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President of East Timor Visits Bradford to Talk of Reconciliation and Launch World-Wide Petition

5 March 10


Nobel Peace Prize winner and President of East Timor, José Ramos-Horta, will be visiting the University of Bradford on 5, 6 and 7 March, to discuss the problems facing his country and launch a world-wide petition for young people demanding democracy in Burma.

President Ramos-Horta has worked tirelessly as a peacemaker for the people of East Timor, plagued by poverty and divided communities. Later this week he will be working with 250 young people on practical ways of making the world a more peaceful and just place.

The University of Bradford was the first UK university to introduce degrees in Peace Studies and hosts one of only seven international Rotary Peace Centres around the world. President Ramos Horta's visit is part of the University's prestigious PeaceJam event, now in its fifth year.

President Ramos-Horta will be launching a world-wide petition while at the University, on behalf of young people around the globe. The petition will call for the immediate release of  fellow Nobel Peace Laureate and Burmese Prime Minister elect, Aung San Suu Kyi, before the Burmese elections in October 2010. Pro-democracy leader, Ms Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for 17 years, was refused her latest appeal for release by the Supreme Court in February this year.

PeaceJam is an international education programme which started in the USA over ten years ago and now operates in nine other cities across the world. Bradford is the only place in Europe to host PeaceJam, which is lead by Nobel Peace Prize winners, including Ramos-Horta and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Tickets for the talk by President Ramos Horta, entitled 'Reconciliation and tackling extreme poverty after civil war', which takes place on Friday 5 March at 5pm in the Great Hall, Richmond Building, at the University, are available for £5 by visiting www.peacejam.org.uk/events.html.

The President will be at the University for three inspirational days of activities. Around 250 young people from Yorkshire, across the UK and from Europe will be spending the weekend debating global issues with the President, with the aim of inspiring them to make a difference in their own communities.

On Saturday they will be working in groups with University student mentors, doing voluntary work designing products to make and sell raise money for Haiti, clearing a nearby nature reserve, reconditioning recycled carpentry tools ready to be sent to artisans in Africa, and helping unite homeless cats with elderly and disabled people.

On Sunday the young people will be exploring a wide-range of issues such as racism, homophobic bullying, poverty, political oppression in North Korea, and poverty in the UK. Also on Sunday, the young people will be taking part in workshops to design their own peace projects linked to the 'Global Call to Action' - 10 priority areas identified by the Nobel Laureates), which they will present to the President.

In previous years teachers and youth workers have reported how the PeaceJam event in Bradford had changed the perspective and aspirations of young people from some of the most challenging backgrounds.

5 March 10

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Further information for Media Enquirers

For further information please contact the University of Bradford Press Office on 01274 23 3089/3084.

Out of office hours call 07879 437996. Alternatively, e-mail press@bradford.ac.uk or fax on (01274) 236280.