown.”

Steph

We never know how much our actions are going to mean to people and how much impact they’re having

Steph, 67, has been an activist for many years and was a practicing psychotherapist. Since retirement she has used her skills to counsel newly arrived victims of trauma and is part of  Sheffield Creative Action for Peace. The group regularly attend demonstrations against the arms trade – and are constantly finding new ways to make their arguments for peace as graphic as possible.

Vesna

Some people still have panic attacks because of sirens and bombs.

Vesna, 54, a peace builder who came to the UK from Serbia. She is head of Peacebuilding Training and Learning at the NGO International Alert. She started her work in Serbia, with refugees and other victims of war and trauma in the Balkans war, then working on reconciliation and rebuilding relationships between conflicting parties. In the UK she has shared her real-life experience and knowledge of that and other conflicts, in the cause of peace here.

Jonathan

You have to have bold leaders on both sides who are willing to take risks

Jonathan, 63, is CEO and Founder of Inter-Mediate, an NGO working on armed conflicts around the world. He worked  as the Chief British negotiator for 10 years on the peace process in Northern Ireland, and Jonathan and his team are currently working on 14 different conflicts around the world, including Afghanistan.

Jasvinder

I just want to make a change

Jasvinder, 54, author and campaigner, created her campaigning charity Karma Nirvana to save all those affected (we support men and boys too) by forced marriage and “honour”-motivated abuse. She wrote the widely-acclaimed book “ Shame” – and is passionate in her commitment to social change and justice:

Qaisra

I go around the world with my peace banners, with its slogan ‘Spread Honey Not Hate’ to promote unity.

Qaisra, 61, author and activist, has been campaigning for 15 years for unity in her community and  to bring people of different faiths together. Her work focuses on connecting communities and challenging hatred. She is the co-chair of ‘Faith Network 4 Manchester’ and a trustee of ‘We Stand Together’. Currently she is running a new project ‘MACFESTUK’, the Muslim Arts and Cultural Festival in Manchester to promote harmony.

Susi

It’s no longer about you, it’s more about them - you feel sad, but you know you have the strength to go on

Susi, 51, is Director of Peace Brigade International UK, managing the UK arm of the charity. PBI provides non-violent protection to human rights defenders at risk across the globe. Her current role involves building international political networks to protect and support human rights defenders from attacks and threats against them. Susi draws her knowledge from her experience as a Peace Brigades field volunteer in 2003/2004  in Mexico.

Asha, Hana, Yasmine and Hinda

We can make change - if we work together.

Asha (32 ), Hana ( 21), Yasmine ( 19)  and Hinda  are all members of the social action group NOMAD –  Nations of Migration Awakening Diaspora –  which is based in Harrow, West London. They work within their  community to improve the lives of many young and ambitious people who are from a migrant or refugee background, using discussion, cultural events and workshops to empower people to tell their own stories and to change diaspora lives.

 

Charlotte

What you do see is the way that young people are targeted by recruiters, I think it’s unfair

Charlotte, 25, campaigns against the military recruitment of under-18s in the UK – challenging the fact that the UK is the only European country to still actively recruit 16-year-olds into the Armed Forces. The campaign began at Child Soldiers International but has now moved to the Child Rights International Network.

Leanne

I want to support all Coventry schools to work towards a “ School of Sanctuary” status by 2021

Leanne, 49, works for the Ethnic Minority Achievement Service of Coventry City Council. For decades her team have placed newly arrived and minority ethnic children into education. In the 2017/2018 academic year they placed 1,500 of these young people into education, drawing on the city’s traditions of peace and during the 2018-19 academic year they had 1500+ new arrivals from overseas, despite all the uncertainty around Brexit.

Matt

I believe if I start a conversation, it could potentially grow into something bigger

Matt, 35, is a Community Safety Officer in Blackpool, working with the police on  tackling and preventing crime and social nuisance. He is also a Volunteer Ambassador for the White Ribbon Campaign, seeking  to end male violence against women and to challenge male cultures that lead to harassment, abuse and violence.

Zoe

It’s not about the universality of conflict or war at all - it’s very much about England

Zoe, 47, works as the Cultural Lead for Libraries, Galleries and Culture for Manchester City Council. She supports the growth of cultural provision within the city and her great grandfather was poet Laurence Binyon, whose famous line “We will remember them”  is quoted at Remembrance Sunday services across the world, it is taken from his poem ‘For the Fallen’ about WW1.

Kelly

My granddad never bought a poppy.

Kelly, 40, is strategic advisor to the deputy mayor of greater Manchester for cohesion and resilience and formerly the Director of Programmes at the Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation in Warrington, where she oversaw all aspects of its delivery of peace work – peace building programmes, resolution initiatives and working in schools to counter radicalisation. She remains a committed conflict transformation practitioner.

Reem

Peace is more complicated than just stopping war

Reem is the  Peace and Security Campaigner for MEDACT – a London-based charity supporting and encouraging public health professionals to work together to address the causes of conflict and violence – not just to treat their casualties. From working on nuclear proliferation to arms sales to climate emergency to supporting frontline workers in Sudan – read more about their work here:

Paul

Nobody thinks you can create nirvana in the morning, but there are things that can be done

Paul is Executive Director of Saferworld, a peacebuilding organisation that seeks to prevent violent conflict and build safer lives. He has spent the last twenty years working across Africa and was in Sudan in 1989 when the military coup occurred there. He has worked for the UN and for Pact, running a programme to improve the lives of marginalised communities in Sudan.

Scilla

Just as 'wars begin in the minds of men', peace also begins in our minds

Scilla, 75, is a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee. She began her work as activist at Greenham Common – took a leading role in policy negotiations around nuclear weapons decisions in the 1980s and 1990s”– and is currently developing a game-changing Business Plan for Peace which analyses both the cost of war – and value of stopping it happen. Read about her – and the Plan – here:

Mahima

Oh peace, peace is inside…

Mahima, 32, is currently based in Kathmandu- but she works in the UK and around the world as a counsellor to organisations and individuals seeking help to overcome conflict. She works a lot around issues of resilience, crisis response and personal transformation. She believes profoundly in personal agency, transformative capacity and the acceptance of difference. Hear what she thinks on her website, here:

Symon

I've got used to the death threats

Symon, 42, is a committed Christian and pacifist, and works as Campaigns Manager for the Peace Pledge Union. The PPU was founded in 1934, and is best known for its work of distributing white poppies each Remembrance Sunday – work for which Symon himself has regularly received death threats. You can find out more about the history of the Union and its work in challenging militarism, arms dealing and the promotion of violent conflict here in the UK here:

Matt

All Out works to ensure nobody has to sacrifice their family, freedom or safety because of who they are

Matt, 50, is the Executive Director of All Out, a global movement for love and equality that promotes and defends the human rights of LGBT+ people. In 2016 and 2017, All Out raised funds from its global members for Pride in Uganda. Matt travelled to Kampala to stand in solidarity with the brave LGBT+ activists of Uganda as they defied governments bans and violent brutality to come together for the moment of community and solidarity that is Pride

Chrissie

The real question is not what route you’re taking. The real question is what is peace

Chrissie, 42, is a Senior Lecturer on Social and Political Change at Oxford Brookes University, where she specialises in researching and teaching the connections between violence and peacebuilding. She illustrates her challenging ideas about the need to rethink notions of acceptable levels of violence with reference to her research work in Syria, South Africa and Northern Ireland.

Salim

200 people died in that siege - under the watch of the entire world

Salim, 29, was born in Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees in Damascus in 1989. He is a Syrian Palestinian activist and migration expert. Salim studied law at the University of Damascus in 2012 until he was forced to leave Syria during the uprising of that year. He joined the Palestinian League for Human Rights in 2015 which monitors and documents the situation in Syria. Salim recently graduated from a master’s in public policy at Oxford University.

Donald and Ian

The idea of war to me didn’t have proper meaning.

Donald, 100, declared himself a Conscientious Objector in 1939, was a notable part of the pacifist community at Holton cum Beckering and Bleasby Grange Farm. Ian, 70, a local playwright, wrote the play ‘Conchies!’ and spent years researching the pacifist community there. Both live in the region and Don has continued his involvement with peace groups and protestors since the war; his direct actions have ranged from distributing Peace News to flying kites for peace.

Girdari

We need to tell our children what evil men can do.

Girdari, 74,  ex-President of the World Hindu Council UK,  represents Manchester’s Hindu community at the city’s annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony. He has worked to foster  interfaith dialogue both locally and nationally, as co-Chair of the Interfaith Network for the UK.

Stephen

One of my huge concerns is we’ve not learned the lessons

Stephen, 43, is the Member of Parliament for North East Fife and the SNP’s Foreign Affairs and Europe spokesperson. Before becoming an MP he was a Special Adviser for the Scottish Government and has also been on placement with an NGO called ‘Caucasus Links’ and worked for Safer World in the South Caucasus and then in the Western Balkans.

Almas

If thou hast no sympathy for the troubles of others

Almas ,60, is Frontline Services Manager for Asylum Welcome Oxford. He’s a former gun-carrying left-wing political Kurdish dissident from Iran – and so has personal experience of being on the sharp end of asylum-seeking himself. Found out more about what he does for peace and justice in Oxford here:

Emma

And there is life after war and societies do move on

Emma, 51, is the Director of the World Fellows programme at Yale. She brings together extraordinary leaders from all over the world to strengthen their capacity to address the challenges facing their societies.  Before joining Yale, she served in Iraq from 2003-2010 as a political adviser to the Coalition, and in Israel/Palestine in the 1990s supporting the peace process.

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