We are a group who seek to promote international friendship and understanding.

We meet together regularly for social events and fundraising and take part in exchange visits with similar groups from our twin cities and partner towns abroad.

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News

Eight members of CAIF recently returned from a week long visit to our friendship town of Meschede in Sauerland, Germany.

Along with a group of our Breton friends, we celebrated the Meschede group's 50 Years of International Friendship. 

We visited Monasteries, Museums and Factories and enjoyed several social occasions with plenty of food and good German beer.

A wonderful week that strengthened our links with both Meschede and Vannes.

See Gallery for photos

A group of eight CAIF members will travel to Meschede in mid August to celebrate 50 years of their Association.

Several members of CAIF travelled to Bath to meet up with longtime friends from Kiel, who are spending a few days in Bath and Bristol. Four of the Kielers will come to Coventry on Wednesday to meet old friends Allan and John. See photos of our meal out in the Gallery.

CAIF FRIENDSHIP PRIZE 2017-2018

We, the Coventry Association for International Friendship - a group of people who seek to promote international friendship, understanding and peace announced an annual prize for young people in September 2017 . The prize was offered to harness the energy, creativity and initiative of Coventry's children, youth and young adults in promoting a culture of international friendship, understanding and peace and also aims to inspire others to learn from young people and to think about how each of us can make a difference in the world.

The theme of the competition was the “Culture of International Friendship, Understanding and Peace”.  

Entries were invited to address this subject and to show how to involve young people in activities that bring together people of different nationalities, races and cultures, so as to promote international friendship.

The prize was open to anyone up to 25 years old (as of 31 August 2017) in one of three age categories :- Child (aged up to 14), Youth (aged 15 – 18) and Young Adult (aged 19 – 25).

Entrants were invited to submit an entry in the form of an essay of between 500-1000 words, a poem, a photographic essay, a moving image or a musical composition.

Prize Awards will be made in each category –

1st Prize : Certificate, prize of £250

2nd Prize : Certificate, prize of £150

3rd Prize : Certificate, prize of £100

UPDATE :

On Monday 11 June 2018 , the Lord Mayor, Councillor John Blundell presented certificates and cash prizes to students and pupils from Coventry University, Bablake School and King Henry V111 School.

See the gallery for photos of this event.

The Annual General Meeting took place on May 17 in the Council House.

Our guest of honour, this year, was Ruth Longoni, who spoke of her work with the Lord Mayor's peace Committee. Here is a copy of her talk:

Coventry Lord Mayor’s Committee for Peace and Reconciliation Ruth Longoni LMPC Caif talk May 17th, 2017

Thank for asking me. 

there are some long-standing members of the LMPC here, Mary and Ram have contributed a great deal to the committee and are valued members of it. I will say something about the LMPC committee in the past, and some of the things we have done over the last five years that I have been chairing it. The committee was set up in 1975 with a view to promote a wider understanding and involvement in the city’s commitment to peace and reconciliation expressed most strongly and carried forward by the Cathedral. Indeed, when I joined it was chaired by Canon Kenyon Wright who subsequently went on to be the secretary of the Scottish Council of Churches and was instrumental in seeing through the process of devolution. Kenyon was a passionate campaigner for peace, development and the environment and as a theologian attempted to bring together Gaia theory and his religious faith. Other Chairs have included a Methodist minister, Dr Madeleine Sharp and the late MP Christine Oddy. It is a representative committee of Coventry citizens and among the organisations included are the Cathedral, Caif, Coventry Quakers, Coventry University’s Department for building peace trust and social relations, Peace House and the Refugee and Migrant Centre. The Dean of Coventry Cathedral, the very reverend John Witcombe, is a member of the committee and the Cathedral have supplied two of our peace lecturers, David Porter and Paul Oestreicher both of whom delivered powerful and interesting lectures. The Cathedral has also hosted the Hiroshima Day memorial services we have held every year. Carole Rank and her husband, Andrew Rigby, lecturer, and emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at Coventry university have developed the Coventry Peace Trail booklet which is a valuable tool for showcasing Coventry’s links with other cities and commitment to peace and reconciliation. We have used it with visiting groups and it could also be used to effect in schools and a variety of other organisations. Peace House is a co-operative that grew out of a peace camp in Coventry outside the Alvis tank factory. When that came to an end it was decided to buy a more permanent base for peace and non-violence in the city. 6 small houses were purchased, and it opened its doors in 1999 and is both a night shelter and a community resource. The Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre helps people to access health care, housing, education, training and employment as well as providing befriending and other social services. It is staffed by volunteers and is a charity. Coventry takes in more Syrian refugees than any other UK city, and although the number is small in comparison to Germany, the city can be proud of its record. My own background is in working as a teacher for the Minority Group Service which worked to develop the teaching of English as an additional language and the development and promotion of resources to support multi-cultural and anti-racist education. I’m a life long supporter of CND and joined the committee when I was chair of Coventry CND and co-ordinator of West Midlands Trade Union CND. As we know, Coventry is a city with a history of cultural diversity. It celebrates this and believes it makes us stronger. It is a city of Sanctuary committed to building a culture of hospitality, especially for refugees fleeing war and persecution. It supports and funds the Positive Images festival every year. Last year (2017) over 100 organisations, community, voluntary, educational and statutory took part. Events included music, dancers, poetry and a celebration of Refugee week. The LMPC undertakes a variety of work. We organise an annual public peace lecture, last year this was given by Canon Paul Oestreicher, Anglican priest and peace and human rights activist. Entitled Justice and Peace; Can we have both? it was a powerful challenge to us all to get involved. The year before Michael Morpurgo, the author of War Horse and many other much-loved plays and books gave the lecture which attracted upwards of 250 people, including many school children, both in the audience and playing in the orchestra at the beginning of the event. Jonathon Porritt and Satish Kumar, environmental and peace campaigners have also been among our lecturers because peace with the planet is vitally important. This year Yasmin Alibhai-Brown will give the lecture, she has entitled it ‘Keeping faith in Liberal, Open, Civil and Just Values in an Age of Chaos and Populism’ which is certainly very timely. The lecture will be held in St Mary’s Guildhall on Tuesday 13th November. We have an exhibition on Peace and Philanthropy which can be borrowed. Hiroshima Day is commemorated every year in conjunction with the Cathedral and we have welcomed Bruce Kent, Vice Chair of CND, among our speakers and guests from the Japanese Embassy and from the Japanese community locally. This year we will have a Japanese peace activist Keiko Holmes speaking. August 6th falls on a Monday. During the two-week peace festival, the council funds in the first 2 weeks of November we have put on meetings about the UN and have used the Coventry Peace Trail booklet produced by the committee to lead guided walks round some of the sites associated with twin cities and peace. Last October I was lucky enough to attend the Peace Culture City conference in Dresden hosted jointly by the city and Memorare Pacem run by Matthias Neutzner. I was well aware of the wide and deep links that exist between our two cities and had attended a reunion of the group of people who went out from Coventry in 1965, organised by the then provost of the Cathedral, to help rebuild the war- damaged Deaconess Hospital. On arrival they were met by a young Lutheran pastor called Paul Oestreicher who went on to become the Director of Coventry Cathedral’s Centre for International Reconciliation. It was moving to hear how the experience changed their lives and formed friendships that last to the present day. They have published a book about their experiences called Stepping off the Map which is well worth reading. I met Alexandra Muller, the artist in residence in Coventry last year and enjoyed a lovely evening out with her. John Yeadon has played an important role in bringing together artists from Coventry and Dresden and he and the Edsel String Quartet played beautifully for us at last year’s peace lecture. Monica Petzel’s exhibition at the Herbert was also very important in this regard. It will be interesting to find out more from Balbir Sohal about moves to develop further joint projects to do with social inclusion following a visit of the Mayor of Dresden and some of his colleagues. I’ve stepped down after 5 years of chairing the committee and the new Chair is Philip Brown, who has a lot of IT skills and will no doubt develop the committee in new ways. Further information can be found on the Coventry City of Peace website, twitter: @covcityofpeace and on facebook Certainly, there has never been a more important time to work for peace and reconciliation than the fractured times we live in. The city of culture events will give Coventry a boost both nationally and internationally and it is up to all of us to make sure peace and friendship feature strongly in the agenda.

 

CAIF ANNUAL REPORT 2018 

MAY A concert by Pat Trickett and the Nightingales in The Parochial Hall , Kenilworth, raised money for Global Care. A letter thanking them for the gift of £350 was subsequently received. Alan, Margaret, Dave and I met Claudia from our twin city of Dresden on Monday evening at new member Judith’s house, who was hosting her. She is a journalist and initiates monthly meetings to speak English and learn about Coventry. She is keen to strengthen the various links between Coventry and Dresden. There are existing links with the Queen’s Road Baptist Church, The Cathedral, The Coventry German Circle and the Arts Exchange.

JUNE We took part in our first Community Information Fair organised by Positive Images. Linda has been attending their Meetings since January to both promote CAIF and to learn of all other cultural groups in Coventry with a view to sharing mutual support. Joanna Kunda and her Polish Choir, Senza Nome, took part in the Multi-Cultural Concert. She invited members to her concert in Monks Kirby on 10 June.

JUNE 29 JUNE-6 July 8 members had a most enjoyable visit to Vannes. As usual, our hosts were kind and generous and treated us to a full social programme.

AUGUST During July and August , Linda and Dave hosted for 6 weeks, the grandson of Simone, a member and host from the ARP group in Vannes and his partner. They met with members who knew him and his family.

SEPTEMBER Dave Hirons launched the Friendship Prize for Young People inviting all Secondary Schools and Colleges to submit, in 3 age group categories, either a written essay or poem, a photographic essay or short film or a piece of music. The final date for entries is 31 March 2018. Judging in May 2018. It is hoped that the new Lord Mayor will present the Cash Prizes provided by the legacy from former member, Hazel Lynn. As a result of this competition, King Henry V111 School has joined CAIF. Pru Poretta, in her 35th year as Lady Godiva, invited members to the 950th Celebration of Lady Godiva in the City Centre. Slavica invited members to a Christian Orthodox Music Festival, at St John’s the Baptist Church, to celebrate 60 Years of Belgrade-Coventry Twinning. CAIF offered to pay for a Plaque to be inscribed and displayed in the Belgrade. However, there was no official response. We remain open to the idea. Linda and Dave Hirons and new member, Richard Parker visited Dresden and stayed with hosts. This was a joint effort with The Coventry German Circle, CAIF and Coventry Cathedral. It was organised by Rainer Barszaitis (DGB Dresden) Dresden).

NOVEMBER Sadly, the Annual Peace Concert was cancelled because of Pat’s illness. DECEMBER Those of us who had not succumbed to a virus enjoyed a Christmas Lunch at The Cottage, Kenilworth.

JANUARY-FEBRUARY At the end of January we received a late request from Kiel: Sebastien Schneider (a Deacon and Youth Worker) and Joerg Thomas a Head teacher of a comprehensive community school are assigned to develop contacts and ideas for building up partnership relations with institutions and / or organizations like schools, associations, creative centres, church congregations to implement exchange and encounter programs for German and British girls and boys. They had contacted many schools, with a limited response, and we were able for 3 days ,with Ram, Pru and Mary to introduce them to several schools and to the City and Cathedral. We hope to become enablers for their project ideas.

MARCH Dave, Linda and Ram attended a meeting in the Cathedral Diocese Room for a delegation from Dresden keen to learn about Peace and Reconciliation and the City of Culture Bid.

It was with great sadness that we said our final farewell to Pat Trickett, our beloved former Secretary.

ACTION PLAN AND TARGETS ACHIEVED The Friendship Prize has given us a reason to raise our profile with a younger audience with the result of some active involvement. The Dresden Link has given us the opportunity to join forces with the other existing links in Coventry. Our link with Positive Images has helped to raise awareness and our knowledge of other like-minded groups. Had a reprint of booklets and some business Cards. Continued to update the Web Page caif.co.uk and our Facebook Page caif@caifers

AIMS FOR 2018-2019 Our speaker at the AGM will be Ruth Longoni from the Lord Mayor’s Peace Committee, who are interested in learning more about us. A review of our Action Plan and set targets for the future year. We have booked a stall for the Community Information Fair in June. 5 CAIF members are to meet a group from Kiel led by Magda in Bath and Bristol in June. 11 members of CAIF are going to Meschede from 18-25 August to celebrate ther Association’s 40th Anniversary. The second Annual Friendship Prize will be launched in the Autumn. We hope to display this year’s entries during Peace Month. We will host a group from Dresden, in October, jointly with the Coventry German Circle, who are going on a visit in May. We hope to hold a Peace Concert, in Pat Trickett’s memory, in November and to continue to hold social and fund raising events. We hope to invite a group from Vannes in 2019. Still to be discussed.

Linda Hirons (CAIF Secretary).