Conflict Café, a pop-up restaurant launched by peacebuilding charity International Alert, is returning to London for its third year from 22 September – 2 October 2016 to inspire more strangers to start conversations about building peace through food.
This year’s chefs will present the cuisines and histories of Lebanon and Sri Lanka, and will be helping their diners to celebrate the power of food in breaking down barriers and getting people to resolve their differences.
Conflict Café is part of the Talking Peace Festival organised by International Alert, the charity established by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other visionaries 30 years ago in a bid to secure an end to some of the world’s most bitter disputes.
Diners will sit at communal tables in the spectacular underground tunnels of House of Vans in Waterloo on London’s South Bank to enjoy traditional dishes while finding out more about issues facing the countries concerned.
The event will begin with Lebanon week, showcasing a country that has had its cuisine enriched by a million refugees, mostly from Syria, though with the accompanying conflict and hardship. The second week will focus on the delicious flavours of Sri Lanka, where International Alert first started its peacebuilding work 30 years ago.
Conflict Café was inspired by a tradition that is common to many cultures around the world: coming together and reconciling differences by preparing and sharing meals.
Rebecca Crozier, International Alert’s Head of Emerging Programmes, said:
“Across different cultures and continents, food has the power to bring people together and encourage the act of sharing. In some Middle Eastern countries, it is custom for the perpetrator of a crime to cook a meal for the victim and their family as a way of fixing broken bonds. In Europe, too, we find ways of using food to calm domestic storms, to unite communities and bring neighbourhoods together.
“We hope that Conflict Café will give diners a glimpse into the diverse cuisines and complex histories of some of the countries where we work, highlighting the positive role that food can play in peacebuilding.”
Tickets for Conflict Café will go on sale in August 2016. For updates visit: http://talkingpeacefestival.org/food-2016/