Oldham Council’s commitment to building communities and spreading peace has seen it become the first local authority in the UK to sign a European declaration.
The Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Ateeque Ur-Rehman, council representatives and volunteers from Peace Talks Oldham have signed the ‘Pledge to Peace’ – a commitment of intent that will see Oldham put in place projects and actions promoting a culture of peace.
Oldham’s first citizen was presented with a coat of arms from Mazara Del Vallo, a Sicilian city which recently held an international festival to celebrate peace and culture.
Pledge to Peace is a European Parliament initiative which aims to create a network of people with a “shared vision of the value of peace, who have the potential to create, promote and communicate tangible projects and initiatives” that can promote peace within their communities.
It complements Oldham’s commitment to its co-operative values, in particular fairness, respect and working together.
Cllr Ur-Rehman said: “This signing reinforces Oldham’s positive work to promote peace throughout the borough, like the response to the crisis in Gaza.
“The Council raised an Oldham Peace Flag and in the same week members of an Oldham delegation delivered an 8,303 name petition to Downing Street, calling for an end to all hostilities.”
Other events have seen the Council working with Peace Talks Oldham and partners to host the first Oldham Peace Day last September and a peace conference last October to identify practical ways residents can help those suffering through conflict.
Cllr Ur-Rehman continued: “These are all events shared by communities across Oldham, irrespective of ethnicity or faith – and who ultimately want peace.
“It is great to have links with Mazara Del Vallo, which is exemplary at promoting peace in Europe, and this will enable us to learn how we can help promote peace in our communities and beyond.”
Representatives from Peace Talks Oldham, Richard Outram and Maria Dawn Ellis, attended the festival and delivered a letter of friendship and a gift from the Mayor of Oldham. They also met with the Ambassador to the Pledge to Peace, Prem Rawat.
Back the borough’s peace campaign on Twitter by tweeting #PeaceOldham