Temple 2015 | Peace and Reconciliation | Warrington to Derry~Londonderry

Posted 15/03/2015 by bproject
Categories: Uncategorized

Spring is a time that the natural world reminds us of the power of life. Trees and plants start to bud and blossom, species of animal such as sheep give birth. It is a season when the air seems clear, daylight lengthens, when we feel hope, optimism and renewal.

In 1993, Bridge Street in a northern English town, Warrington, reflected that spirit of hope. It was the day before Mothering Sunday and families were out shopping for presents. When the first bomb exploded all sense of the positivity of Spring was shattered. There was no warning. Shops evacuated, many people ran, some more curious came to look and then the second explosion came. Semtex in an enclosed bin creates a ‘grenade’ of enormous power and the shrapnel goes horizontally meaning children and lower limbs are those at greatest risk.

Johnathan Ball, aged three, died on the street. Tim Parry, aged twelve, took the full force of the blast – he didn’t stand a chance – his life support system was turned off five days later. Bronwen Vickers, a young mother had her leg in a position that shielded her four year old daughter Hannah and her 13-day-old baby, Harriet was protected by her pram. Bronwen lost her leg and over a year later her life. 54 others seriously injured and thousands affected.

The IRA activists were long gone and have never been caught. The global outcry was intense, from London to Dublin, thousands took to the streets united by a cry of ‘enough is enough,’ politicians and the protagonists couldn’t ignore it and Warrington is long remembered as a seminal moment in a peace process that continues to this day.

There was anger and confusion, but from early days there was a spirit of questioning, a search for answers and a desire not to seek revenge, justice or retribution but rather to look at how reconciliation could take place so no other person would face this experience.

That desire for reconciliation became a search for peace and the boys became a symbol of that activity, stimulating Warrington organisations from choirs to faith groups to newly formed charities to sporting clubs – joining together in a spirt of enterprise and reconciliation to forward the cause of peace.

Some 22 years on, that peace movement is now a global force. At the heart of the town, Bridge Street remains as it was but is adorned with incredible public art and street furniture sculpted with the input of children and with a central ‘River of Life’ theme and waterfall feature, acting as a memorial and sitting at the scene of the incident.

Many organisations like faith groups, the local Council and the football club actively promote peace and reconciliation.

Two kilometres from the town centre stands the incredible Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Centre. A large-scale building in its own grounds, constructed of wood and shaped like a dove. The Centre is a major facility with spaces for sport and art, residential facilities, cafes, restaurants and indoor and outdoors spaces used to deliver innovative projects and conferences.

The Foundation, set up in memory of the boys, has developed to be one of Europe’s leading conflict resolution and peace building specialists operating a United Kingdom Survivors Assistance Network supporting victims, survivors and those affected by terrorism, war and political violence. The Foundation also works across all areas of prevention and resolution of such violent conflict promoting dialogue, citizenship, violence prevention through to be being at the forefront of practice in countering extremism and de-radicalisation.

The basis of this work that now tackles contemporary conflicts as well as the legacy of the past came from the tragic and horrific incident twenty-two years ago and the learning from ‘the Troubles’ on our islands. That work of reconciliation and understanding between our countries and communities must never end.

Together, we must celebrate and respect our shared lives and cultures.

On a hill overlooking the city of Derry~Londonderry stands a structure called Temple. This is no ordinary building, as until a few weeks ago it didn’t exist, and like many other aspects of Spring, this extraordinary project is growing and taking shape alongside all the the elements of life and nature itself.

The Temple is part of a radical arts project by creative producers Artichoke with ‘Burning Man’ artist David Best.

Together with people from across the local community, a beautiful shared structure is being built that will soar up high before it is ceremonially burnt. Temple turns traditional associations with bonfire burning in Northern Ireland on their head.
The build and the burn is set to bring lifelong memories for the City, but Temple has a resonance and a legacy that goes much further. The grand structure is the artists, but its detail, story and narrative will be shaped by people from across Derry~Londonderry and beyond.

The building and the burn coincides with the twenty second anniversary of the Warrington bombing and the commemoration and reflection that goes alongside our renewed seasonal hopes for reconciliation and peace.

On Monday 16th March, a small delegation from Warrington will travel to the Temple. The delegation will consist of Warrington faith and community leaders, representatives of the Peace Centre and Harriet Vickers, the daughter of Bronwen and no longer the 13-day-old baby that survived the Warrington bombing, but a young woman now working full time for peace and reconciliation. They will carry with them a symbol of peace to place inside the structure and to represent our collective desire for peace. The symbol will combine two elements of life – water and earth. The earth represented by a frame made of branch cuttings taken from the Peace Tree. The tree was planted at the tenth anniversary of the Warrington bombing and every year on the anniversary day, water is brought from the River of Life memorial to the tree to coincide with the beginning of Spring and as the tree buds reflecting our renewed hopes. In the frame will be a picture of the Centre, set up in memory of the boys, and the home of inspirational work for peace globally; and also the continuing east west dimension of ‘the Troubles’ peace process. Water from the River of Life will be brought to Temple and mixed with water from Northern Ireland to symbolise how at our basic elements we are all as one of the same. These two symbols of hope and life – water and earth will be left in the Temple and then air and fire, the other two elements, will be added at the burn to create a symbolic desire for peace on our islands and beyond. The artists hope that the vision of Temple is that the combined experience of all inputs to Temple, and the thousands of hours that local volunteers will put into building it, creates a moving space for thought, reflection and contemplation.

When it burns all is renewed and revitalised in a shared experience for the City and beyond. Our visit and peace symbols of earth, water, fire and air, will be a part of that.

On the day of the burn our team will be working for peace in County Donegal, Ireland; leading an exercise with people from across our islands who have experienced severe trauma due to violent conflict. The group of about thirty people will attend the burn to act as witness to our hopes FOR PEACE.

Nick Taylor | March 2015 | additional words Artichoke

Mankind: misnomer or call for action

Posted 15/03/2015 by bproject
Categories: Uncategorized

I was listening to the radio when I heard documentary-maker Leslee Udwin talk about her film ‘India’s Daughter’ and her decision to leave India.

The film, made to be screened on International Women’s Day – #womensday – reported on a violent and horrifying rape of a student that led to her death from the appalling internal injuries she suffered.

In it, one of those involved, Mukesh Singh suggests his victim would not have been killed if she had not fought back against her attackers and appears to blame her for not behaving like “a decent girl”.

He says: “When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after ‘doing her’, and only hit the boy.”

If ever a radio interview stopped me from moving and took my breath away it was this.

But there was worse, the lawyer defending this man defended and even promoted his actions by saying: “In our culture, there is no place for a woman.” The other lawyer said if his daughter or sister engaged in pre-marital activities he would take them to his farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her alight.

All of this in India, a nation that likes to think of itself as civilised, a democracy and fast developing and accepted for the like of our business and investment. The response from the Indian Government – to ban the film, to silence the matter and to enforce the female documentary maker to flee the country for fear of arrest.

There are no words to describe how this made me feel. Words like horror, shame, anger and any other just don’t do justice to the brutality and evil being perpetrated by some men against women.

Leslee Edwin perhaps describes it best by saying: “My encounter with Singh and four other rapists left me feeling like my soul had been dipped in tar, and there were no cleaning agents in the world that could remove the indelible stain.”

The one word it did get me thinking about was ‘mankind.’ That word is a noun that is about human beings considered collectively – the human race and researching its synonyms throws up: the human race, man, humanity, human beings, humans, Homo sapiens, humankind, the human species, people, men and women.

In a past archaic form the word did also mean men, as distinct from women. But break the term down and you have two distinct and interesting words: ‘man’ and ‘kind.’ The latter used as an adjective means ‘having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature.’

International Women’s Day is a celebration of women and their achievements. It is also a time when the injustice from the ‘glass ceiling’ and cases of inequality will come to the fore, where the terrible crimes against women can be highlighted but also the incredible ‘voice’ and roles women hold distinct from men.

For me, there is one thing everyone can do today – male and female – that is to reflect on what kindness to our fellow humans means and consider how best we can always be kind in its truest sense. It may appear a naive notion to hope that a nation state like India and its lawyers and Police and judiciary learn this, but its a sentiment we must work for, and there are examples of what can be done.

The organisation I work for, the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace, is undertaking a project called Women Building Peace. The project will today celebrate International Women’s Day by bringing together women from across the world, many of whom have faced violent conflict in their countries, communities and themselves personally. We will be helping them to ‘raise their voices for peace.’ It is only through all of mankind joining together to raise our voices and take action that we will bring about change.

Documentary maker Leslee Udwin is a brave woman that has done just that. She has used her film making skill at great personal cost to raise her voice and by doing so has done a great favour to women of the world in highlighting barbaric actions and attitudes of a number of males whilst also shaming those in power who sit impotent or worse condone such acts by their inactivity and cover ups.

Today, I will be part of International Women’s Day and my intention will be to display kindness as I want to show that the men that Leslee encountered will not win through and that we must challenge and stop this sort of attitude and behaviour.

If we all did just one thing for International Women’s Day then it would help immensely – maybe by just tweeting or putting an item on your Facebook you could help and use the hashtag #womenwagingpeace or maybe you want to do more – on our website is a donate page for just £10 we will provide a woman with our Language for Peace Handbook. If you e-mail my colleague jonathan.levy@foundation4peace.org expressing support then we will send you a special memento of this day.

Please support International Women’s Day and #womenwagingpeace


Nick Taylor is Chief Executive of the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace and on International Women’s Day will attend an event to support 40 women on the Women Bulding peace Project in looking at ‘raising their voices for peace.’ The views expressed in this article are that of the author only.

2014 a year in review

Posted 31/12/2014 by bproject
Categories: Uncategorized

Foundation for Peace Chief Executive, Nick Taylor reviews 2014
A year ago when I published a similar review of 2013, I could not have conceived of the sheer horror that violent conflict would bring to the world in the preceding twelve months.
The acronyms ISIL or is it ISIS or is it perhaps two words ‘Islamic State’ had not entered our public lexicon and places such as Syria, Iraq, Israel, Palestine and the Ukraine hardly gained a mention.  In fact, reading the list of the 53 US designated ‘foreign terrorist organisations’ issued in January, none of the above warranted a reference, demonstrating how fast the world of terrorism, war and political violence evolves.  2014 has changed so much in the global landscape and taken violent conflict to new levels not seen since the end of World War II.
The 2013 statistical index, documents 9,707 attacks worldwide. It was  8,400 in 2012. One every hour now one every 55 minutes.  These attacks resulted in more than 17,800 deaths (5,400 in 2012 so huge increase in fatalities) and 32,500 injuries.  The figures for 2014 will be worse still and many of the incidents will defy the statisticians.
There are constant reminders that our world is affected by violent conflict – as the year ends we are confronted by daily examples from a ‘lone’ attack on a coffee shop in Australia to mass killings of school children in Pakistan.  Brutal executions undertaken using the full power of social media to spread extreme ideologies had led to an upsurge in far-right politics and a test of tolerance of those who express more moderate views.
For the Foundation, we faced a far different challenge. Actually, proving our worth and continuing the existence of a key project became our focus.  Against the global background, how on earth could this be so?
We have no doubt our need is proven – this is a world in which conflict, often violent, is a real risk not just to human life, but to the very fabric of society in upholding freedom and democracy and in creating a stable economic and safe environment. Prejudice and discrimination needs to be challenged whether in our communities, schools, universities and prisons. There is no place for extremism or those who seek to radicalise vulnerable people. Our heath, social and welfare systems should not have to look after those affected, and the human cost – well that is just not something that we cannot tolerate.
In 2014, the Foundation has worked to address these very issues through our unique ‘For Peace’ programme that deals with the prevention, resolution and response to violent conflict – before, during and after.
Our year started mired in politics as we tried to save our flagship project, Survivors for Peace.  A unique offering assisting UK victims, survivors and those affected by terrorism.  It was many of these people who came to our aid to speak out and politicians from all sides of the political divide united to our support with questions being raised in the House of Commons and at Prime Minister’s Question Time.
In March, in the Chancellor’s budget statement, the Government agreed to fund the project for a year and George Osborne said: “I commit to finding for you a lasting solution to your funding issues.”  Survivors for Peace continues and the number of increased referrals, and all of our events this year over subscribed, confirm the great need for this work.  At the time of writing (31 December 2014) funding is not in place beyond March 2015, but the Prime Minister and Chancellor have offered their personal support and so it is hoped that in early 2015this vital project will be funded on a sustainable basis.  In addition, our great supporter the Irish Government, has commissioned work for us to look at the ‘east-west’ dimension of the continuing peace process on our islands.
We also put in place a new ‘Survivors’ team and have entered into other ventures such as a sponsored PhD collaborative studentship held by the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Liverpool.  This three year studentship will focus on the consequences of terrorism for survivors of critical incidents.
We are not an organisation that just works with victims or to a specific agenda such as the pursuit of justice or aligned to a cause such as faith – we offer programmes and services that address violent conflict before, during and after. Our dimensions of work are prevention, resolution and response. But even that description does not demonstrate the uniqueness of our approach as it is in the ‘interface’ areas between those three dimensions that we make the real difference. For example, the bringing together of victims with ex-perpetrators, the use of dialogue not just as a process to help people recover but also in challenging communities to make positive changes and the use of leadership techniques in all areas of prevention and response – victims empowered to challenge and enable change. Our strategy provides an exciting vision and presents a unique ‘public benefit’ making a real difference to society.
Our Founders, Colin and Wendy remain active within the charity set up in memory of their son, and although Johnathan’s parents are no longer with us it was good to see his family involved in a number of our events.
We were visited by many people including the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, the First Secretary to the Treasury and politicians from many of the political parties. We continue to co-Chair the European Union’s Radicalisation Awareness Network related to the PREVENT agenda (PREVENT is part of the EU and Government’s counter terrorism strategy). We continued to attend a number of EU representative bodies and groups and our team worked in many countries such as Somalia, the Lebanon, Canada, the United States, Ireland and across Europe. Politicians united in praise and the Prime Minister paid tribute to our work in the House of Commons.
We are grateful to many in the political sphere who worked hard for us not least David Mowat MP, Nick Bent, Ivan Lewis MP and Tessa Jowell MP.  And, in Northern Ireland, to the executive parties DUP, UUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP and the Alliance, who all came together in support of our work.  We also put on note our thanks to Secretary of State Theresa Villiers for convening a meeting which agreed in principle to remove jurisdictional funding barriers.
Our team increased in size from nine at the end of 2012 to 18 at the end of 2014.  Our charity is financially stable but the elusive goal of remaining sustainable is still a target we seek to achieve.
The media coverage throughout the year continued as they realised our expertise and ability to give independent and intelligent commentary on emerging events and significant issues.  We also increased our use of social media and will be making many changes and developments to our presence on the web in 2015 – all of our coverage was beneficial and factual.
For the second year running, in summer, we sponsored a young man called Scott who lost his dad in the attack on In Amenas in Algeria – he joined other people from around the world in New York to take part in a new programme aimed at young victims of terrorism.
The Mayor of London commissioned us to mange the commemoration of the ninth anniversary of the London bombings in Hyde Park.
Throughout the year we were supported by local fund raisers and volunteers who did everything from sponsored challenges to helping run aspects of the Peace Centre.  We also moved away from local fund raising to more nurturing of regular supporters and donors and launched a new society lottery and many other methods such as donations from retailers every time our supporters bought their shopping online.  The Centre received a makeover and huge support through the main north west John Lewis stores, their partner teams and supplier Halo.
Our international Peace Centre took in more bookings than ever with numerous groups using the facilities for residential stays, teaching and learning to conferences and seminars. National like-minded organisations such as Restless Development and the YMCA hosted events. Our local partner, Warrington Youth Club, continued to increase participation at their events and are a major contributor to the delivery of our charitable public benefit. And the NSPCC, co-owners of our building, celebrated their second year of operating from a new Service Centre in the building.
We launched two major projects.  Women Building Peace, funded by the European Integration Fund, started work in Blackburn, Oldham and Nelson and provides accredited qualifications for ‘third country national’ women in conflict resolution and peace building.
THINK is a project we launched in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester working with young people, aged 14-19, who are potential young leaders.  The project helps them shape ‘thinking’ and influence their peers to prevent extremism.  Given the numbers of young people being influenced by the poison of extremism and the preventative nature of this project, we believe this could be a major pillar of peace building.  The project is financed by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.
Our position of independence and neutrality means we received a number of commissions to work to facilitate dialogue in many communities.
All of these commissions  accelerated our work to a new level and the impact we make.
However, against this great progress, this has been a year of turmoil for the world.  The country threat level was raised and the Government has reacted by pushing a new Counter Terrorism and Security Bill through Parliament, that will most likely receive Royal accent in the coming weeks.  The bill is predicated on many security and punitive measures.  We have been vocal in our agenda that ‘prevention is better than cure’ and our campaign ‘for peace’ will become more pressing in 2015.
The media and politics is responding. This year was the European Elections and whilst the far right in this country, through the British National Party (BNP) and the English Defence League (EDL), lost their way, in Europe the emergent response to ‘Islamism” and the actions of the likes of ISIS, was to turn more to the right.  The emerging threat was from the agenda being captured by certain aspects of mainstream ‘tabloid’ media and UKIP, and others expressing views through a growing anti-immigrant line put forward by the main political parties as a response.
In the next few weeks we will publish our manifesto, not because we are changing our independent stance, but that we need to campaign ‘for peace’ in a far more robust way.  We have many answers to the questions being posed and it is time people understood that we can tackle pernicious agendas of radicalisation, extremism and violent conflict.  But it needs proper investment and support.
The end of the year signified an important development in Northern Ireland – it is exactly eleven years since we published ‘The Legacy – a study of the needs of GB Victims and Survivors of the Northern Ireland Troubles.’ The study concluded with 18 recommendations, many for Government – none of which were implemented and still remain ‘live’ issues. The needs of GB victims and survivors are ignored with a ‘hand off’ and ‘pass the ball’ approach between the British Government and Northern Ireland Assembly.
Last year on New Years Eve 2013 there was a lack of any conclusive outcome from the ‘dealing with the past’ talks after six months of work. This year the NI executive parties, Irish and British Governments did reach an accord via the ‘Stormont House Agreement.’  This document, yet to be fully studied, shows that progress to counter violent conflict and create peace can be made.  It also, significantly, contains two small sentences that show the Foundation is being heard and responded to.
Violent conflict is changing with our citizens at risk from global incidents and the Foundation is fast adapting to provide the new level of service that is needed. Again, there is no overall ‘owner’ and therefore a lack of accountability in Government.  There is no direct funding for our work or sustainability of such funds.
It is this challenge that takes us into 2015 – a New Year that we will hope will be peaceful and prosperous but in reality will continue to need our work to prevent, resolve and respond to violent conflict.  Please join us FOR PEACE.
Nick Taylor – Chief Executive
31 December 2014 – the Foundation for Peace in memory of Tim and Johnathan
peace, violence, conflict resolution, 2014, 2015, New Year, New Years Day, New Years Eve, year, year in review, politics, media, Government, Northern Ireland, Syria, Iraq, Ireland, Great Britain, GB, ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State, Far Right, UKIP, Labour, Conservative, SDLP, Sinn Fein, UUP, DUP, Alliance, coalition, manifesto, Stormont, EU, radicalisation, radicalisation, US, Canada, Somalia, victims, survivors, education, prisons, charity, charities, Foundation, accountability, service, funding, fund raising, BNP, EDL, Manchester, Liverpool, Blackburn, Nelson, Leeds, London, Mayor of London, London 7/7, Nick Taylor, CEO, Colin Parry, Wendy Parry, Tim Parry, Johnathan Ball, Peace Centre, Warrington, David Mowat, George Osborne, Nick Bent, Ivan Lewis, Tessa Jowell, MP, Great Sankey, EU elections

‘how to make content to promote messages for peace’

Posted 04/10/2014 by bproject
Categories: advertising, brand, business, communications, culture, politics, society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

In October 2014 I gave a speech at an event organised for the Department of Communities and Local Government and Breakthrough Digital entitled – digital capacity building project – ‘how to make content to promote messages for peace’ – aimed at local community organisations in the Leeds and Yorkshire area.  here is my speech.

Effective communications – getting peace messages out and about


My name is Nick Taylor and I am the Chief Executive of the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace.

I’m not a peace practitioner – my specialism is in two areas. First, helping complex organisations unlock their intellectual capital. Sounds complicated but what I mean is unlocking the ’softer’ elements of what makes an organisation successful – how they manage their stakeholders from their customers to their investors to the media to their people. Aspects such as ethics and risk and quality as opposed to the harder elements such as assets and finance. The second thing I do is in advising organisations on corporate, environmental and social governance and impact.

I work across all sectors. With bodies like district and city councils and the NHS in the public sector on anything from internal restructures through to hospital reconfiguration to health literacy campaigns. With the private sector, with energy companies undertaking national infrastructure projects through to utilities undertaking large capital projects or operating in sensitive environments. And in the third sector with social enterprise and charities with experience in the arts, health, heritage and most recently peace building and conflict resolution.

I tell you all this because most of those organisations, whilst wildly diverse and different, actually share very similar challenges and therefore similar solutions. Most commonly how they communicate and these days in unlocking their digital capacity.

Today I am going to talk a little bit about that, but I want to do that in a practical way aligned to the way we develop, produce and disseminate communications at the Foundation for Peace and give some examples of social media use and film content that we’ve planned recently. So what better way to introduce this by showing a film we have produced. Let’s take a look

(show film)

So now you have seen the film let me talk for a few minutes and you listen (this time without the moving images) let me try and give you a narrative version of what you have just seen – in other words what I say about the Foundation and then see if you think the five minute film effectively presented what I will now describe and perhaps the gaps between the pitch and how we presented the film.

Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace

is a charity that works nationally and internationally FOR PEACE and non-violent conflict resolution

In 1993 the IRA exploded two bombs without warning in a shopping street in the town of Warrington. It was the day before Mothering Sunday and very busy. The bombs in bins created shrapnel that killed three-year-old Johnathan Ball and five days later 12-years-old Tim Parry lost his life. 54 others were seriously injured. The incident shocked the nation and gained worldwide publicity.

The Parents of Tim Parry, supported by Johnathan’s parents (Johnathan’s parents have passed away) wanted to gain an understanding of why they lost their children. Colin and Wendy Parry were taken by BBC Panorama to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland the USA – during that visit they saw some of the work going on to create peace. They came back inspired, like many there victims, to try and make sure nobody ever experienced what they had gone through.

They formed a charitable trust with many of the donations that had come in after the bombing and they wrote a best selling book about their experience. A scholarship commenced in Tims’ name bringing together young people from different sides of the conflict to try to understand their differences and also share their commonalities.

Wendy Parry had the idea to create a location to house the scholarship and they set a vision to build a centre as a living memorial to the boys so nobody would forget them and that peace could be created. The project became a millennium goal and grew substantially with the involvement of Government and national charity the NSPCC. Opened in 2000, the Centre is a multi-purpose building on a large scale with incredible facilities from residential quarters to cafe to sport to art to special spaces for conferences and project work.

Early work started developing projects in line with new citizenship agendas in schools and by undertaking a huge and diverse number of projects and activities ranging from community youth clubs to residential programmes. In 2001 the Foundation undertook a study looking at the specific needs of GB domiciled victims of the Northern Ireland conflict and from this report work began to provide a series of activities to assist those victims. At the same time, conflict was changing with the likes of 9/11, 7/7 and a gradual move to peace in Northern Ireland. The Foundation began to develop its capabilities working not only with young people but communities generally in building peace and conflict resolution skills.

The Foundation has developed over a further 14 years and is independent and funded as a charity. We do not take sides, we are not aligned to any conflict, we are not faith or political based and we do not pursue causes such as justice or truth. There is no other organisation that takes such a stance. This ‘unique’ positioning is enhanced that we also believe to tackle serious violent conflict (terrorism, political violence, war) you have to deal with the prevention, resolution and response – the before, during and after – it is this combination of skills alongside our position that makes us unique.

We campaign only for one thing…For Peace…that is conflict is inevitable but using violence is not.

We deliver a unique programme made up of numerous projects that continue to develop to match contemporary challenges. Our work still focuses on young people, from offering general leadership development to working with those who may be vulnerable or at risk of using violence or being influenced by extremism. We develop skills with people including working with women to enhance their conflict resolution skills and recognise their unique ability to influence within families and the community. We assist GB citizens and other people domiciled here that may have been a victim, survivor or affected by serious violent conflict

The Foundation continues to grow by reputation and undertakes many projects internationally working with other Non Governmental Organisations. We Chair the European Union’s Radicalisation Awareness Network. We employ a highly skilled in-house team with an extended professional associate network. We provide consultancy including preparedness for humanitarian incidents, facilitation of dialogue and specialist input into the likes of educational resources and new media. In addition our Centre is home to many community organisations and privately hired by many other charities through to businesses for its use as a ‘safe and inspiring and adaptable space’.

What we do?

In essence when asked what we do it is probably one of the hardest questions to answer in a brief and simple manner. Peace is not an easy concept to get a handle on. What we realised very early on in our journey is that conflict is inevitable but the use of violence to further one’s aims and as part of conflict is not a given. In fact the way to resolve any conflict is through dialogue – effective communication. That means on one level it is about listening and hearing and acknowledging other people’s positions on another level it is about influencing behaviours and attitudes. So our projects and overall programme all follow a similar pattern. We create a safe space in which conversations, some of them very difficult, can take place. A space in which we can apply experiential learning and share tools and techniques to enable people to communicate effectively thus helping in conflict resolution and peace building.

The challenges we face

So what are the challenges we face in making the leap from the words I just delivered and the film.

First, challenge for us is we are complex, overly complex and at time impenetrable.

Second, is we are balancing many stakeholders and that film has to speak on many levels – setting our context and history, educating and informing, showing how we deliver, telling our story and acting as a ‘call to action’ – in this case a direct appeal for funding.

Third, how we balance sensitivities with a hard hitting subject area.

So let me throw out some of the techniques we used and that hopefully you spotted in use:

First – the film was relatively short (five minutes) but kept refreshing, staring with high impact of the bombing using actual footage and a powerful narration from our Founder – we used the mother’s voice and news footage of the the father setting the call to action for our Foundation in his son’s name.

Second – we didn’t linger or shock but we sought empathy and engagement before sounding a complete change to building and providing hope. Then we totally changed coming up to date and using a combination of our own people and third party voices to describe the work and our impact.

Third, we allowed people to see our key asset the Peace Centre but occupied and doing work people may not expect or have seen before e.g. survivors of London 7/7 from around the country – people from Palestine and Israel together.

Our final shot left a much changed father sounding the call for action and reminding us of where we came from with images of the boys.

This film has been seen by thousands from showing at a gala ball to showing in private to the Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer. It works best in the Peace Centre – our visual checkpoint.

The main challenge is that we are communicating on many levels and the film is but a tool and it requires someone to embellish it and interpret it.

Of course the challenge of using a film as a tool for us to pitch ourselves is just one communication challenge but this is actually something we face across all our communications.

Defining your brand

So, let me share some of our learning about communication. We are a relatively mature organisation stemming from an incident 21 years ago and with a 19 year operating track record. But, our communication journey is one that is developing, somewhat embryonic and open to change. We are novices and the reason I say that is our organisation exists in a rapidly changing environment. The first thing we have done is to find our brand essence.

Understanding what our brand stands for is not only essential for helping us focus our work it is the key for helping us simplify our communications. That does not mean we have simplified down to a very narrow offering as that would not reflect the world we operate in but we have looked for what defines us, what makes us unique.

In our case there is the Parrys and what they give us. Having active founders can be a challenge but it is also a huge asset as their declared positions gives us an ethos – so they do not pursue justice, they express a common view of not wanting their experience to happen to others, they inspire others – it gives us a real legitimacy to what we do and enables us to do quite brave things.

The position that has developed through our evolution is powerful for us. Not taking sides, not campaigining and not being aligned is powerful although from a communication perspective it could be seen to be weak and anodyne – we position it as a strength.

The asset we have, the Peace Centre, and track record is powerful.

Hide your complexities

Many of the most successful brands, such as Amazon, Apple and Google, have truly complex underpinnings, while providing a simple experience. We are the same – we are off the scale complex and operating in hugely complex environments and yet we stand behind one proposition – we stand FOR PEACE – two words.

Simplify your communications

Organisations that make their communications too complicated, have inconsistencies between their message and experience.

What you have to define is what is the promise you are making aligned with what is the reality people experience.

What any stakeholder wants and demands is a clear link between the value a brand says it provides and what it actually does provide.

Content to promote message for peace

So from our perspective before we tackle content three things to consider:

brand essence
how we hide our complexities
how we simplify your messages

Three rules

Perhaps I can share the three rules we use that guides us into content creation.

First the rule of three or pattern recognition – we humans look for patterns in everything. The rule of three is a hugely powerful tool – listen to any politician, view an advertising campaign or look at brands and the rule of three will reveal itself: A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play – Beanz, Meanz Heinz – Stop Look and Listen, Education, Education, Education. Watch performers such as comedians who set up a joke, reinforce it, then deliver a punchline. Even literature – Friends, Romans, Countrymen. And what is the specialsism of the Foundation for Peace – prevention, resolution and response OR before, during, after.

Even during this presentation I am using the rule: I just used three: brand essence, hide your complexities, simplify your message.

When we are shaping content we try to use the rule of three so it resonates and sticks with our stakeholders.

Rule of two – life is dominated about opposites so: stop/go, black/white, good/bad. Of course real life isn’t like that but it communicating you are often trying to take a position and present an opposite. Peace/War Conflict/Resolution. In other words taking a pain and replacing it with a pleasure. So again in shaping content we often are looking to influence stakeholders through a simple either/or message

Rule of one – simple really actions speak louder than words. Remember what I said about what a brand provides and what it delivers. In shaping content we have to make sure our promise lives up to reality and we try and show actions.

The challenges and methods adopted

Our journey is adapting. Ten years ago much of our delivery was face-to-face but the world moves at a pace and the way we communicate changes almost by the second. It is that fast. We have adapted to look at our whole sensory package and to start to develop new media tools, hence why we are working with leading companies like Breakthrough. Our digital presence is no longer about a linear website, it is about blogs, visual and auditory content, it is not about a Twitter or Facebook account – it is about multiple platforms and additional tools such as Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Yammer, You Tube – about using management tools such as Hootsuite, Evernote and Dropbox – having smart devices in use.

And yet we are a very small team and charity and so it is challenging. We don’t have the ability to have dedicated communications professionals or teams – so we view it is everyone’s responsibility. We don’t necessarily have the ability to ‘train’ people but rather we are seeing communications as a naturalised skill to be developed and we have to constantly look to enhance all our capabilities. An example is we recently invited a skilled social media thinker to be at our team meeting and talk about the analytics and algorithms that drive social media effectiveness. Often its a case of just looking else where for best practice e.g. at the moment our team is watching the approach taken by a retail brand – Lidl and looking at how they are communicating and lifting the ideas for application in our are oaf expertise. It is a cut and paste society and we will adopt best practice in this way.

From recent discussions we have learnt how to schedule content and pre-planning it as well as responding and building up our digital profile. We have a long way to go – all the time we are using the three rules and working to an overarching campaign around essence, complexities and simplification.

Hopefully this has given you a flavour of how in forwarding the cause of peace we have to get ever more sophisticated in our communications – we have to do this as the enemies of peace are accelerating and adopting very professional communications. We have to change that and so or content has to be more compelling that theirs and more thought and action provoking.

At the beginning I described how I worked across many sectors. Best practice exists – you just have to look for it. Look outside and around you and in the most unusual of places. Look at how top brands who you admire or who get it right do it. We are a ‘cut and paste’ society so, and I finish with this rule of three and use the words cautiously but not be afraid to beg, borrow and steal – of course all for peace.

Thank you.

Sign off

Join me…For Peace

(e-mail) nick.taylor@foundation4peace.org
(Twitter) @Nick4P
(Professional profile)

(Web) http://www.foundation4peace.org
(Twitter) @peacecentre
(Facebook) Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace
(Phone) 01925 581xxx
(Address) Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Centre, Peace Drive, Warrington, WA5 1HQ
(E-mail) info@foundation4peace.org

A sense of Deja Vu!

Posted 26/09/2014 by bproject
Categories: culture, economy, politics, society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Robert Byrd is a Democrat from West Virginia.  He is an eloquent speaker and his words really resonate with me: “What is happening in this country?  When did we become a nation which ignores and berates our friends? When did we decide to risk undermining international order by adopting a radical and doctrinaire approach to using our awesome military might? How can we abandon diplomacy when the turmoil in the world cries out for diplomacy?

Today at 10:30 (Friday 26 September 2014), the British Parliament is recalled and yet again our country and military are considering a high-altitude conflict (because that is what modern warfare often begins with – drones and flying technology) dropping explosives to thwart ‘terrorists’ on the ground.

Virtually every modern Parliamentary sitting has to face such a recall within its term of office but the consequences of their decisions will be felt for years and decades beyond their political decision making.  In that small chamber in Whitehall the debate and subsequent votes will determine the lives or deaths of people.  It will determine the post trauma and stress that will be experienced by people and it will set in place the behaviours and attitudes of future generations and actions that may follow amongst our population and in our communities.

The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace  was set up by the parents of a child who died as a result of others making decisions and the consequences that followed.  The Founders of the charity I work for stood up for peace by saying clearly that they didn’t want what they have experienced and still experience ever day to happen to anyone else.  Every day our Foundation works FOR PEACE – simply defined that we accept that conflict exists and is a reality in our personal lives, in our homes, in our communities, in the workplace, in every ‘walk of life’ including across races, religions and nations.  BUT, we believe, you don’t need to resort to violence to resolve conflict.  You do it through dialogue, mediation, negotiation, sharing experiences and understanding and yes, as Robert Byrd says – diplomacy.  Violence results in violence – there is no other conclusion.

In recent weeks I have called on the Government to look closely at the long-term investment and actions that need to be taken.  There has been a resounding silence.  When Robert Byrd spoke his words there was also a resounding silence.  We need to have this debate and we need it now.  Politicians have to look beyond their short-term lifespan of five years.  We need Government for the decades and centuries.  Our history shows us the decisions of previous Parliamentary recalls and the actions taken.  Our present shows us the consequences of those decisions and today one can’t help feeling a sense of deja vu!  The words I quote from Robert Byrd are powerful and similar may be spoken by another politician today.  In fact, Robert spoke those words on 19 March 2003 over a decade ago.  How far have we come, have we learnt anything, and perhaps it is time his words were listened to and heard.

Democracy is broken

Posted 19/09/2014 by bproject
Categories: culture, economy, politics, society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Democracy is broken – of that there is no doubt.

Modern politics is about the HAVEs and the HAVE NOTs about power vs. vulnerability.

The politics of lying is the norm made possible by the likes of Thatcher and Blair who took on a nation’s trust and hopes and drank them up for their own personal gain and power.

Scotland’s electorate can stand proud because 84% of them showed what democratic citizenship is all about.

They exercised choice although influenced by uncertainty and unknown outcomes.

The May 2015 election is now beginning but we will not have that turnout – we must remove coalition as a form of political governance as it does not work and bring back social democracy but based on sound values and promises that are lived up to.  Not sure any of the present parties offer that.

We need the optimism of 1997 but this time the honesty to deliver on promises with integrity – pigs are flying by my window as I write this but I live in hope


Democracy – time for a change

Posted 10/09/2014 by bproject
Categories: culture, politics, society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I have to confess the Scottish independence vote has crept up on me.  Whether I have been dazzled in the bonhomie of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games or distracted by the various Edinburgh fringes; I haven’t given it a lot of thought.  But, forgive me if I am mistaken, neither have most of the non Scottish electorate and neither have our political leaders given the incredible panic that seems to have gripped them since an opinion poll flashed a ‘red light.’

The lack of certainty and unknowns around a simple binary decision of yes or no are quite astonishing.  Not just for Scotland, but those of us that live south of ‘passport control’ – what is going to happen? ‘Democracy’ and its processes and institutions are never going to be quite the same.

I agree with Adam Lent and Matthew Taylor at the RSA in their recent blogs that Westminster is creaking and indeed democracy generally is taking a bashing.  In truth the Westminster demise has been coming for a long time. 

Matthew Taylor’s RSA Blog

In 1997 ‘things could only get better’ rallied us behind a set of time served apprentice ministers such as Brown, Mowlam, Straw, Blunkett and of course Dewar who marched out of No 10 into the sunshine with shiny portfolios.  Within hours Brown was announcing fundamental changes of policy with the Bank of England, Mowlam was heading to Stormont on a journey towards a monumental Good Friday a year later AND Dewar was on the train to Edinburgh to set in progress the process that leads to next week.  I was actually walking down Whitehall outside the Scottish Office when Donald shook hands with his Civil Servants and witnessed this great moment.  In fact it was such a time of hope – what happened?  I’m reading Peter Osborne’s telling account – ‘The Rise of Political Lying’ published in 2005 and quite frankly his account has me burying my head in my hands.

The slippery slope of the noughties leads us to 2010 and I think ‘coalition’ has been fatal for political leadership.  Out went manifestos, the idea you know what you are voting for, in came blame (we have inherited the worse deficit ever etc) and a complete disaster of ‘corporate governance’ which is predicated on the fact that responsibility and accountability is somewhat the cornerstone of good leadership.  I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with three out of four of the great offices of state over the last two years and all are in their own way impressive but scratch beneath the surface to the ministries and it is like exposing a ‘rabbit in the headlights.’

We are in trouble and one can’t help that our 2015 election will be driven by shallow personality battles – all that will be missing from the leader debates will be a celebrity panel led by Simon Cowell passing judgement before handing it over to the public vote.  We may as well replace Dimbleby with Ant and Dec.

This malaise is being replicated worldwide.  President Obama’s recent ‘we haven’t got a strategy’ on Islamic State, and worse comparing them to a Varsity football team beggars belief in terms of leadership.

Perhaps we need to reconnect and there is hope.  An organisation I admire, Club de Madrid  will focus on a discussion of the state and the future of democracy, marking the launch of the two-year, Next Generation Democracy (NGD) Project.  

They will pose the question ‘Is the crisis in democracy perception or reality?’  There is a growing sense that democratic governments are not delivering, and that people’s expectations are not being met.  They will lead a Call for Action, organised by them and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.  The dialogue, to be held in Italy, will offer a unique opportunity to engage in a comprehensive analysis of regional dynamics and potential threats to democracy, with nearly 100 democratic former heads of state and government and a variety of political and social actors.  Hopefully they will deliver some real leading thinking and solutions.

Closer to home, I will be in Wigan on Saturday at the fourth annual ‘Diggers’ festival.  This little know event is growing in stature and commemorates the life of Gerrard Winstanley who was born in the town.  Winstanley was part of the radical movements, like the Levellers, in the 17th century and published his ‘A declaration from the Poor oppressed People of England’ (1649).  His occupation of St George’s Hill in Surrey was a real social action that brought about change and on Saturday Wigan will remember their little known son; and bring together social and political activists, poets, musicians, artists and academics for connect us with the idea of true democracy, social action and radical activism.  I’ll be alongtaking heart that democracy is not owned by some failing elite in Westminster but is owned by us all.

In the words of Gerrard Winstanley:

“we are resolved to be cheated no longer, nor be held under the slavish fear of you no longer, seeing the Earth was made for us, as well as for you: And if the common land belongs to us who are the poor and oppressed, surely the woods that grow on the Commons belong to us likewise: Therefore we are resolved to try the uttermost in the light of reason, to know whether we shall be free men, or slaves…And if we strive for freedom, and your murdering governing laws destroy us, we can but perish.”

Not taking sides can be the side that really matters

Posted 06/09/2014 by bproject
Categories: society

Tags: , , , ,

The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace is pretty well unique in that it doesn’t take sides in a conflict but actually makes a far more challenging and difficult choice that results in a greater impact.

Many people ask how the Foundation positions in relation to conflicts such as that in the Ukraine, the dreadful daily incidents in parts of Africa, the violence in Israel and Palestine or in relation to the actions of Islamic State (formerly ISIS forces) in Syria and Iraq. Why do we often work with ex perpetrators of violence as well as survivors and victims? Why do we not actively campaign on aspects such as justice, truth or a particular cause? Why do we not condemn a particular side or even take sides?

Our position of neutrality and independence can sometimes be viewed as not taking a position and yet we do take a position – perhaps a stronger and harder position than many campaign and activism organisations. A position we are passionate about and will not rest or compromise on. That is that we have one position that we campaign on – a campaign for peace.

Peace to us is not some dove based symbolism, not about ‘flower power’ or living in perfect harmony. It is hard-edged, pragmatic and about being brave enough to challenge anyone who thinks that violence is acceptable or an answer to conflict.

At the Foundation for Peace we believe the ‘fight’ is against violence and about an uncompromising challenge to those who use ‘violence’ to further their aims. Those that further hatred whether that be race, political or faith based. Those that advocate discrimination and prejudice. Our version of peace is tough, and therefore we work with all sides on one basis, that they will sign up to a set of principles that work towards a world without violent conflict.

Violent conflict is increasing, the first time since the second world war, and yet many of us are immune to the news feeds and the horrors that are taking place in front of our eyes. So what can you do to help? What do you think of our position? Do you think the side of ‘peace’ we take is right and will make a real and lasting difference? Join in the debate and let me know your thoughts.

Nick Taylor – Chief Executive Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace August 2014

Is the ‘witch hunt’ to become the way we regulate civic society?

Posted 11/11/2012 by bproject
Categories: brand, business, communications, culture, economy, media, politics, society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Reputation has always been intangible and the pace in which solid careers and organisations can crumble is remarkable.  However, this year marks a very sinister change for those wrestling with stakeholder and reputation management as it appears all usual norms are suspended and we have an anarchic and almost uncontrollable court of public opinion driving leadership decisions.

The resignation of the BBC Director General is very worrying as is the fact that we seem to have lost the concept of normal regulatory governance or even legal practice such as innocence until proven guilty and beyond reasonable doubt.

Are we to allow regulation to be a witch hunt dictated by popular opinion and driven by a shallow media and political crowd through their incessant inquiries, select committees and the unchecked and unqualified opinion of the twitter-ati. Are we on a slippery slope?

I believe that leadership essentially demonstrates two behaviours: that of being accountable and that of being a victim. The Coalition tends to use terms like “we inherited the worst situation ever” or “we are clearing up the mess others left behind” as opposed to the 1997 approach of arriving with ministerial portfolios (Brown, Mowlam, Dewar, Straw etc) and just getting stuck in. This is not a political comment by the way just an observation of victim vs. accountable leadership.

I think resignation (or calls for such) is in fact victim and it resolves nothing – in fact it is the easy way out. I just wonder if the present political and regulatory climate is such that we are in absolute victim mode and that the ‘witch hunt’ mentality is feeding off that. What we have at one end of the spectrum are real victims (those children who were abused) but then a hunt for liability through some form of victim creation.

The reason I started to get very nervous about all this was listening to the senior director of one of the country’s biggest charities saying we should ‘believe’ all victims that come forward. That is dangerous and ignores basic law and as we have found with Lord McAlpine is such wrong advice to give.

I think this is now a situation in danger of getting out of control and we need to get this debate airing publicly because I fear an Arthur Miller play is becoming reality.  For those trying to advise and manage reputation 2012 is becoming a watershed moment that may require entirely new methods and approaches.