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One month festival of peace coming to London in September

7th August 2014

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Music, comic books, street food... festivals are an essential part of the British summer, giving us endless opportunities to get out and celebrate a multitude of things – every weekend from May to September, if we want to.

A new type of festival is set to hit London this September though, and it’s unlikely to involve dancing in wellingtons in a muddy field.

The month-long Talking Peace Festival, which will run from 8th September to 3rd October, will coincide with the International Day of Peace on 21st September and will feature “a dazzling array of thought-provoking events and pop-up activities - from a South Bank photo exhibition re-visiting Rwanda 20 years on, to a street art showcase about peace in Shoreditch.”

The festival, launched by peacebuilding organisation International Alert, is described as “a groundbreaking initiative to highlight the importance of words in resolving conflict.”

It will include comedy, debate and cookery demonstrations, as well as pop-ups and art events.

The aim is to highlight the fact that peace processes cannot be achieved without first having a conversation, and that creativity is key to communication – “because culture in all its forms can itself be a powerful tool for sparking debate, creating empathy and inspiring change.”

Dan Smith, Secretary General of International Alert, says: “Peace depends on people communicating with each other. This is why dialogue is such a central feature of Alert’s peacebuilding work around the world. We bring together different sides of a conflict to discuss issues, and to identify possible solutions that will avoid violence.”

He adds: “We hope this festival will give a sense of how words can bring people together, and show why dialogue must be the first step for building lasting peace.”

International Alert has more than 30 years experience in building the foundations for peace, and has worked in more than 25 countries.

The complete programme for Talking Peace Festival will be announced later this month.

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