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Hilary Benn MP: A Keynote Address

11 Nov 2015, 10:00am - 12:00pm

We were delighted to welcome Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn MP to speak on paths to peace in today’s turbulent times.

Mr Benn has vigorously campaigned on issues that create conditions for peace, including demanding stronger UK support for human rights and aid financing. As a longstanding parliamentarian he has been at the forefront of many of the UK’s responses to global challenges, particularly calling for a more comprehensive approach to tackling extremist movements and ideologies. From Gaza to Darfur, Syria to Srebrenica, Mr Benn has advocated powerfully for protecting the world’s most vulnerable conflict-affected people, whilst highlighting the need for more courageous political leadership on the responsibility to protect.
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We hope, and we will overcome. My daily struggle for peace in Syria

11 Nov 2015, 2:00pm - 2:35pm

Karam Hilly talks about his struggles, hopes and fears, and his very personal battle to keep hope alive in Syria, his beautiful home country.

When the wave of popular protest rippling through the Arab world reached Syria in 2011, Karam Hilly was there, taking to the streets with others to demand President Assad’s resignation. He provided training for communities to help them withstand the onslaught of violence that followed, and supported peaceful public demonstrations. Then, in 2014, Karam was detained by the Assad regime.

On his release he fled to Turkey, where he continues his activism and community work. These days, at great personal risk to himself, Karam returns regularly to Syria to support the civic movement. He talked at RISING 15 about his struggles, hopes and fears, and his very personal battle to keep hope alive in Syria, his beautiful home country.

Karam’s talk ended with a screening of his short documentary 'Overcoming', filmed secretly in one day in Syria.
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How to handle rapid change in societies? Make the moderate majority matter

11 Nov 2015, 2:00pm - 2:35pm

Tensions are rising worldwide as countries experience rapid change provoked by migration, technology and globalisation - from Europe to the Middle East, Asia to the Americas. The ways in which societies work and the identities that people hold are ever more contested, risking conflict and chaos. In particular, a serious and antagonistic gap is growing between the religious and the secular, and between people increasingly attached to their roots and traditions and others invested in a global environment.

So how to break out of this deadlock? By strengthening the voices of the moderates – the silent majority who fluctuate between these aspirations and want to make them compatible rather than antagonistic. Here Jean-Christophe Bas offers insights from two decades experience at the World Bank, the United Nations and the Council of Europe, with tangible and scalable stories from around the world to show that there is hope to live together in peace beyond our differences.
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I petitioned the UK government to help Yazidi women and girls captured by ISIS. Here’s what happened.

11 Nov 2015, 2:40pm - 3:15pm

17-year-old Rozin moved to the UK when it became too dangerous to stay in Iraq. She’s part of the country’s small Yazidi community, among the most persecuted minority groups in the region.

Now living in Coventry, Rozin felt compelled to act in support of the thousands of Yazidi women and girls who have been captured and abused by ISIS. Her petition to rally the UK government in response to the crisis has attracted nearly 200,000 signatures and counting.

Rozin’s talk recounts this unfolding story, describing how her activism is raising awareness within government and providing solidarity and support for Yazidi women and girls.

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Our Differences Are Not the Cause of Our Problems. They’re Our Salvation.

11 Nov 2015, 2:40pm - 3:15pm

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon explains how at the heart of Islam and Christianity there are two related truths: that we are one humanity, and that we are from different races, religions and tribes. These differences are a gift, as they give us the chance to understand others, have empathy, and love. But in a world of hatred, terror and pain, where our differences can all too easily define us, isn’t valuing them easier said than done? The road to understanding is a hard one, but Archbishop Josiah explains with meaningful dialogue and real commitment we can make real progress. As the newly-appointed Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon serves 85 million Christians worldwide. He was formerly the Archbishop of Kaduna in northern Nigeria, a volatile Muslim-majority city where tensions between Christians and Muslims run high. He has a Masters degree in Islamic Theology and established the Centre for Islamic Studies at the height Kaduna’s religious riots in 2000.
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Alternative narratives in the global town square – how social media can build stronger, more resilient communities

11 Nov 2015, 4:00pm - 4:35pm

With more than 316 million users worldwide, Twitter has been at the forefront of a revolution in how people communicate. The platform offers a voice to those who may have never before been able to share their thoughts with the wider world, beyond social, religious and national boundaries.

Balancing both a diverse range of perspectives while protecting users requires vigilance, and poses challenges. Here Twitter’s UK public policy chief Nick Pickles looks at how the platform deals with these challenges and how freedom of speech is a powerful tool to promote community engagement and social change.
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Encouraging dialogue against the odds: lessons from my work in Myanmar and Syria

11 Nov 2015, 4:40pm - 5:15pm

How is it possible to encourage dialogue in a place like Myanmar, until recently one of the most isolated and authoritarian countries in the world? Or Syria, where one of the world’s bloodiest wars still rages, with millions now dead, displaced or living in gruelling poverty?

Working with people from some of the world’s trickiest contexts, these are the questions Richard Smith is tasked to consider. He uncovers the promise of dialogue, explaining how it can re-write power relationships and connect people across ideological battle lines, even against all the odds. Applying insights from a lifetime’s peacemaking work around the world, he provides a unique perspective on this vital part of building peace.
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Pencil Power: educating girls in South Sudan

By age 15 a girl in South Sudan is more likely to have died in childbirth than to have completed secondary education.

50 years of war and poverty has disrupted the learning of entire generations in the world’s newest country. Today 2 in 3 South Sudanese girls do not go to school at all, with girls only half as likely to be literate as boys. Of the girls who do go to school, most drop out at around 10 years old, because of the pressures of home life, domestic work, and early marriage and pregnancy.

Three inspiring South Sudanese women join a trustee of Friends of Ibba Girls School to take on the question of education in their home country, exploring the challenge of girls education and the practical steps that are being taken along this very hard road to hope. They show how changing the lives of girl students supports whole communities in South Sudan, with inspiring examples from Ibba Girls School.
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Send in the Clowns – UK premiere

Send in the Clowns explores the impact of prolonged aid in Haiti as it follows a group of idealistic volunteer performers from Clowns without Borders.

When the clowns arrive in Haiti five months before the earthquake, to embark on a three-week schedule of shows, they experience doubts about their effectiveness as aid givers in a country that has received more aid per capita than anywhere else in the world. When they return to a devastated Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake to teach workshops to young adults, they hope to have a more lasting impact than many of the other aid organisations they have seen.

The Haitians instinctively embrace the clown training and appear to be uplifted by the experience. But they also share the personal challenges of their daily lives exposing the failure of most aid organisations to deliver lasting solutions and empower the citizens of Haiti.

In contrasting the work of the clowns with other forms of aid, the film asks whether Haiti’s crippling and conflicted relationship with aid organisations is actually more absurd than sending in the clowns.

Sam Lee's feature documentary premiered in 2015 at the Socially Relevant Film Festival in NYC. It was screened in Brussels by United Nations Cine-ONU in June.

The film will be followed by a Q&A with the film's producer/director and guest speakers
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Getting the most out of Twitter: How organisations can shine online

11 Nov 2015, 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Twitter’s UK policy chief explains what it takes to extend the reach of your messages and increase the success of advocacy campaigns.

From simple top tips to guidance on strategic campaign planning, advice on engaging with Twitter conversations to insights on analytics, multimedia tools and safety, Nick takes us on a whistlestop tour of Twitter best practice.

He will also be available for Q&A afterwards so that you can ask those niggling questions. Don’t miss this chance to brush up on your skills and help your organisation get the attention it deserves!
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