City of Peace
Our city has a renowned reputation for peace and reconciliation.
2015 marks 75 years since the Coventry Blitz started our journey of forgiveness and hope.
Since then, we’ve formed strong links with cities around the world that have also suffered in war. The Cathedral’s reconciliation network supports 170 community organisations worldwide. And Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations has a team of over 50 research staff providing crucial insight and technical advice, helping to build peaceful and connected societies.
At home, the city’s many local organisations work tirelessly to ensure that everyone who lives here feels welcome, respected and able to live in dignity. We welcome many migrants and refugees in the city, seeking sanctuary. In fact, we are one of the most diverse places in the country.
We are proud to be seen as a role model and that our Cathedral is considered an icon for reconciliation. We want to build on this with a global forum that cements Coventry’s international reputation and mobilises people around new ways of thinking about peace.
These days, many people suffering through conflict find strength and hope in Coventry’s story. On 14 November 1940, much of the city was destroyed in a German Blitz. When the Cathedral was heavily bombed, only the walls of the beautiful medieval building were left standing. But Coventry responded with hope and love. Six weeks later, on Christmas Day, the Cathedral’s leader Provost Howard took to the wireless to call for reconciliation. This was a brave, prophetic and radical act in a dangerous world.
One of the priests took three nails that had fallen from the roof and fastened them into a cross. This was to become the symbol of Coventry Cathedral’s Reconciliation Ministry from that moment on. The message of reconciliation spread as many of these crosses were given to places involved in reconciliation worldwide.
Over the years Coventry has formed links with other cities that have suffered during times of war, such as Belgrade, Dresden, Hiroshima, Sarajevo, Volgograd and Warsaw. With 26 twinned cities, Coventry has the largest network in the world.
The city also hosts a highly regarded bi-annual Coventry International Prize for Peace and Reconciliation, Peace Festival and Holocaust Memorial Day.