Foundation Patron, Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH visits Cheshire to close 20th anniversary commemoration
March 18, 2014 | Nick Taylor
Last week, 14th March 2014, the Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH (pictured with Founders Colin and Wendy Parry) travelled to Cheshire to attend a private dinner to mark the end of the 20th anniversary year following the Warrington bombing in 1993. Sir John was Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1990 to 1997.
Sir John was Prime Minister at the time of the Warrington bombing. He pledged to seek a solution to the troubles in Northern Ireland and launched the Peace Process, working successively with Albert Reynolds and John Bruton as Taoiseach of Ireland. He describes the Warrington bombing as a ‘pivotal moment’ in that process. On 15 December 1993, he and Albert Reynolds launched the Downing Street Declaration. In February 1995, the Framework Document on peace in Northern Ireland was published, following the IRA ceasefire in August 1994. In February 1996 an IRA bomb ended the ceasefire, but all-party talks resumed in June 1996, despite a bomb that month in Manchester. Since the Warrington bombing, he became a close ally and supporter of our Founders and became a Patron of the charity. He is very active in his role particularly in encouraging politicians, business and commerce to support the charity’s work.
The dinner, attended by an audience of regional business leaders and their guests, was hosted at Peckforton Castle near Tarporley. Addressing the guests, Sir John paid tribute to Founders, Colin and Wendy Parry.
Sir John said: “Colin and Wendy have managed to turn an act of sheer calculated evil into a wholly positive force for good by founding this charity that has evolved over the intervening years since the Warrington bombing.
“Their work is as vital today, because sadly, although the world is drawing together economically, there remain many conflicts.”
Sir John called on the business community to offer its support:
“Money is the route to all progress and no one can doubt the value of the work the foundation is doing; but it can’t continue without help and support.
“The Foundation’s work is important. Your role, as business leaders, in contributing and helping the work continue is important”
Colin Parry, Chairman of the Foundation welcomed Sir John and the guests and Chief Executive, Nick Taylor, told the audience that he wanted to start a debate within the business and commercial sectors: “Our aim is to grow this business and to do that we need to create a sustainable model to provide products and services that people want to invest in.
“The world in 2014 is complex, and security risk, global politics and business are intertwined. The UK population is part of a global family so if you work, live or travel abroad then there is risk.
“Over the past few months we have been bringing like-minded business people together to consider what is needed to mitigate the risk posed by violent conflict such as terrorism to UK business organisations and their people, and we want regional business leaders to be part of that debate.”
Guests were asked to pledge some of their time to consider how best they could work with the foundation.
Speech by Chief Executive Nick Taylor:
Last year there were 8,400 terrorist incidents, killing 5,400 people, injuring thousands and affecting hundreds of thousands of others. That is, on average, one terrorist incident every hour.
And yet, such matters are hardly reported in our media, rarely referenced by politicians and seen as fairly low down in prioritising UK corporate risk.
The reason – is that the majority of these incidents take place away from our shores – and yet what price complacency?
This evening, I want to start a debate and I want each of you to be part of the discussion.
You may already know a little about our charity but I would like you to know more AND to consider how we could work with you in business to mitigate risk to your assets. to enhance ‘duty of care’ to employees and to potentially invest in an organisation, the Foundation, that offers a social as well as economic return.
At the Foundation for Peace, we are bold enough to say what we do is unique – it is in our name – the word ‘peace’ – which may conjure up many images, but our definition of peace is quite simple – we believe that conflict in our lives is inevitable, but that all conflict can be resolved AND that there is never any excuse for conflict to be resolved through violence.
So the Foundation for Peace is the only organisation that is set up to provide services in the prevention, resolution and response to violent conflict.
In practice what does that mean?
Well, we work to prevent violence in the first place – in communities, in education establishments and with vulnerable people and groups susceptible to radicalisation and extremism.
We do that here in the UK and in places across the world. In the coming months members of our team are deployed in parts of the world such as Canada, Somaliland, the Lebanon, the US as well as Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
We use multiple techniques such as one to one interventions, through to producing teaching aids, to creating bespoke courses and even commissioning films.
Where problems occur such as tensions between factions in our cities and towns, we intervene to promote dialogue. AND, we are the only organisation that provides an assistance network for any UK citizen who is affected by terrorism either as a victim, survivor or maybe through bereavement or having served in our armed forces.
Oh – and not to forget the creation of the incredible Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball international Peace Centre in Warrington.
What Colin and Wendy created in memory of Tim and Johnathan is an incredible achievement and the world is now taking notice.
My aim as Chief Executive is to grow this business and to do that I need to create a sustainable model and part of that is to provide products and services that people want to invest in.
The world in 2014 is complex – and security risk, global politics and business are intertwined. Our UK population is part of a global family so if you work, live or travel abroad then there is risk. The ability to plan and execute deadly spectaculars are, thank goodness, greatly constrained. But, at home the threats of radicalisation still exists and overseas, western assets, personnel and interests remain attractive targets for certain groups.
So, what Colin and I have instigated over the past few months is bringing like-minded business people together to consider what is needed to mitigate the risk posed by violent conflict such as terrorism to UK business organisations and their people.
We plan to develop, a Foundation offering that provides an enhanced duty of care and insurance to commercial interests as well as offering potential for investment in a charity that has a real social as well as financial return on investment.
Tonight, we are pleased to welcome our patron Sir John Major and you, as our guests to this dinner at which we hope you can find out a little more about the Foundation for Peace and I am just asking for one pledge in return. That is in the next few weeks or months you will agree to meet for no more than an hour so we can put our ideas forward to you in a little more detail. Hopefully, you can then consider how you could help and engage in helping secure the vital work of this charity and in promoting peace.
Thank you for listening.