RISING Global Peace Forum announces first speakers for November event

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The RISING Global Peace Forum will be taking place in the city of Coventry once again in November

Research news

Monday 26 September 2016

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The first speakers have been announced for RISING 16, the second annual gathering of the RISING Global Peace Forum, held in Coventry on 15 and 16 November 2016.

Exploring solutions to some the world's most pressing challenges under the theme The Ripple Effect, they will include Roméo Dallaire, former force commander for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda; Laura A. Liswood, secretary general of the Council of Women World Leaders and Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, former UK secretary of state for international development.

As global security dominates the political agenda, political narratives become increasingly divided and internationalism seems in crisis, RISING 16 brings together international political, faith and community leaders; peacebuilders; diplomats; academics; the media; and members of the public – in the common cause of provoking peace.

During the two-day gathering, they will experience a blend of high-profile speakers, panel discussions and cultural activities – as part of Coventry's bid for UK City of Culture 2021 – which will allow participants to interact, to learn and to explore the consequences of intervention in response to violence and conflict.


  • Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, former UK secretary of state for international development, will open the first day with a keynote speech on the refugee crisis, followed by a panel discussion with Imran Madden, director of Islamic Relief UKMelanie Ward, associate director of International Rescue Committee; and Sabir Zazai, director of Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre.
  • A discussion on community cohesion chaired by Lord John Alderdice, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Northern Ireland and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Conflict, with Martha Spurrier, director of Liberty UK, and Prof Harris Beider, professor of community cohesion, Coventry University's Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations.
  • An afternoon will be devoted to the effects of conflict on children and young people. Lieutenant-General The Honarable Roméo Dallaire, former force commander for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda and founder of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative will interview Michel Chikwanine, a former child soldier from DRC.
  • Richard Moore, founder of Children in Crossfire, and Jo Berry, founder of Building Bridges for Peace and daughter of Hon. Sir Anthony Berry, will reflect on their own personal and professional experiences of reconciliation with Prof Deirdre Heenan, pro-vice chancellor of Ulster University.
  • Laura A. Liswood, secretary general of the Council of Women World Leaders, will lead discussions on Women, Peace and Security with Rosamond Bennett, CEO of Christian Aid Ireland.
  • Prof Sarah Moss, author and lecturer on English and Creative Writing at Warwick University on Culture and Conflict, joined by Cuban art activist Tania Bruguera, Helen Parker-Jayne of The Venus Bushfires, British artist Alinah Azadeh and London-based journalist Abdul-Rehman Malik.
  • An inter-faith peace panel will see Dr Abdul Mu'ti of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia's largest Islamic faith organisation, share the stage with The Very Reverend John Witcombe, dean of Coventry in the Church of England.
  • The RISING 16 Film programme will include: Beyond the Border, a documentary filmed in Syrian refugee camps by Sophia and Georgia Scott; Born and Reared, a documentary about four men living in Northern Ireland, by Hen Norton and Dan Dennison; The Uncondemned by Michele Mitchell and Nick Louvel, which examines the first trial that prosecuted rape as a war crime and an act of genocide at the International Criminal Court.


Inspired and supported by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the RISING Global Peace Forum was founded in 2015 by a partnership between Coventry University, Coventry Cathedral and Coventry City Council. As the UK's city of peace and reconciliation, Coventry is uniquely placed to demonstrate both the catastrophic consequences of conflict and the transformative power of peace. RISING 16 will be staged in buildings surrounding the city's ruined medieval cathedral, preserved as a reminder of the trauma caused by war and of the commitment to forgiveness and reconciliation pledged by Provost Richard Howard following the bombing of the city in 1940.

The inaugural RISING Global Peace Forum took place in November 2015 under the theme 'A Hard Road to Hope'. Archbishop Desmond Tutu launched the forum with a special message of support and speakers at the event included former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn MP, former political advisor to the U.S. Army in Iraq Emma Sky OBE, 17 year old Coventry resident and Yazidi refugee Rozin Khalil Hanjool, BBC World Service Africa's Mary Harper and Terry Waite CBE.

For more information visit rising.org, or follow @RisingForum on Twitter and Facebook.