by Elaine Harrison in Minehead, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 23rd April 2019 we successfully raised £2,055 with 23 supporters in 34 days

Are You Ready to Play a Part in Creating a Peaceful World? To Help Create Positive Change Makers in Schools – and beyond?

by Elaine Harrison in Minehead, England, United Kingdom


It seems a little crazy in a world where empathy and peace are so needed that someone so well equipped to help has to ask for financial help to continue with her crucial work. This campaign is a short term fix to help Jo through the next six months while establishing longer-term solutions. 

Jo Berry is a British peace activist and public speaker. She is the daughter of Hon. Sir Anthony Berry, who was killed by the IRA in the Brighton hotel bombing on 12 October 1984. Jo's story is an extraordinary one (more on this later). She travels around the world working with people recovering from violent conflict and young people who are experiencing the legacy of conflict they inherited...and much more. Her work is vital in our world today, yet she often does not have enough money to pay all her bills.

This CrowdFunder campaign is to enable Jo to continue her work for the next six months - by giving her financial security at £2,000 a month (she currently has very little income expected for this period as most of the work already in her diary is voluntary or very low paid). This will enable her to:

  • Have the time to create a proper funding and business plan with advisors - with a focus on taking her work into more businesses and gaining financial stability
  •  Say YES to the many invites she has from schools, groups and organisations who need her help but do not have the funding  
  • Approach new schools in areas where the young people are most at risk  
  • Enable her to find the time to complete her book   
  • ...and to say YES to various requests for her help which she will have to part-fund, including a *trip to El Salvador to share some of her experiences on reconciliation and building peace. 

Amidst her busy schedule Jo is also writing a book that will help and inspire many, and we hope will also generate some revenue for her - but writing a book and securing a book deal takes time.

Jo visits schools and colleges, world peace forums, mediation conferences, survivors of terror, war-torn countries and governments to give talks, run workshops, mediate and share her remarkable story in order to promote peace and conflict resolution around the world (more on her schedule later). All of this on a small and inadequate budget generated through her charity Building Bridges For Peace and with occasional donations and minimal expenses from those who invite her to go and speak.

This six months without having to chase money to make ends meet will also free Jo some time to seek business and charity funding advice so she does not have to find herself in this position of crowdfunding again, this will include a workshop proposal she can present to businesses. It is vital she finds a way of taking her work to more people and is fairly recompensed for her efforts.

*(Since the peace treaty in El Salvador in 1992 they have found anything but peace and the current gang warfare seems to be unsolvable and polarizes so many. Jo has been told It needs fresh ideas and a different perspective and that she may be able to help. She is in discussion about going and would need to raise some of the money to go)


Jo Berry gives the audience of Meaning 2016 a deep and powerful insight into the true nature of empathy. She tells the story of her meetings with Patrick Magee - the man who planted the bomb that killed her father in 1984. Through her charity Building Bridges for Peace, Jo Berry works to enable understanding, compassion and discussion - helping to heal conflicts and disputes around the world. Meaning is the annual gathering for people who believe business can and must be a force for positive change in our dynamic and volatile world. It happens in Brighton, UK every November and brings together an audience of 350 passionate people who want to be part of the solution to the challenges of our time.

  • A Little of Jo’s Story:

Sixteen years after her father was killed, Jo Berry first met with the man responsible, Pat Magee (pictured) . This initial three-hour meeting led to Jo founding a charity, ‘Building Bridges for Peace’ which works to resolve conflict around the world. Pat and Jo have now spoken together on over a hundred and fifty occasions, on a shared platform, to bring a message of understanding and peace.

Their unusual relationship has been told in the BBC documentary "Facing the Enemy", was featured in the film "Beyond Right and Wrong", and inspired "The Bomb", a play by Kevin Dyer.

Jo advocates that empathy is the biggest weapon we have to end conflict. With political, religious and racial divides deepening as global and local events unfold, her words offer a message of hope and encourage us all to see the humanity in others. There is nobody in the world who offers what Jo does, hers is a unique example of reconciliation in the world, especially in the breadth and the depth of the work she has done - and continues to do - and she is often told she gives hope to many of what is possible - hope where it has sometimes felt like there is none.

Jo is frequently invited to address international conferences and seminars on themes of humanitarian aid, conflict resolution and human rights. She is a trained facilitator in storytelling, conflict transformation and restorative justice. She has worked with Pat Magee in areas of conflict including Lebanon and Rwanda, Ireland, Palestine and Israel as well as extensively in the U.K.

She has spoken in venues throughout this country and joined panels and discussions forums on radio and TV.

As a successful facilitator she has designed workshops for young people which engage them and creates a safe place for them be empowered and become positive change makers. Her workshops are also part of Countering Extremism.

Jo is currently writing her book and is a visiting fellow with the University of Nottingham Research Priority Area in Rights and Justice. She has also been approached to have a movie made about her story.


“I think it is good therapy for individuals like Pat and Jo to tell their stories. Finding out the truth from those stories is a key to heal the wounds. Healing comes through understanding and a realisation that my humanity is inextricably caught up in yours – no matter what terrible things you might have done.”
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu



  •  Spoke to 80 clergy in London as part of their ongoing training
  •  Spoke at a world peace forum in France
  •  Advised international diplomats on the importance of preparation before bringing together countries and communities who have been enemies.
  •  Interviewed by Vanessa Feltz on the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2
  •  Appeared with Michael Portillo on his Hidden History of Britain TV programme in Brighton  (Michael took over as MP from Jo's dad and was at The Grand Hotel the morning after the bomb)  
  •  Spoke at several restorative Justice conferences
  •  Spoke about empathy at a debate in Glasgow university
  •  Spoke in a prison in Austria with Pat
  •  Spoke and facilitated many workshops in schools and colleges.
  •  As part of her work with *Survivors Against Terror took the results of their survey to Downing street to show the need for more mental health support for people affected by terrorism
  • Spent time in Cauz in Switzerland, giving talks and working with a group of young people from different parts of the world
  • Befriended young Armenians from Lebanon and young Turks, who are committed to healing the legacy of the Armenian genocide
  • Spoke with Pat Magee at several mediation conferences
  • Spoke with Pat at an event in Leeds for Together for Peace
  • Spoke with Pat at a Family Mediation conference in Nottingham on the anniversary of the bombing (received a standing ovation and incredible feedback - see Testimonial further down page from David Emmerson, the Chair of Resolution’s Dispute Resolution Committee)
  • Spoke with Pat to a group from Bosnia and Croatia as part of 'Touch of Hope’, gave a public talk in Nuneaton and facilitated a workshop to the group from Bosnia and Croatia (see Testimonial further down page from Clive Fowle, coordinator)
  • Delivered two programmes for Asfar - with young change makers from around the world
  • Spoke at Christ the King Sixth Form College in Lewisham
  • Gave a talk and a workshop at Oldham College

Jo Berry with Michael Portillo

* Jo is part of the founding group of Survivors Against Terror, who have all been affected by terrorism and have three aims, 1) To make sure survivors and bereaved families get the support they deserve 2) To push for more effective policies to tackle terrorism 3) To help the public play their part in defeating terror.

JO'S DIARY LOOKING AHEAD (there are more requests coming in)

  • Invited to speak at conference for Prevent education officers in London
  • Delivering talks and workshops in Tower Hamlets
  • Invited by a senior criminal barrister to speak in Edinburgh with two US Judges who are coming to share their work with kindness in the courtroom. Speaking at two events with them and also at schools in Edinburgh and a restorative Justice conference.  
  • Work with Survivors Against Terror including having conversations with people affected by recent attacks  
  • Going to the House of Commons to speak with the Minister in charge of mental health  
  • Taking part in a new project '24 Hours of peace' by Neil Bartlett OBE, actor, author and director. This is a free 24 hour performance at the Royal Exchange Manchester 10 November 2019. To create the performance Neil will interview 100 individuals who are working towards peace or conflict resolution and the interviews will be used to create the script which will be performed by actors and community members. The performance will provide a new way of marking Remembrance Sunday, creating a forward looking reflection towards peace rather than just looking back at conflict and loss.
  • Workshop at Peace Jam UK, an organisation established to inspire young people to make positive change in themselves, their communities and in the world. Peace Jam is supported by thirteen Nobel Peace laureates, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, whose experiences provide the foundation and the inspiration for its work teaching peace, conflict resolution, tolerance, and acceptance to young people.This is a weekend conference at the University of Winchester, bringing together more than 200 young people, aged between 14 and 21
  • Working on a trip to Bosnia later in the year with Pat to give talks and facilitate conversations and experiences on dialogue and reconciliation  
  • Talks at schools in Oldham, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Bristol and others around the country (requests are coming in all the time)  
  • Taking part in the Writing on Air festival in Leeds which will be broadcast live.  
  • Potential trip to El Salvador to share experiences on reconciliation and building peace. Since the peace treaty in 1992 they have found anything but peace and the current gang warfare seems to be unsolvable and polarizes so many. Jo has been told It needs fresh ideas and a different perspective and that she may be able to help. She is in discussion about going and would need to raise some of the money to fund her trip.


"The counter-extremism strategy encourages partnership between the government and people involved in projects that counter extremism and build stronger communities. I now have connections with people in charge of stopping extremism and community cohesion as well as Prevent education officers in London.  I can use my story and workshop to address the ever-growing challenge of knife crime. I address the underlying needs which would cause someone to take up violence and join a gang. This could be a lack of self-esteem, sense of belonging, lack of hope, lack of emotional intelligence, lack of direction. I speak about all of these in my talks and the workshops give the young people a safe place to explore these and be empowered to become positive change-makers in their communities." - Jo Berry


Jo Berry works to resolve conflict around the world. Sixteen years after her father was killed by an IRA bomb, Jo first met with the man responsible, Pat Magee. Her preparedness to try to understand him opened a path to empathy that continues to develop. Their unusual relationship has been told in the BBC documentary "Facing the Enemy", was featured in the film "Soldiers of Peace", and inspired "The Bomb", a play by Kevin Dyer. The founder of Building Bridges for Peace, Jo advocates that empathy is the biggest weapon we have to end conflict. She has spoken over 100 times with Pat Magee and works regularly in the UK and in areas of conflict including Lebanon and Rwanda. Jo has worked with Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Forgiveness Project), the All Parliamentary Group on Conflict Issues, and Combatants for Peace. She is Chair of the International Network of Peace, and Visiting Fellow of the Institute of Democracy and Conflict Transformation at the University of Essex.



"I was truly touched by your story and it inspired me to become a better version of myself. To know such a kind and forgiving person exists made me so happy. Thank you for helping me realise I want to help more, to bring change."

- Rahima Begum, Oldham six form college

"Listening to, and learning from Jo’s experience, has allowed for me to be able to look at the actions of people from a more understanding perspective. Jo’s story and character exudes compassion and forgiveness at an incredibly high level that I believe would definitely and positively impact all those who have the privilege to hear her speak. I highly recommend that schools give their students the opportunity to hear her. She has definitely had an impact on the career path and social change that I’d like to lead."

- Jhania, Tower Hamlets (now studying International Relationships at University)

"Jo and Pat’s tale is extraordinary. They put the success of their relationship and the level of communication that they have down to the ability to be able to listen and empathise with each other. Jo said that it is not simply about forgiveness but understanding.

"Many of the people who attended the conference were moved considerably by what they heard. It was an immense moment and one that many of us will never forget. I was asked to conclude the session with some closing remarks. I knew that the presentation was going to be of considerable value to Resolution mediators and collaborative lawyers. It meant that these practitioners had one of the finest examples of how to listen and how to empathise. I said that in mediations next week, a month’s time and in years to come, mediators would be using the tale of Jo and Pat for their mediation participants as an example of how if you listen and understand you will be able to move forward. Only a few days after the conference I bumped into Resolution colleague Thomas Brownrigg who said he had already used the story as an example with mediation clients.

"Just to add to the remarkable nature of the whole event, at dinner the night before Pat and Jo confirmed that the day of the presentation would be the 34th anniversary of the bombing itself demonstrating the extraordinary courage of them both to perform on the day and share their experiences. Pat and Jo are very clear that they do not have answers but what they do have is a dialogue, respect, trust and a way forward. The work they are doing in this area is invaluable." 

- David Emmerson, the Chair of Resolution’s Dispute Resolution Committee

"We have had overwhelming excellent feedback about the public meeting in Nuneaton and about your time with us on the workshop with the group from Bosnia and Croatia. We really appreciated your time with us and thank you both so much for being so open about your feelings and what you said. Many people at the public meeting said they found the whole evening very moving and profound. The visiting group said they look at forgiveness and reconciliation very differently as a result of you being with us." 

- Clive Fowle -coordinator of Touch of Hope

"Jo Berry was the key note speaker at our ‘Love Your Neighbour’ event and her contribution was definitely the highlight of the day! We received so much positive feedback most of which commented on  how timely and necessary Jo’s story is,  especially in the current climate.  The simple yet compelling way that Jo shared her story was very impactive and reduced many of the very diverse audience to tears.

The workshop that Jo delivered to the Students at Acklam Grange will stay with those young people for a very long time. The students had an opportunity to hear a credible, alternative voice and were able to ask questions in a very safe space. These workshops are an excellent way of engaging young people on a very challenging and emotive subject."

- Shahda Khan MBE , Strategic Cohesion & Migration Manager - Supporting Communities

"I have devoted my last few years to address the Mexican conflict and violence through peace journalism, peace research, through understanding and proposing. I participate in Mexican and international media as an analyst, but I also work with NGOs, students,  and government to foster peace in my troubled country. I have studied the entire world. I am deeply familiar with regions such as the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and certainly with the Northern Ireland conflict. 

I will never forget this day [with you]. You will accompany every talk and lecture I give, every article I write, every single step I take. I mis-paraphrase an author I once read: You exist. Thus, you are possible. Peace exists in you. Thus, peace is possible."

- Mauricio Meschoulam, PhD. International Relations professor

More information about Jo, her work and her charity can be found here (both websites require updating when funds are available):


1. Become a financial backer of her vital work - knowing that every little bit helps!

2. Follow Jo on social media, share, re-tweet and talk about Jo's work and crowdfunder project. Tell your following about Jo's work.

3. Tell your boss/colleagues about how much a talk or workshop by Jo on empathy and  communication would benefit your organisation.

4. If you work in book publishing tell your Editorial Director about Jo's upcoming book.




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