A permanent tribute to Ireland’s largest youth-led peace event has been unveiled in Ebrington Square.
The Amazing the Space Peace Pledge Tree is a seven metre high sculpture created by local artist Maurice Harron that features peace pledges on its leaves.
The pledges were written by pupils from over 400 schools across the North and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland.
The Peace Tree was unveiled by the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service David Sterling in association with Co-operation Ireland’s Amazing the Space programme and the local Pathway to Peace initiative headed up by Rev Dr David Latimer.
Mr Sterling, said: “The Peace Pledge Tree is a fitting legacy of the Amazing the Space programme.
“The tree forms part of the Pathway to Peace reaching from the Guildhall, across the Peace Bridge and ending at the Peace Pledge Tree, here at Ebrington.
“This is a shared space for everyone from across Northern Ireland and beyond. I have no doubt that the pledges made by over 400 pupils will be read and enjoyed by many.”
Reverend Dr David Latimer said this was the most exciting peace initiative he has been involved in.
“Young people, wherever they’re living, hope for a world free of poverty, inequality and exploitation.
“They want a world free of discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, creed, language and gender.
“Our young people, with their vibrant ideas and clear perspectives, can reveal a better path. Their words and wisdom, displayed within The Peace Tree, can be a Beacon of Hope that will inspire many to turn their dreams of peace to reality.”
Co-operation Ireland CEO Peter Sheridan said the organisation is ‘delighted’ with the effort put in by the young people.
“Amazing the Space was designed to allow young people to have their say in the promotion and development of a peaceful society in Northern Ireland and we in Co-operation Ireland are delighted that the effort put in by young people since 2016 will have a permanent tribute here in the city where the project was first established.”
Derry and Strabane Mayor, Michaela Boyle hailed the project as ‘truly innovative’ for bringing together ‘young people from across the island of Ireland to express their personal aspirations for a peaceful future’. “This stunning creative piece of public art is a powerful expression of optimism and hope for a positive and peaceful future. I am delighted that it will be located at Ebrington for future generations to enjoy,” she said.