RISING Talks

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Gordon Brown: A Keynote Address

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

We were delighted and honoured to welcome Rt Hon Gordon Brown to RISING 15. Mr Brown is the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and his keynote address focused on global education in times of conflict.

There are 40 wars happening in the world today, 60 million people are displaced through conflict, 30 million of these are children. Mr Brown spoke passionately about the impact of conflict on children and young people and said more must be done to defend their rights. Children are being used as soldiers, girls are being forced into marriage and trafficked as sex slaves, schools are being turned from places of sanctuary into military bases. There are four million refugees from Syria, he said, and two million of these are children whose basic rights to home, shelter and education are being denied. Mr Brown proposed a humanitarian fund for education in emergencies; the Education Cannot Wait fund has since been launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in June 2016.
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What Disposes Religion to Manipulation and Abuse?

12 Nov 2015, 2:00pm - 2:25pm

What is it about religion that so easily disposes it to manipulation and abuse? We often lament the fact that bad people give religion a bad name, but we think less about why this is so often the case. Paying more attention could allow us to liberate religion from abuse, enabling it to play a more positive role in society. The need to understand how religion is manipulated and abused has never been more urgent than now, in our globalised world, where people of different religions interact more than ever. It is important in countries like Nigeria, with a near equal proportion of Muslims and Christians living together in the same nation. And it is important in countries like Pakistan, where there are clear dominant and minority faiths. From his long experience of living the interfaith realities of his home country of Nigeria, John Cardinal Onaiyekan examines the dilemmas and contradictions between the grand ideals of religions and the realities of the lives of religious communities.
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Can we counter religious violence? A veteran correspondent’s view

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

For over forty years Michael Binyon has covered the world’s most intractable conflicts, reporting from Moscow, the Middle East, Washington and Europe. He has seen religion at its worst, and at its best. Here he delves into the murky world of religious violence.

What can be done to counter the extremist appeal of ISIS? Why does religious fanaticism have so wide an appeal, from India, to Sri Lanka, North Africa, Myanmar and in so many other places? We live in a world where 84% of people have faith, a figure that’s set to grow. So what role is there for religious people in peacemaking, including in places where religion seems to be adding fuel to the fire?
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Untapping the peacemaking potential of The Commonwealth

12 Nov 2015, 2:25pm - 2:50pm

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 countries now home to some 2.2 billion citizens between them. With its unique reach and leverage that has developed over time, it is often called upon to respond to conflicts within or between member countries. But its actions are limited and progress is normally slow and painful – and too often imperceptible.

On the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the election of its new Commonwealth Secretary General, peacebuilding specialist and former parliamentarian Sir Simon Hughes calls on the association to do more of the running in global peacemaking, leveraging its unique influence and access to bring conflicted countries into dialogue and to support them as they build cultures of peace within their societies.
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Terry Waite on war and peace – a personal account

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

Terry Waite CBE speaks from his own experience of a lifetime working for peace and reconciliation.

Working for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Terry helped free hostages in Iran, Libya and Beirut. Here he gives an insight into his method of negotiating with the Revolutionary Guards in Iran and Colonel Gaddafi in Libya, both situations which could have developed into serious conflict.

Working to free hostages in Beirut, Terry was captured himself, spending almost five years in solitary confinement. In this very personal account, Terry discusses his time in captivity and the road he took to find a deeper inner peace - an essential road for all peacemakers to tread.
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Getting Somalia Wrong

12 Nov 2015, 2:50pm - 3:15pm

Notorious for piracy of its coast and the rise of Islamist extremism, Somalia is often considered the world’s most comprehensively failed state. A threat to itself, its neighbours and the wider world. At least, that’s how the country is presented by politicians and in the media.

In this insightful talk BBC World Service Africa Editor Mary Harper presents an alternative perspective, explaining that though the country may be a failed state, it’s far from a failed society. In doing so, she reveals what viewing Somalia through the prism of Al-Qaeda obscures – that alternative forms of business, justice, education and local politics have survived and even flourished.

Until the international community start to get Somalia right the consequences will be devastating, and not just for Somalia and the region but for the world.
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Explaining the new oil order: a look at geopolitics and security

Energy markets have had a turbulent year. A collapse in oil prices has squeezed producer countries' economies, amplified regional rivalries, and fueled security concerns from Libya to Iraq.

The geopolitical risk factor could not be more exaggerated: Islamic State's control of oil fields has provided it with an estimated $1.5 million a day to fund its activities and administer its territories, Saudi Arabia - the world's top oil exporter - is at war in Yemen, and Nigeria's new president has put the country's energy sector at the heart of its corruption drive.

Changing relationships between world powers have only added to uncertainty. America’s traditional ties with the Kingdom are under strain, while its links with Iran have broken new ground. Recession-hit Russia is raising the stakes in the gulf through its actions in Syria.

Yet the world, and oil prices, seem to be discounting all of these factors. Is this the new normal? Here Anjli Raval, Oil and Gas Correspondent for the Financial Times, chairs a panel of experts as they reflect on 2015 and the impact of an oil price plunge on the future.
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Why Doesn’t Peace Stick? The Big Question at RISING 15

Peace from conflict is usually heralded by agreements between political leaders. Yet such agreements often fail to mark the end of violence, with communities and countries all too easily descending back into war.

Between 2003 and 2011 every new civil war around the world was a recurrence of a previous one. In Libya, armed groups remain locked in conflict despite the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. In Palestine, violence persistently continues despite nearly 70 years of peacemaking efforts. And in Somalia, the situation remains volatile due to piracy and Islamic extremism. Around the world, the United Nations has a patchy record of success in supporting peace processes in post-settlement environments.

So why doesn’t peace stick? What steps are needed to make peace last? The Big Question at RISING 15 brings together a fascinating panel to discuss these questions and share insights into the reality of volatile and fluctuating patterns of peace and conflict, from Somalia to Kosovo, Liberia to Moscow and beyond.
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Food for thought: RISING’s peace themed feast

12 Nov 2015, 7:00pm - 10:30pm

Join us for a fantastic evening of culinary storytelling, wonder and excitement as we celebrate RISING 15.

Taking place in Coventry’s beautiful Cathedral, our gala dinner showcases the best of world food, with an enthralling excursion into the history of food and peace. In true RISING style, our creative chefs will put on a show to inform and inspire.

We invite you to join us and our speakers as we pay homage to the tireless work of today’s peacemakers. The evening is included within the RISING three day ticket price or tables can be reserved separately by arrangement. It’s a perfect way to thank your clients or colleagues in the run up to Christmas.

Our Food for Thought event will be an evening of great entertainment for a great cause, with double the feel-good factor. And it includes a surprise or two.
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Unravelling Iraq

13 Nov 2015, 10:00am - 11:00am

Emma Sky served in Iraq longer than any other senior military or diplomatic figure. With her unrivalled perspective, she shares her experiences as the Coalition’s Governorate Coordinator for Kirkuk province and later as an adviser to the US Commanding General. Drawing on themes in her recent book, The Unravelling, Emma provides a unique insight into the workings of the Coalition and Iraqi society, setting out the lessons that need to be learnt from this most contentious of wars.

Emma will be signing books during RISING 15.
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