The Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Sandra Duffy, joined Reverend David Latimer this week in the Guildhall, along with local students and community representatives, to celebrate the decision to join the International Cities of Peace network.
Derry and Strabane will sign up to the network in September, joining towns and cities across the world in pledging a commitment to the pursuit of peace, building reconciliation and promoting equality throughout both local and international communities.
Establishing a community as a peace city recognizes past achievements in peace building, encourages current initiatives, and inspires future generations to continue on peaceful pathways.
Speaking at the event, Mayor Duffy said she was delighted to launch the proposal as one of her final initiatives in her year as First Citizen.
“As a city we know more than most the true value of peace building and we have come a long way in our own journey to establishing a peaceful and stable society,” she explained.
“As a Council we have a firm commitment to building community relations which is at the heart of our aspirations to create a ‘shared, equal and safe community’ for all.
“Our Inclusive Strategic Growth Plan prioritises equality and inclusivity, the eradication of barriers and the promotion of reconciliation.
“We all have a role to play, and as part of the International Cities of Peace network we have the opportunity to reaffirm our pledge to achieving lasting peace both locally and worldwide.
“I want to thank Reverend Latimer for approaching me with the idea, and for his own significant contribution to peace building and bringing people of all persuasions together.
“As an official International City of Peace we can continue that work and join cities around the world in exploring new pathways and programmes to enhance community relations and build a better place to live for everyone.”
The designation means that the city will actively explore peace building opportunities for local communities and continue to build on the Good Relations work already being carried out by Council and the Community and Voluntary Sector.
A special event in the Guildhall is planned for September 2023 to celebrate the official signing of the pledge.
Speaking after the event Reverend Latimer said: “The path to today’s event started in 2019 when I received a letter from America proposing that Derry take steps to become established as an International City of Peace.
“The sender of this letter was the Founder & Chair of International Cities of Peace, Frederick J Arment.
“Covid restrictions, however, prevented progressing this proposal.
“Not until 2022 when, restrictions were eased, was it possible to connect with people and begin a series of exciting conversations.
“Undeniably, Derry is highly favoured by being invited to join a global family of Peace Cities.
“Not only does this recognise the people from our City & District who tirelessly toiled to end conflict, foster peace and shape a better future.
“It also permits Derry to become a shop window for people in other places to see, find hope and keep moving forward.”Tags: