Published Tuesday, 08 September 2020

Coventry’s RISING Global Peace Forum is attracting a stellar line-up of speakers to explore this year’s theme of the ‘Culture of Peace’.

Pictured: Professor Mike Hardy at the RISING Global Peace Forum.
Pictured: Professor Mike Hardy at the RISING Global Peace Forum.

​The Forum will be highlighting the combining roles of Coventry as the UK’s City of Culture with its iconic status as the UK’s City of Peace and Reconciliation.

An acclaimed author on race and identity in Britain and a former US federal judge who presided over high-profile cases including New York’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy will be among those addressing the internationally-recognised event.

Judge Shira Scheindlin, who famously ruled that New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy violated the constitutional rights of minorities in the city, will open the three-day forum with a speech on human rights.

Writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch, whose best-selling and award-winning book ‘Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging’ revealed the uncomfortable truth about race and identity in Britain, will give a talk on cultural expression.

They will be joined as keynote speakers by author, journalist and political commentator Will Self, whose speech will focus on cultural leadership, with others to be announced in the coming months.

Professor Sir David King, former government Chief Scientific Adviser and Special Representative for Climate Change, will deliver the Lord Mayor’s Peace Lecture on the environment and COVID-19.

RISING is now in its fifth year and is a partnership between the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University, Coventry Cathedral and Coventry City Council.

The 2020 Forum will be held from 11-13 November as a ‘virtual hybrid’ event at Coventry Cathedral due to Coronavirus restrictions.

It will be live-streamed online for the first time to reach its global audience, with only UK-based speakers and around 50 delegates expected to be in physical attendance.

The ‘Culture of Peace’ theme recognises that as well as being the UK’s only City of Peace and Reconciliation, Coventry will be the UK City of Culture for 2021.

Professor Mike Hardy, chair of RISING, said: “RISING has never failed to inspire and provoke fresh ways of building and sustaining peace – this year the vibrancy of Coventry’s agenda with everyday culture will set an example for so many other places. The speakers already confirmed for this year will continue our rich tradition of drawing influential commentators to our city.

“This year’s line-up will bring great experience and insight to the theme which acknowledges the very real and rising issue of cultural and national identity threatening peace and international co-operation.

“The coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have brought questions about our citizenship to the fore, and RISING participants will explore the culture of peace as an integrated approach to preventing violence and conflict around the world.”

For more information about the free-to-attend event and prior registration, visit the RISING website or email [email protected]

RISING was launched in Coventry in 2015 as an international platform to exchange ideas and inspiration about new ways to build and sustain global peace, and has since gained widespread international recognition.

It has spawned events in Colombia, the US, Mexico, Westminster and Northern Ireland, and enhanced the city of Coventry’s unique standing as a source of inspiration for peace and reconciliation across the world.  

During the recent lockdown, RISING has also launched a series of short online films through YouTube entitled ‘RISING Great Reads’, which have been viewed more than 1,100 times.

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