Skip to content
Open menu Close menu

University of Bradford marks the centenary of World War One with the city's first Peace Pole

Published: Wed 19 Nov 2014
University of Bradford marks the centenary of World War One with the city's first Peace Pole

Last Saturday the University of Bradford unveiled Bradford's first Peace Pole.* The eight-foot pole is inscribed with the words "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in eight different languages (English, French, German, Russian, Japanese, Arabic, Chinese, and Swahili) and in braille. These languages were chosen in part as they represent the major protagonists in the two World Wars. The others were chosen to represent the department's international reach and remit.

The Peace Pole was a kind gift to the University and its world-famous Department of Peace Studies by Soroptimist International, Bradford club (see picture below), specifically to mark the centenary of the Great War, and particularly to note the crucial role that women play, often in the background, in waging both war and peace.

Soroptimist International was founded in 1921, in the aftermath of the Great War.  It is a global volunteer movement working together at local, national and international level to educate, empower and enable opportunities for women and girls. They have 80,000 club members in 130 countries. With the residue of their generous donation the Peace Studies department has established a bursary fund specifically to support women students.

The Department of Peace Studies is celebrating its 40th anniversary. It was the first full department established in any university in the world to dedicate itself to peace and conflict issues. Over 3,000 students from around the world have graduated with BA, MA and doctoral degrees and can be found working in the service of peace and justice around the world.

The Head of the Peace Studies department, Professor David Francis said, ‘We are privileged to unveil the first Peace Pole in the City of Bradford, and, as far as we know, on any university campus in the UK. This is a permanent reminder to us of the need to work together at every level, every day, personally, spiritually, politically, and internationally, to avoid repetition of the horrors of the Great War anywhere in the world.’

There are tens of thousands of Peace Poles in 180 countries around the world. They serve as a focal point for peace. The Peace Pole is located in the University’s Peace Garden, between the front of Chesham Building and Great Horton Road. In the Peace Garden there are a number of other commemorative trees, including one planted by Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum, from Guatemala, and another planted in memory and honour of Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai. On the same day that the Peace Pole was unveiled the Department of peace Studies planted a flowering cherry tree to commemorate the Department’s 40th anniversary

 The University of Bradford┬┐s new Peace Pole

The University of Bradford’s new Peace Pole with(from left to right) Marion Le Pla (SI), Beatrice Williams (SI), Professor David Francis (Head of Peace Studies), Dr Fiona Macaulay (Peace Studies department), Geraldine Tolan (SI), Lynn Wiggan (SI), Pat Rhodes (SI), Nora Whittam (SI), Beryl Eakin (SI)

The close of the ceremony to inaugurate the Peace Pole

The close of the ceremony to inaugurate the Peace Pole with staff and students of the Peace Studies department, and representatives of Soroptimist International, Rotary International and the Quaker Peace Studies Trust

Photos courtesy of Rotary Peace Fellow Meg Fenton.

Share this