'My Former Life' Foundation for Peace workshop

The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace was set up following a 1993 IRA bombing in Warrington that killed three-year-old Johnathan Ball and 12-year-old Tim Parry. The incident shocked the nation and gained worldwide publicity. 

Tim Parry's parents, with the support of the Balls, formed a charitable trust with many of the donations that had come in after the bombings. The Foundation campaigns for one thing: peace. 

The Foundation brought its 'My Former Life' campaign to the Academy yesterday. The campaign is a multimedia educational resource based around a documentary film that explores and shares the personal stories of four former extremists. 

The film explores the reasons these people decided to become involved in violent conflict, the consequences of their decisions, their reasons for leaving their respective groups, and finally it shows how their lives have progressed since they moved on from violence. 

Alongside the film, a series of workshops facilitate challenging and difficult converstaions around the subject matter. By drawing on the experiences of people who have already gone down that path, My Former LIfe allowed the students to engage with first-hand accounts of how radicalism and extremism can affect a person. 

The students built character profiles for the former extremists and added to them as the film progressed, thinking about the reasoning behind their decisions and the consequences they had. The day was broken up with team-building exercises where the students worked together and against each other to build trust and co-operation. 

The workshop was a continuation of the support and education we provide for students, following on from a series of assemblies from Karma Nirvana on arranged marriages and honour based abuse. 

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