Wednesday, September 21 marked the UN International Day of Peace and 5,000 people from across Northern Ireland, including Senior Prefects and School Council Year Representatives from Coleraine Grammar School took part in the largest youth-led peace celebration to be held in Northern Ireland called Amazing the Space.
The main event was at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Maze/Long Kesh and there were five satellite venues in Ballymena, Magherafelt, L’Derry, Enniskillen and Bessbrook. The event was driven by young people, from the design of the brand to the selection of performances, all of which showcased the talents and abilities of our young people.
Head Boy of Coleraine Grammar School, Zachary Hutchinson, was one of six pupil comperes selected to speak at the event. The Coleraine Grammar School Peace Pledge, composed by Year Representatives from our School Council and recorded for video by Head Girl Grace Carson was played at the event. The Head Boy was also interviewed for television and radio, and was featured on U105 and BBC Newsline evening news.
In addition to events, Mr Semple and U6th political scientists on the LR engaged in a live Video Conference on the Lodge Road campus with international students from Kashmir as part of World Peace Day.
The event also saw messages of support for Amazing the Space from right around the globe including Kenya, Tanzania, Nepal, Indonesia, Mongolia, USA, Korea, Mexico, India, Indonesia, Brazil and many more.
One of the international speakers at the Eikon was Yasmin Kayali, from Aleppo in Syria, who runs a charity for refugees.
The founder of the event Dr David Latimer spoke about the important role young people have in peace-building. He said: “Young people, with open minds, fresh ideas and positive energy are the key to a brighter future in Northern Ireland. The young have the power to forge a path of good hope that shimmers with peace and prosperity. This central idea is the catalytic touchstone of the Amazing the Space Initiative.”
The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA, Jnr. Minister Alastair Ross and Jnr. Minister Megan Fearon were in attendance and placed their own peace pledges on the tree.
The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said: “Today celebrates young people’s role as ambassadors for peace. It is particularly encouraging to see so many taking part and leading the way in building a united community.
“Our children and young people have often led the way in ground-breaking community relations initiatives. This is the spirit we see here today and it’s wonderful to have this opportunity to celebrate International Peace Day with everyone here.
“Our young people have an important voice to be heard and it is our job not only to listen but act on their contributions. Events like today help us in our journey towards a society we can all be proud of.”