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Seven-year-old interviews cricket hero Imran Khan

12 August 10


Mia Wilkinson and Chancellor Imran Khan

Sporting hero, politician and Chancellor of the University of Bradford, Imran Khan, took time out of his busy graduation schedule when he was last in Bradford to be interviewed by seven-year-old Mia Wilkinson, from St Augustine's Primary School, Leeds.

The interview has now been released online marking the beginning of Vaulting Ambitions: Peace and Conflict in Sport, as part of an initiative which will see young people interviewing iconic sports people on how sport has been used historically to encourage peace across the world. The Peace Museum, through this, pays tribute to the spirit of the Olympic Truce aspired to in every Olympics Games Year, including London 2012.

The meeting between Imran and Mia was set up by the University of Bradford and the Bradford-based Peace Museum, the only museum in Britain dedicated to the collection, conservation and interpretation of material relating to the history and development of peace, non-violence and conflict resolution.

Prior to her interview Mia had been inspired by the connection between sport and peace after learning about the 'Field of the Cloth of Gold' the iconic event that took place almost 500 years ago when two powerful monarchs, Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France decided that peace should be sought from a position of strength.  Mia’s imagination was further inspired by the 20th Century 'Man of Sport and Man of Peace' – Philip Noel-Baker (1889-1982).  Philip was both Nobel Peace Prize winner and an Olympic medallist and a passionate campaigner for peace most of his life.

Whilst at the University of Bradford Mia was invited to watch a graduation ceremony in which Imran was conferring degrees.  She was very excited to see Imran in his Chancellor robes embroidered with gold thread.  Mia said: "I thought Imran Khan was wearing the Field of the Cloth of Gold!"

Chancellor of the University of Bradford, Imran Khan, said: "It was a real pleasure to be interviewed by Mia. Her questions were thoughtful and thought-provoking and I am really encouraged by the fact that ways in which we might be able to find peaceful solutions to conflict are being addressed in a project like this involving the next generation."

Clive Barrett, Chair of The Peace Museum and Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of Bradford, said: "Mia's interview with Imran is a wonderful start for the Vaulting Ambitions series.  This project is important because the links between sport and peace that it highlights are part of an almost forgotten heritage.

"Our research indicates that young people, in particular, are not aware of this history.  Nor are they aware of the key historic role Britain has played in using sport to foster peace.  Vaulting Ambitions will capture a wealth of stories relating to peace and sport from the Ancient Games onwards. Vaulting Ambitions will make a unique contribution to London 2012 by showing how sport and peace have an historic tradition of being linked together for good or ill.”

12 August 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.