By James Rush » - Telegraph & Argus - Wednesday 3rd March 2010
Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta will visit Bradford tomorrow to start a world-wide petition for people demanding democracy in Burma.
The president of East Timor received the Nobel prize for his peacemaker role in East Timor, which is plagued by poverty and divided communities.
And he has chosen to launch the petition at Bradford University as part of the university’s prestigious PeaceJam event, now in its fifth year.
The petition will call for the release of fellow Nobel Peace Laureate and Burmese Prime Minister-elect, Aung Sun Suu Kyi, before the Burmese elections in October.
PeaceJam organiser Fiona Macaulay said: “We are delighted to have the President of East Timor joining us at the university for this year’s PeaceJam event.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for young people from across the UK to hear about his own experiences and work with him to explore the issues around peace and poverty.”
Pro-democracy leader, Ms Suu Kyi, under house arrest for 17 years, was refused her latest appeal for release by the Supreme Court last month.
PeaceJam is an educational programme which started in America ten years ago.
Bradford is the only place in Europe to host PeaceJam, which is led by Nobel Peace Prize winners, including Ramos-Horta and Aung San Suu Kyi.
President Ramos-Horta will be at the university for three days. About 250 young people from across Yorkshire, the UK and Europe, will be spending the weekend debating issues.
On Saturday they will be working in groups with university student mentors, doing voluntary work designing products to make and sell to raise money for Haiti, clearing a nature reserve, reconditioning carpentry tools to be sent to artisans in Africa, and helping unite homeless cats with elderly and disabled people.
On Sunday the young people will be exploring a range of issues such as racism, homophobic bullying, poverty, political oppression in North Korea and poverty in the UK.
Also on Sunday the young people will be taking part in workshops to design their own peace projects.