Plaques and pledges have been designed by students in 70 schools across Londonderry to create a new ‘pathway for peace’ which demonstrates the community’s commitment to, and eternal hope for peace. The plaques were original pieces of artwork from each and every school that took part, which are to be displayed alongside the 25 word pledges.
Ireland’s first peace flame was revealed earlier this year by the human rights advocate Martin Luther King III and it was this event that inspired the idea for the pathway for peace. The historic event draw a crowd of thousands from all across Derry and spectators watched as peace pledges were given to Mr King. Residents and supports were encouraged to get involved with the project by Dr David Latimer and Paddy Mackey.
Dr Latimer went on to say of the pathway, that “It will be a powerful beacon that can inspire thousands to turn their dreams of peace into a reality”, and that the 25 word peace pledges were exactly what the youth of Derry needed to believe in to maintain a peaceful society.
Additionally, Londonderry education minister, John O-Dowd, hoped that it will inspire schools across the Emerald Isle to follow in their footsteps. He went to on to say that “Sometimes us grey haired people have to step back and allow the young people to give the leadership. I think if we give them leadership, we’ll have a better society”. He continued “growing our economy, tackling disadvantage and building a strong and shared community are just some of the challenges we face and education has a vital role to play in driving progress on these issues”.
When asked about the unveiling, Dr Durkan said that it represented a “tremendous statement of hope and purpose”, that he was blown away by the plaques, warmed by the sentiment and impressed with the open, positive outlook of the students.
Congratulations were awarded to those involved in the Derry Pathway to Peace and the notions behind it. Dr Durkan also said that it demonstrated a great deal of respect and a concern for those around the students involved in the project.
He finished up by commenting on the concept is not only making strides towards peace, but also that it will remain a milestone for the city of Derry.
The pledges will soon be collated into a booklet on behalf of the Western Education and Library Board to be used a learning tool as well as a piece of inspiration from the youngsters of Derry today.