People in Scotland, Africa the Middle East and right across the world are the key agents in bringing about positive change towards a just and peaceful future for all.
That is a key message coming out of the 2012 Festival of Spirituality and Peace, which celebrates its twelfth year with 400 discussion and cultural events across 21 venues from 3 to 27 August.
Members of the public and media representatives are invited to a special launch event. ‘Sharable Futures’ at St John’s Church (Venue 127) from 6-7pm on Sunday 5 August, followed by a reception. The event is free of charge.
Festival of Spirituality and Peace highlights this year include headline South African singing act Soweto Entsha, alternative business guru Charles Handy, famous Scottish poets and writers, and a host of groups and individuals promoting ‘Cooperation for Change’ – the main theme – among people of all beliefs and backgrounds.
Many of the Festival's art and dialogue events will take place at St John’s, which sits at the crossroads of Princes Street and Lothian Road in the heart of Scotland’s capital.
A Persian Tent Village built there for the Festival season will offer food, hospitality and space for reflection. A topical mural celebrating the role of women in the Olympics and beyond will also be unveiled this weekend.
“Having our base at a crossroads is highly symbolic,” says Festival director Katherine Newbigging. “The Festival of Spirituality and Peace is a meeting point for different cultures, beliefs, art forms and issues. We may not always agree or see eye-to-eye, but our common humanity and determination to seek something positive in our differences can make all the difference in the world.”
Despite its serious intent, the Festival “will also be an amazing spectacle of colour, life, music, dancing, food, hospitality and fun,” adds Ms Newbigging. “The launch event on Sunday is going to be something people will remember for a long time.”
The Festival is backed by the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh, the Church of Scotland, Ekklesia, the Epscopal Church, the Iona Community, the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Inter-Faith Association, Christian Aid and Edinburgh City Centre Churches Together.
* Festival of Spirituality and Peace website http://www.festivalofspirituality.org.uk/ 
* Spirituality & Peace News: http://festivalofspirituality.blogspot.co.uk/ 
* Follow the Festival on Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/festivalofspirituality 
* On Twitter: @FoSPalert