Imperial War Museum Build The Truce
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peaceday_banner2We’re delighted – and privileged – to host a panel discussion on neutrality in NGO and peacemaking activities at IWM London on 22 September, as part of our International Peace Day programme.

Starting in Neutral: What does neutrality matter in 21st century humanitarian conflict response? brings together speakers from MSF, Conciliation Resources, the International Committee of the Red Cross and International Alert in a discussion covering the meaning,  problems and perceptions around neutrality in conflict and post-conflict zones. Dr Tim Jacoby, Senior Lecturer in Conflict Studies and co-founder of the Humanitarian & Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester, will chair what promises to be a lively and fascinating panel discussion. Hope you can join us in the Cinema at 5pm, prepared with any questions for our panellists:

Andy Carl, Executive Director: Conciliation Resourcesled the development of programme work in Fiji, Bougainville/Papua New Guinea, northern Uganda, Somaliland and Sri Lanka. Andy previously worked for International Alert (1989–94) on peace initiatives in southern Africa, Europe, Liberia, the Philippines, Colombia, Iraqi-Kurdistan and elsewhere.

Phil Vernon, Director of Programmes: International Alert joined Alert in 2004, having worked on development, humanitarian and peacebuilding programmes for NGOs in different parts of Africa since 1985. Initially a forester by training, living in Rwanda from 1992-94 inspired an interest in peace. He is a member of the Forum on Corporate Responsibility of mining company BHP Billiton, and a trustee of UK-based development NGO BuildAfrica.

Jeroen Jansen: Head of Programmes Unit MSF,  took up his current role in 2010. He had worked in the field for MSF from 2002 to 2008 in Afghanistan, Liberia, Nigeria, Darfur, Khartoum and South Sudan. He left MSF  to attend the American University in Cairo and obtaining a masters in International Human Rights Law. In 2010 Jansen joined MSF’s London office as head of the Programmes Unit.

Sean Maguire: Spokesperson, International Committee of the Red Cross, broadcasts regularly to explain the ICRC’s policies and operations in zones of conflict. He builds relationships with political, military and civil society stakeholders to generate support for Red Cross humanitarian work in situations of violence. Sean spent 20 years as a correspondent, bureau chief and news editor for Reuters before joining the ICRC in late 2011.

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Help us mark the International Day of Peace 2012 – join us at IWM London or IWM North for a programme of film screenings, talks and performances linked to conflict, truce and conflict resolution.

We’ll welcome organisations who work during or after war and conflict, including MSF, International Alert, the British Red Cross, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Conciliation Resources over 21, 22 and 22 September. Find out more about what they do, where, and why in this free event programme. Pick up your Peace Day schedule on the day, but keep an eye out for these highlights of the IWML HIGHLIGHTS and IWMNorth HIGHLIGHTS.

We’ll post more info about the organisations taking part over the next week too. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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Image of Build a Truce exhibition at IWM London

Richard and IWM London staff with characters from the family storytelling sessions

I have had the most amazing weekends at the Imperial War Museum North and IWM London this month, working with families delivering our new story as part of ‘Build the Truce’. My brief as a writer and storyteller was to create a piece which could explain about conflict and truce for a family audience. Given the freedom to choose how I approached the challenge by Catherine Roberts who commissioned the piece I chose slugs and snails. A simple story of how conflict can escalate and become war, told from the perspective of the two main characters: Sadie and Silas, a slug and a snail who point out to the adults how ridiculous it is that they are in conflict when they are so similar – separated mainly by only a shell. They encourage their elders to declare a truce. Told by myself and the IWM learning teams in both Manchester and London, this has been a fabulously creative and rewarding experience. Feedback from parents and grandparents has been excellent, it was really gratifying to see them all having fun as well as understanding the concept of truce.

Richard O’Neill, writer and storyteller

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