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Annual Coventry Peace Festival To Begin Next Week

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The annual Coventry Peace Festival takes place in November to help the city celebrate Coventry’s unique role as a City of Peace, Reconciliation & Equality, including the RISING 2016 Global Peace Forum

The two week festival is a chance to promote peace and understanding between the many faiths, cultures and communities that flourish within Coventry. Most of the events take place from 1 – 14 November, with other events happening through the remainder of the month and some pre-festival events happening this week.

There are a wide variety of events during the festival that vary from film screenings, talks, craft workshops, poetry, exhibitions, debates and, of course, the Remembrance Sunday Service and Parade at the War Memorial Park on Sunday 13 November where you can join hundreds of people as they commemorate the lives of the fallen of the world wars and other conflicts.

Councillor Abdul Khan, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, Sports, Parks and Events said, “The annual peace festival helps to promote peace and Coventry’s part in the peace agenda. This fortnight of events will hopefully encourage people to engage in the whole issue of peace and understanding in modern Britain. There are a great many local people promoting peace all year round in the city and this festival is also about celebrating the work they do.

“Events include workshops, talks, music and arts projects through to the larger concerts and Remembrance Sunday service and parade. Many people put a lot of time and effort into the festival and it is great to see there are so many things to enjoy and participate in during the festival. I am sure festival visitors will be able to find something in the programme of interest and people take the opportunity to find out more about the importance of bringing communities together.”

Below are just a few of the events taking part. For a full list of events, a downloadable copy of the brochure and more information please visit www.coventry.gov.uk/peace

Just one of the highlights of this year’s festival is the former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo OBE FRSL FKC DL giving the Lord Mayor’s Annual Peace Lecture on the evening of Friday 11 November, in the beautiful setting of St Mary’s Guildhall. Entry is FREE and the lecture will be based on his latest book “An Eagle in the Snow” which features local serviceman, Private Henry Tandey VC, the most decorated private soldier of World War 1.

Coventry’s libraries are heavily involved with this year’s festival. There are exhibitions, the “Books for Peace” collection and many events taking place in libraries during the Peace Festival dates. www.coventry.gov.uk/libraries

The lovely St John the Baptist Church in Fleet St will be holding both a 15 day themed opening of the church from the 31 October to 14 November and also a Peace Festival Concert at 2pm on Sunday 6 November www.stjohnthebaptistcoventry.org.uk

Two film screenings will be part of the festival. One in St Michael’s House, Coventry Cathedral (3 November 1pm), “Black Christmas”, is a documentary that traces the journey of forgiveness and transformation of a perpetrator in the racially charged 1996 Christmas Eve bombing in Worcester, South Africa. Followed by a discussion with Coventry Cathedral’s Canon for Reconciliation, Sarah Hills.

The second film, at The Tin at the Coal Vaults, Canal Basin (9 November 7pm) is a feature length documentary which follows musicians in Mali in the wake of a jihadist takeover and subsequent banning of music. Music, one of the most important forms of communication in Mali, disappeared overnight in 2012 when Islamic extremist groups rose to capture an area the size of the UK and France combined. Rather than lay down their instruments, Mali’s musicians fought back.

Director Johanna Schwartz, who will be taking part in a Q and A session following the film, weaves together a story of courage under fire and accompanies musicians on perilous homecomings to war-torn cities. www.thetinmusicandarts.org.uk

Many regular events continue such as the Annual Peace Pilgrimage (5 November 9.30am) HillzFM radio and Radio Plus’ shows (various throughout, the Annual Remembrance Concert in Coventry Cathedral (12 November), Poppy Drop in West Orchards Shopping Centre (11 November) and much more. There are music events, craft events, yoga, writing workshops, debates and activities for all ages, races and religions to take part and enjoy.

The international RISING Global Peace Forum takes place in the city on the 15 and 16 November with a special local event, RISING FREE, happening at FARGO Village on the evening (7pm) of 16 November. This event celebrates the culmination of RISING 16 and has musicians, live theatre, street art, exhibitions, special speakers, street food and locally brewed beer. www.rising.org

Please pick up a leaflet from the Central Library, your local library or the Council House for the full programme of events. More detailed and updated information can also be found at www.coventry.gov.uk/peace

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