Elif Shafak and Hillary Rodham Clinton among the names confirmed for Ripples of Hope Festival

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former US Secretary of State and 2016 Presidential Candidate, will take part virtually in the first Ripples of Hope Festival, taking place 15-19 September 2021 across Greater Manchester.
  • Award-winning novelist Elif Shafak will give the PEN HG Wells Lecture
  • Simon Armitage CBE, the UK Poet Laureate, has curated 30 leading international poets to create a unique poetic response to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • On sale now, The Ripples of Hope Festival – in development for two years with communities across Greater Manchester – will feature a Business & Investment Summit; a Schools Day and a weekend of human rights & social justice focused conversations, workshops and performances.

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights UK has unveiled the first view of the programme of The Ripples of Hope Festival, which will take place from 15-19 September 2021 at HOME and with activity across Greater Manchester. Tickets to attend the Festival in person and online are on sale to the public now.

By taking part in the Festival, Hillary Rodham Clinton will join local Manchester and international voices to think about the challenges we face as communities and as humanity; celebrate the power of people to make change; and explore how people can, together, make human rights a reality.

The PEN HG Wells Lecture, given this year by Elif Shafak, showcases visionary writing and new thinking, and is held in honour of the former PEN president, author, visionary and human rights campaigner HG Wells. Wells foresaw the creation of the worldwide web, most notably in a series of talks and essays entitled World Brain. Other revolutionary ideas set out in The Rights of Man influenced the development of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

English PEN is one of the world’s oldest human rights organisations, championing the freedom to write and read.

Commenting on the unveiling of the programme, The Ripples of Hope Festival’s Artistic Director Jude Kelly CBE said “We’re at a critical moment for our communities and for the world. The last year exposed brutal realities of injustice and inequality. And it calls on us to act. Through this Festival, we celebrate that simple truth – there is nothing more powerful than people coming together and recognising that all of us can make a difference in our own way and, in Robert F. Kennedy’s words, be a ripple of hope.

“We’re so proud to be launching this Festival in Greater Manchester – a region that has inspired both ground-breaking art and transformative social progress. We hope you’ll join us to think about and commit ourselves to the future we can create, together.”

Developed with Greater Manchester’s communities, the Festival’s Weekend to Inspire (17-19 September) features three days of conversations, workshops and performances, exploring the themes of Dignity & Justice; Activism & Participation; Equity & Equality; Arts & Culture; and the Environment & Our Planet. Audiences will engage with contributions from activists and artists including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi; journalist Amelia Gentleman; human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell; CEO of In Place of War Ruth Daniel; poet Brenda Birungi; former Chief Prosecutor Nazir Afzal OBE; writer Hannah Pool; leader of the Women’s Equality Party Mandu Reid, human rights barrister Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Manchester Museum Director Esme Ward and many more.

A central thread to the Festival will be the power of poetry to provoke and inspire. Simon Armitage, who was named UK Poet Laureate in 2019, has convened 30 leading poets from around the world – from Manchester’s Young Identity and Keisha Thompson to international artists including Kwame Dawes and Tishani Doshi – to create a unique poetic response to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Festival will feature three evening Poetry Galas in which this body of work will be unveiled.

The Festival will open with the second Ripples of Hope Business & Investment Summit on Wednesday 15 September 2021, which brings together senior business decision-makers to explore the crucial role of business and leaders as champions for a fair society. Delegates will hear from speakers including renowned business leader Paul Polman; co-founder of B-Lab UK Charmian Love; entrepreneur Vikas Shah MBE; Chair of the North West Business Leadership Team Jonathan Murphy; and the co-founder of Savannah Wisdom Shalni Arora.

The second day of the Festival, Thursday 16 September 2021, is a day for invited Greater Manchester schools – themed This Is Us. Building on Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights UK’s Speak Truth To Power human rights education programme, students will explore Our Humanity and Our Power and celebrate their poetic, visual and film work created in response to the question ‘What does it mean to be human?’

Alongside the activities at HOME, The Ripples of Hope Festival also features Feasts of Hope, in which people and organisations across Greater Manchester are hosting their own community feasts to bring people together for meaningful dialogue and connection.

Tickets to attend The Ripples of Hope Festival in person and online are on sale now – please visit http://www.ripplesofhopefestival.org/

For all HOME press requests, please contact Kat Harrison-Dibbits, Head of Communications, on kat.harrison-dibbits@homemcr.org.