Watch past annual lectures and conversations on forgiveness with our founding patron Desmond Tutu, our storytellers and many other experts and thought leaders.

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Annual Lectures
Conversations

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Mary Foley’s story

In 2005 Mary Foley’s 15-year-old daughter, Charlotte, was murdered during a birthday party in East London. In February 2006, 18-year-old Beatriz Martins-Paes received a life sentence for the unprovoked attack. A year later, Mary received a letter from Beatriz.

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Kemal Pervanic’s story

Kemal Pervanic is a survivor of the notorious Omarska concentration camp, which was set up by Bosnian Serb forces in the early days of the Bosnian War. The camp, nominally an ‘investigation centre’, was uncovered by British journalists in 1992, leading to international outrage and condemnation.

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Gill Hicks’s story

On 7th July 2005, 52 people died and many were severely injured and maimed, by suicide bombers attacking London’s transport system. On a Piccadilly line underground train between Kings Cross and Russell Square stations, Australian-born Gill Hicks miraculously survived but lost both her legs due to the explosion.

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Barry Mizen’s story

16-year-old Jimmy Mizen was murdered in May 2008 when he and his older brother went into a bakery near their home in Lee, South East London. Jimmy’s parents, Barry and Margaret Mizen, hit national headlines when immediately after the attack they spoke of compassion rather than revenge. In March 2009 Jake received a life sentence for murder.

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Mary Blewitt’s story

In 1994, in just one hundred days, a million people were killed in Rwanda as the world stood by and did nothing. Mary Kayitesi Blewitt, a Rwandan, had left the country some years prior to the genocide. On hearing of the killings, she tried to return home, but all the borders were closed. When the killing was finally over, she journeyed straight to her home village to discover that more than 50 of her family had been slaughtered.

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Annual Lectures

Power and Persuasion: the urgent need for restorative narratives in unforgiving times

At our 9th Annual Lecture our founder Marina Cantacuzino explored the intersection between turbulence and forgiveness. Marina was joined on stage by Jacob Dunne and Joan Scourfield who shared their personal experience of restorative justice, and explored how dialogue could be a powerful force in ending cycles of violence.

The evening was chaired by award winning documentary filmmaker and Professor at the University of the Arts in London, Pratāp Rughani

Video by Anthony Tynan-Kelly

The Politics of Forgiveness

At our 7th Annual Lecture writer and broadcaster, Richard Holloway offered a wide-ranging interpretation of the complexity of the human condition and the fundamental importance of forgiveness to the sustaining of its social and political institutions.

The lecture was chaired by Shadow Attorney General and member of the House of Lords, Shami Chakrabarti.

Forgiveness and Compassion: Is there a difference?

Our 5th Annual Lecture was given by Karen Armstrong, who lent her perspectives on religion to the topic, ‘Forgiveness and Compassion: Is there a difference?’.

The lecture was chaired by journalist, broadcaster and author Sarfraz Manzoor, who carefully brought together Karen’s lecture with the perspectives of our other two speakers – Yasmin Yar Mulbocus and Bjørn Magnus Jacobsen Ihler.

Zero Degrees of Empathy: Exploring explanations of human cruelty and kindness

Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge delivered the keynote speech at our 4th Annual Lecture.

This was followed by a panel discussion with Mary FoleyPeter Woolf and Marina Cantacuzino, chaired by Simon Fanshawe.

The Line Dividing Good and Evil

Dr Gwen Adshead, forensic psychiatrist at Broadmoor High Security Hospital, delivered our 3rd Annual Lecture, supported on stage by three contributors who shared some of their own personal narratives.

These were: Marian Partington whose sister was murdered by Fred and Rosemary West; Erwin James, the Guardian columnist and former prisoner who has served a life sentence for murder; and Kemal Pervanic, survivor of the notorious Omarska concentration camp in Bosnia.

Is Violence Ever Justified?

On 12th May 2010 more than 800 people piled into St John’s Smith Square, London, to hear Archbishop Desmond Tutu, founding patron of The Forgiveness Project, deliver our inaugural Annual Lecture.

Archbishop Tutu was joined on stage by Mary Blewitt who lost 50 members of her family in the Rwandan genocide; Jo Berry whose father was killed in the 1984 Brighton bombing; and Patrick Magee, the former IRA activist who planted the bomb. The event was chaired by BBC broadcaster Edward Stourton.

Conversations on Forgiveness

Can forgiveness repair communities?

Can radical compassion win the war against violent extremism? – Part 1

Can radical compassion win the war against violent extremism? – Part 2

Can radical compassion win the war against violent extremism? – Part 3

Do you need God to forgive?

How do we deal with unresolved pain and trauma?

Can revenge work?

What’s the point of punishment if society won’t forgive?

Can you move on without forgiveness?

Does knowing a person’s story make it harder to hate them?

How can words help heal pain?

Should you forgive the unforgivable?