The Cost of Peace & The Rise of Extremism

Delegates mingling before conference

Delegates mingling before conference

RSA digital champion, Rebecca Hanson FRSA attended and reports on ‘The Cost of Peace and the Rise of Extremism’ event held on the 20th March 2013 and proposes ways for fellows to get involved.

Twenty years to the day after two bombs inflicted death and devastation in Warrington, I was deeply honoured to have the privilege of attending “The cost of peace and the rise of extremism”. This conference was organised by the Tim Parry Jonathan Ball foundation for peace with the support of the North West RSA.  It took place in the Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Pace Centre, which was built by the foundation, set up and supported by the parents of Tim and Jonathan, who were killed in the horrific IRA attack on 20th March 1993.

The conference had the dual purposes of promoting the foundation’s latest report, which analyses the financial costs of terrorism, and of exploring and publicising the many other strands of outstanding work carried out by the Tim Parry Jonathan Ball foundation for peace.  This foundation provides customised services in conflict resolution and prevention as well as specialist support for those affected by terrorist attacks.  Leading practitioners and academics in this field spoke and took questions alongside those who have been victims and have used their experiences positively.

Matthew Taylor talking at the event

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive RSA, talking at the event

Key insights included:

Empower the bridge builders, not the gate-keepers.” Phil Wood, author of ‘The Intercultural City’

The opposite of conflict is not lack of conflict, it is the capacity to resolve problems.”  Matthew Taylor, RSA

and

Next time a victim makes a stand we should all stand with them, not just out of sympathy, but out of self preservation and a shared common interest in curtailing terrorism, economic prudence and providing a legacy to the next generation” Jason McCue, expert on transitional justice (peace and reconciliation), conflict-resolution and negotiation.

The capacity of the victim to be an immense force for positive change in situations where no other force has a reliably beneficial effect was the emerging theme of the conference.  It couldn’t have been more powerfully endorsed by the program on BBC2 later the same day, This World – Iraq: Did my son die in vain? which I strongly recommend to readers who find it still live on iplayer.

This foundation is a substantial national asset of which we can be very proud.  We could support it by:

  1. Offering financial assistance or by trying to encourage relevant bodies to support it.
  2. Publicising what it does with pride.
  3. Building links between it and other organisations and individuals who share its concerns and values, particularly those which may be able to use its purpose built centre in Warrington.

Indeed, a number of ways to support the foundation’s work are proposed online. Check out the storify from the event produced by @peacecentre

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