Birmingham hosting International Peace Conference

Birmingham, a symbol for non-violent revolution, is hosting an International Peace Conference from May 4 to 6.

Rotary International District 6860 of North and Central Alabama is partnering with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Institute for Human Rights at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The conference will assemble leaders in academia, government, public safety, religion, business and community service to share ideas and propose solutions to some of society’s most complex challenges.

The weekend will end with a Peace Concert to benefit Ukraine refugees, featuring one of the Violins of Hope.

Held at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, the conference will have eight “pillars”: Individual peace, peace at home and in families, peace education in schools, promoting peaceful communities and reducing violence, addressing and preventing human trafficking, the continuing quest for racial equity and justice, empowerment of women and girls, and international peace.

An opening reception will be held on May 4 at 5:30 p.m.

Sessions begin at 9 a.m. on May 5, with a welcome from Conference Chair Will Ratliff, “Building Peace in Birmingham” with Mayor Randall Woodfin, “Rotary and Peace” with Jennifer Jones, president of Rotary International, “The Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, with Odessa Woolfolk, founding president and chair emerita of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and “UAB’s Contribution to Peace in Birmingham” with UAB President Ray Watts.

Breakout sessions along the eight tracks begin at 10:45 a.m. At the 11:45 a.m. session, Zoe Weil, director of education engagement for the Alabama Holocaust Education Center, will speak on “Teaching Hard History.” Also on the panel is Bishop Van Moody, founding pastor of Freedom Schools.

At 3 p.m., “Peace Through Sports” includes Ron Froehlich, honorary life president of The World Games. He will be joined by retired NBA player Shan Foster, now CEO of Fostoring Healthy Solutions, and Luma Mufleh, founder of Fugees Family.

The keynote speaker for the 12:05 p.m. lunch on May 6 will be Rev. Bernice King, CEO of the King Center, speaking on “Carrying the Work Forward.”

The conference coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Children’s Crusade, the turning point in the Birmingham civil rights demonstrations of 1963.

Registration is $195 for the entire weekend, $125 for a one-day pass for May 5 or 6. Student rate for the full conference is $125, day passes are $75. For those attending to receive continuing education credits, such as lawyers, educators, law enforcement, nurses and social workers, registration is $495.