November 28, 2016, by Charlotte Anscombe

Making Friends with the Enemy – one woman’s life-long mission for peace

On October 12 1984, the IRA (Irish Republican Army) exploded a bomb in the Grand Hotel, Brighton, during the Conservative Party Conference killing five people and injuring many more. Among those killed was Sir Anthony Berry MP.

The family of Sir Anthony Berry was devastated, but for his daughter Jo, it also started a life-long mission for peace.

16 years later, Patrick Magee – the man who planted the bomb – was released from prison and Jo arranged to meet him. As they listened to each other’s story, they came to realise that this was the beginning of a journey of peace and reconciliation to which they were inextricably bound.

Building Bridges

Jo launched the charity ‘Building Bridges for Peace’ in October 2009 – on the 25th Anniversary of the bombing. The charity works to enable divided communities and the general public to explore and better understand the roots of war, terrorism and violence. They promote dialogue and mediation as the means to peace.

For the past 16 years Jo and Patrick have travelled the world and have given talks in Palestine, Lebanon, Rwanda and throughout the UK.

On 30 November at 6pm, Jo will share her story at the University of Nottingham.

Positive change maker

Jo said: “I was 27 when my father was killed, and within two days of that it was important for me to find something positive out of it, to bring some meaning and to even understand those who killed him.

“I am looking forward to speaking at The University of Nottingham to share my journey of becoming friends with the man who killed my Dad in 1984. I will speak about the importance of empathy and how empathy leads to becoming a positive change maker. I always love being with young people and find their questions and responses very thought provoking and inspiring.”

At the event on 30 November, Jo will share her powerful story and talk about her charity. With political, religious and racial divides seemingly deepening as global and local events unfold, Jo will offer a story of hope and will inspire us to see the humanity in those who at first appear to be our adversaries. There will also be time for questions from the audience.

This event is hosted by the Research Priority Area in Rights and Justice, and chaired by Professor Todd Landman, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Free, all welcome. Please book online.

Posted in Social Sciences