Re-thinking Solidarity

Following the success of the first webinar, which marked the 40th anniversary of the foundation of Solidarnosc – the first independent trade union in the Soviet bloc, which led to the collapse of communism and a peaceful transition to democracy across Central and Eastern Europe, we are launching Re-thinking Solidarity series.

Re-thinking Solidarity will bring together leading academics, historians, philosophers, theologians, social activists, policy makers and legislators to engage in thoughtful reflection and re-think what solidarity means today, in light of a variety of societal changes, the current geopolitical situation and the consequences of COVID-19 pandemic.

We will explore the idea of solidarity in the context of religion and inter-faith dialogue; environmental and financial sustainability; politics and political psychology; and equality and social justice.

The series of webinars will be chaired by Lord Alderdice – a psychiatrist who, as Leader of Northern Ireland’s Alliance Party was one of the key negotiators of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, then first Speaker of the new Northern Ireland Assembly, and subsequently one of four international Commissioners who oversaw security normalization in Ireland.  A member of the House of Lords since 1996 and Convenor of the Liberal Democrats in the Lords during the Coalition Government, he was President of Liberal International – the global federation of liberal parties – and currently has various appointments at the University of Oxford including as Director of the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict.

Re-thinking Solidarity webinars will be subsequently published as a series of essays, and when it is possible, we do hope to convene further seminars in Oxford and Rome.

Re-thinking Solidarity is organised by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building and the Political Theology, in partnership with St. Benet’s Institute, St. Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford and The St. John Paul II Institute of Culture at Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas Angelicum in Rome, and supported by the Polish Cultural Institute in London.


Re-thinking Solidarity


  • 23 Oct 2020: Solidarity, religion and inter-faith dialogue

Register at:

  • Lord Alderdice (chair)
  • Dariusz Karlowicz, Political Theology
  • Nazila Ghanea, University of Oxford
  • Daniel Greenberg, Jewish Law and Ethics
  • Jaroslaw Kupczak OP, St. John Paul II Institute of Culture, Angelicum


  • 20 Nov 2020: Solidarity between the generations – environmental and financial sustainability

Register at:

  • Lord Alderdice (chair)
  • Helen Alford OP, Vice Rector, Angelicum
  • Kalypso Nicolaidis, University of Oxford
  • Carlos Fidalgo Gallardo, Universidad de Sevilla
  • Marek A. Cichocki, Political Theology


  • 18 Dec 2020: Solidarity, politics and political psychology

Register at:

  • Mark Devenport, former BBC NI Political Editor (chair)
  • Deniz Arıboğan, Uskudar University, Istanbul
  • Ewa Thompson, Rice University
  • Alejandro Crosthwaite OP, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Angelicum
  • Michał Gierycz, Dean of the Faculty of Social and Economic Studies UKSW


  • 19 Feb 2021: Solidarity, equality and social justice

Register at:

  • Lord Alderdice (chair)
  • Fr Michal Paluch, Rector of the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum)
  • Dr Austen Ivereigh, Fellow in Contemporary Church History, Campion Hall, Oxford
  • Sally J. Scholz, PhD, Chair, Department of Philosophy, Villanova University
  • Professor Tomasz Zyro, University of Warsaw and Political Theology

Diversity Storytelling with Still I Rise

Join us on for storytelling sessions with Still I Rise and learn about diversity, empathy, love, emotional well-being, kind words and inclusive language and have some family fun. Part of Unite Against Hate’s #FriendshipFriday initiative.

  • Dates: 5, 12, 26 February and 5, 12, 19 March 2021
  • Time: 1.30pm to 2.15pm
  • Suitable for children 5-11 years old
  • Sessions will be delivered via Zoom
  • Register at:

To learn more and access Friendship Friday toolkit please visit:

Hiroshima Resilience Project

Thanks to the support from Community Relations Council, CDPB in collaboration with the Oleander Initiative in Cambridge, MA, USA and Peace Culture Village in Hiroshima, Japan will deliver number of interactive Hiroshima Resilience Project workshops between January and March 2021.

There will be two open sessions, one on 26 January 2021 (Book HERE) and one during Imagine Belfast festival (Book HERE). If you would like to book a private session for your group/community please e-mail:


About the programme

The Hiroshima Resilience Project (HRP) pairs live online presenters/facilitators with virtual technology to tell the story of Hiroshima, before, during and after the atomic bombing.

The story of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima is of tragedy, catastrophe and loss. However, it is also one of hope, optimism and moving forward. The HRP presents these different but surprisingly complementary narratives in order for participants to gain new understanding of this pivotal event. In doing so, the HRP inspires participants to think deeply about the concept of resilience and its role in their lives and communities.

Throughout this journey, participants follow the story of Toshiko, a 6-year-old hibakusha (survivor) of the bombing. Through Toshiko, participants first experience what happened on August 6, 1945 and then join her and the resilient citizens of Hiroshima to transform their city into the beautiful “City of Peace” that inspires millions around the world today.

The HRP utilizes computer graphics renderings, Artificial Intelligence colourised photos, virtual simulations, rare historical film footage, interactive polls, discussion sessions, and introspective activities on a Google Earth platform.

The Hiroshima Resilience Project is a collaboration between the Oleander Initiative in Cambridge, MA, USA and Peace Culture Village in Hiroshima, Japan. Organised by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building and supported by the Community Relations Council.



Ray Matsumiya

Ray Matsumiya is the Director of the Cambridge, MA based Oleander Initiative that gathers peacebuilders from around the world to Hiroshima, Japan for life changing programs and study tours. Inspired by a mother from Hiroshima, Ray has devoted his professional career to unofficial diplomacy, cross-cultural exchange and peacebuilding. Over the past twenty years, he has supervised programs for over 2500 educators and civil society leaders in the US, Japan, Spain, and nine Middle Eastern/ North African countries. His programs have been featured in the New York Times, El Pais, USA Today and PBS via NHK World.

Ray has been an invited speaker at TEDx, the Massachusetts State House, the Dayton International Peace Museum, the US embassy of Tunis and universities such as the Sloan School at M.I.T and the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Ray received his Master’s degree from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and his BA from Wesleyan University. He is a certified mediator, fluent in English and proficient in Japanese and Levant Arabic.

Mary Popeo

Mary Popeo is Co-founder & Business Director, Peace Culture Village from Boston, MA, USA. When she was a student at Boston College, Mary visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki on research grants to study nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. Those experiences changed her life. After graduating, she became a youth organizer and nuclear weapons abolition activist, working with groups such as Global Zero, American Friends Service Committee, Japan Council against A & H Bombs, and New Japan Women’s Association.

Mary has also worked at Harvard University, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Boston University, and Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture. She moved to Hiroshima in 2016 and became a founding member of PCV in 2017.


Candice Mama: Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Candice Mama is the author of “Forgiveness Redefined” who started her work in forgiveness, reconciliation, and trauma after her story of forgiving apartheid assassin and her father’s murderer, Eugene De Kock, made international news. Having been inundated with requests to show people how to forgive she went on to become an award-winning international speaker, who’s story has been heard by the Dalai Lama. She has also starred in over half a dozen documentaries around the world including New York, Netherlands, Paris and Cape Town. She was named Vogue Paris’s 1 of 33 most inspiring women in the world alongside: Nicole Kidman, Michelle Obama and Malala.

Q&A hosted by Lilian Seenoi Barr, NW Migrant Forum.

Part of Pop Up Leadership Academy for Ethnic Minority Leaders organised in partnership between Centre for Democracy and Peace Building and Washington Ireland Program.