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Coventry University and Yusuf Islam Foundation partner in exploring peace

26th Feb 2021
Coventry University and Yusuf Islam Foundation partner in exploring peace

Elham Asaad Buaras

Coventry University and the Yusuf Islam Foundation (YIF) have partnered to explore the meaning of peace in 2021.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the hit song Peace Train by Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens).

The song was penned about longing for peace and a better world. In early 2020 the initiative Peace Train was established by the YIF with a focus on feeding the hungry and spreading peace.

Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR) and YIF have designed a series of activities as part of a project called Peace Train Sounding Louder, to explore the current concept of peace.
The project aims to address the urgent, widespread and international issues of conflict and insecurity.

Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor, Assistant Professor CTPSR, said: “I first encountered the song Peace Train many years ago as a 21-year-old. When I think about it, I realise that this song and the meaning I drew from it has probably informed how I chose to live my life.

The Peace Train Sounding Louder initiative creates a space where, like me, more people can be inspired by the song; crucially it will create spaces for serious, meaningful and artistic discussions on peace that are relevant to our everyday lives.”

In this first year, shaped by CTPSR and the Foundation’s shared vision to establish peace, the partnership will be running a series of creative and educational events.

They will work with schools in the UK and abroad to engage children in discussions and promote artistic expression around the topic of peace. Applications are now open for a photography competition for youths, to visually capture their understandings of everyday peace. Award-winning Coventry-born Reuters photographer Hannah McKay will be one of three judges, including Islam.

This celebration of peace will conclude with a virtual online summit on June 26, 2021, that will include masterclasses on peace studies, storytelling and poetry.

Hasana Islam, CEO of YIF said, “With 2021 being the 50th anniversary of Peace Train, we are looking forward to celebrating the anniversary through continuing the work of peacebuilding with Coventry University.”

Participants will also be signposted to external opportunities to continue their learning and activism, from simple actions like petition signing to pursuing passions for peace-building, either voluntarily or as a viable career choice.

The organisers of the project invite people to submit their memories of the Peace Train song and what they believe it means in 2021. PeaceTrain@coventry.ac.uk

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