Plans to erect an iconic ‘Peace Pledge Tree’ at Derry’s Ebrington Square are understood to be at an advanced stage.
The 14.5 foot tall galvanised metal tree will incorporate 409 metal oak leaves, each embossed with a peace pledge penned by schoolkids from across N. Ireland and the border counties.
The tree will, says the man behind the peace pledge project, “draw attention to the cross-community voices of Ulster’s youth all crying out, in these uncertain times, for peace and prosperity.”
Reverend David Latimer, Minister of First Derry Presbyterian Church, is founder and director of ‘Amazing the Space,’ a peace building initiative spearheaded by pupils who attend controlled, maintained, integrated, Irish medium and special schools right across the nine counties of Ulster.
A major component of this bespoke peace initiative has been the creation of 25 word peace pledges.
Initially introduced to schools in Derry during 2012/13, this initiative has now extended to 409 schools across NI and the border counties of Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan.
In fact, councils in Derry, Limavady and Omagh are already public displaying, in different artistic forms, the words and wisdom of young people.
Each school’s peace pledge, says Rev. Latimer, is an “inspirational expression of what young people consider we all must do to live better together.”
More than any other section of the population, young people, says David Latimer, can “shine a new light on the path and help us all to see differently.”
“As far as young people are concerned, it’s not so much what could have been done in the past; instead, it’s what can be done now to make things better.
“Indeed, recognising that young people have the power to forge a path of good hope into a brighter tomorrow is the catalyst for bringing thirty students, from a range of post-primary schools, to a residential workshop during Half Term.”
Rev. Latimer says this workshop, led by Derry City & Strabane Council and Co Operation Ireland facilitators, will enable students to explore the most effective ways to have their voice heard and their vision shared.
“Young people, with open minds, fresh ideas and positive energy are the key to a different future,” he added. “With the young uppermost in our minds, it is incumbent on those of us who are parents, grandparents, neighbours and friends to be forward looking and full of hope.”