Liverpool Hope University is Europe’s only ecumenical university. Its contribution to the European Capital of Culture and the European Parliament’s Year of Intercultural Dialogue was a project entitled The Big Hope. The overarching themes of The Big Hope were integrity and public life, developing a more humane global society, and the active role individuals can play. Through sports, art, culture, education, human rights, and sustainable design, these themes were addressed by young people between the ages of 18 and 35. During the week, there were formal lectures, discussion forums, six art exhibitions and excursions to local places of interest. The Big Hope started with celebrations at Catholic and Anglican cathedrals and, on the last night, The Big event filled the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall with over 1500 people (including the Archbishop and the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside who danced in their boxes) and watched a concert performed by members of the music, dance, art, creative writing, and public speaking strands accompanied by world-famous pianist Joanna MacGregor, for instance. During the final celebration at the Anglican Cathedral, the Liverpool declaration Leading Change in our Times written by Big Hope delegates, was read aloud to the congregation. The Big Hope attracted 21 nationally and internationally famous keynote speakers from a wide range of countries, faiths, and cultural backgrounds. They addressed over 600 young people from universities, NGOs, faith groups, employers, charities, and governments, and represented 63 countries in all. In addition, there were 18 forums lead by 90 speakers from the UK, Europe, and around the world. All events attracted audiences of over 1500 people.
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