Baroness Shami Chakrabarti delivered Coventry Lord Mayor’s Peace Lecture 2019 in Coventry Cathedral on the evening of 14 November which this year was hosted in Coventry Cathedral by RISING Global Peace Forum.
As the audience arrived they were greeted with wonderful music supplied by Coventry Jazz Youth Orchestra which created an ambiance of excitement and energy as soon as they entered the Cathedral.
The audience that had booked a seat before the lecture was enlarged by people who had visited “Where Light Falls“, a spectacular illumination of the Cathedral organised by Historic England.
They were offered refreshments generously supplied by RISING and were able to browse the books published by the Lord Mayor’s Committee for Peace and Reconciliation which organised the lecture.
Before the lecture, the Dean of the Cathedral, John Witcombe, launched the new edition of the classic book “Ruined and Rebuilt” which the Committee re-published on that day, the 69th anniversary of the bombing of the Cathedral, with the help of two of the grand-children of the author, Provost Richard Howard, whose vision led to the building of the new amazing Cathedral in which we were standing, and whose dedication to forgiveness finally led Coventry to become a City of Peace and Reconciliation.
The children were interviewed by BBC Coventry and Warwickshire for a broadcast on Sunday.
Despite the rain which had fallen all day, despite and floods and train cancellations which required Shami to leave earlier than planned, despite the political purdah because of the forthcoming general election and despite circumstances beyond our control which unfortunately prevented the Lord Mayor attending the event, nevertheless there was general agreement that it was a wonderful and amazing evening.
The lecture was greeted by a standing ovation from the audience.
Dean John gave a response after the lecture then presented Shami with a copy of “Ruined and Rebuilt”. He recommended everyone to read it and mentioned that it would make a wonderful Christmas present.
One member of the audience, 85-year-old Wendy, said afterwards “My evening started with the wonderful Jazz music and Shami’s commitment to give the lecture and its content were absolutely amazing. Underlying the fundamentals of human rights and how the whole of a manifesto can be written consequentially including extinction rebellion and love.”
Professor Mike Hardy of Coventry University wrote afterwards “Well done -what a spectacular Peace Lecture 2019 -setting new standards for the future! Shami was excellent in content and so generous of her time at this particular moment in UK politics. I was so pleased and privileged to have been part of your evening. Thank you.”