Scottish justice secretary, Kenny MacAskill MSP, has described the 2012 Festival of Spirituality and Peace as a “resounding success”.
He was speaking at the official closing event for the Festival, held at St John’s Episcopal Church in Edinburgh last night (Sunday 26 August). There are still some events continuing today, 27 August.
Participating in the closing event were children from the Maryhill Integration Centre in Glasgow, and young actors from the acclaimed musical play Divided City.
Mr MacAskill praised the way the Festival of Spirituality and Peace, which is backed by the Scottish Government along with a range of civic, faith and educational groups, brings together people from a wide variety of backgrounds to look at cultural and political issues from a fresh angle. It offers both a Scottish and a global outlook.
Life is about “more than money and material wellbeing”, Mr MacAskill affirmed, and the Festival of Spirituality and Peace – which has featured 400 events across 21 venues this year – is an important example of how to develop a broader perspective.
Among the many highlights of the Festival this year have been acclaimed South African a capella group Soweto Entsha; the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Hertzogovina talking about the Bosnian war 20 years on; a ‘Scottish Six’ series on the past, present and future of Scotland (featuring broadcaster Lesley Riddoch and author Andy Wightman), and ‘Poetry in the Persian Tent’ (which has included headliners Liz Lochhead, Jackie Kay and Marie Howe).
Also present for the evening was Edinburgh City councillor Melanie Main, who helped present the second Edinburgh Peace Award to former Dalry Primary School head teacher David Fleming for his outstanding contribution to community relations.
Kenny MacAskill MSP and Councillor Melanie Main stayed for the reception after the celebrations in the Church in order to greet the large number of people who have made the Festival of Spirituality and Peace 2012 possible, including chair Raymond Baudon, former director and founder the Rev Donald Reid, and newly announced director Katherine Newbigging.
The Festival of Spirituality and Peace is sponsored and supported by the Church of Scotland, Christian Aid, Edinburgh City Centre Churches, Edinburgh City Council, Edinburgh Inter-Faith Association, Ekklesia think-tank, the Iona Community, the Scottish Government, St John’s Episcopal Church Edinburgh, and the University of Edinburgh.