Pathway to Peace unveiled in December

Pictured during the Pathways to Peace ceramics project in The Playhouse were, from left, front row, Naomi McGonagle and Sarah Fitzpatrick, Scoil Iosagain, back row, Eleanor Wheeler, Mary Hamill, facilitators, Rev Dr David Latimer, First Derry Presbyterian Church, Noelle McAlinden, Culture Company, WELB and Arts Council of NI, Grainne Doherty, teacher, Scoil Iosagain, and Catherine Quinn. INLS4313-161KM

Pictured during the Pathways to Peace ceramics project in The Playhouse were, from left, front row, Naomi McGonagle and Sarah Fitzpatrick, Scoil Iosagain, back row, Eleanor Wheeler, Mary Hamill, facilitators, Rev Dr David Latimer, First Derry Presbyterian Church, Noelle McAlinden, Culture Company, WELB and Arts Council of NI, Grainne Doherty, teacher, Scoil Iosagain, and Catherine Quinn. INLS4313-161KM

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Derry’s new Pathway to Peace will be unveiled at a public ceremony on December 5.

The brainchild of Dr. David Latimer, Minister of First Derry Presbyterian Church, the Pathway to Peace will incorporate “Peace Pledges” composed by schools and colleges from right across the North West.

The Pathway initiative emerged after the unveiling of Ireland’s first peace flame - located adjacent to Derry’s Guildhall - by Martin Luther King III in May of this year.

During the event - which was attended by thousands of people - Peace Pledges were presented to Mr. King, the son of assassinated civil rights leader, Rev. Martin Luther King Jnr.

David Latimer says the Pathway project has “amazingly” managed to bring together 60 schools and colleges from across the Derry City Council area and a further ten schools in Co. Donegal.

Each participating school/college has, in addition to composing a twenty five word Peace Pledge, also produced a piece of artwork directly related to their pledge.

Earlier this week, pupils from the 70 schools/colleges involved in the unique peace building project gathered at Derry’s Playhouse to transfer their artwork from paper onto ceramic tiles.

Eleanor Wheeler, ceramics specialist, assisted by local architect Shane Birney and Noelle McAlinden (WELB and Culture Company), directed the children and young people during the assignment.

The event was recorded by the BBC ‘Songs of Praise’ team.

Paddy Mackey (WELB) and Dr. Latimer welcomed the large attendance of pupils, teachers, classroom assistants and parents to the event. Ceramic tiles imprinted with both a Peace Pledge and supporting artwork for each school, will, after firing, be used to create the Pathway to Peace at the Peace Flame Monument on Foyle Street.

David Latimer says it will be both “a new and enduring city feature” and a “symbol”.

“It will be a powerful beacon that can inspire thousands to turn their dreams of peace to reality,” he added.

“In addition to the Pathway to Peace, every school’s Peace Pledge and accompanying artwork will be assembled into a bespoke publication. This booklet, which will be produced by the WELB Graphics Department, will serve as an assembly resource that will facilitate the seeds of peace being sown in young hearts and minds as well as promoting a story of compassion and love amongst children growing up on either side of the Derry/Donegal border.”

Recently, a charity cycle took place to raise funds for the Pathway to Peace initiative. Scores of cycling enthusiasts rode from First Derry Presbyterian Church to Greencastle where they boarded the ferry before cycling back to Derry via Greysteel.

The event was organised by John Halliday (Halliday & Sons) and Jim O’Hara (O’Hara Cars).

The Pathway to Peace will be unveiled at a public ceremony on Thursday, December 5, at the Guildhall.