On behalf of our key partner, The Prem Rawat Foundation, and fellow partner, Celebrate Life, a screening of Celebrate Life’s film, Power to Change, was presented by Peace Partners at the University of Exeter, Tremough Campus in Cornwall, on the 23rd October ‘23. The film was well received by the students and staff who attended.
Power to Change was produced in 2021 by Wendy Lewis, Roni Redmond and filmmaker Rob Dunford. This documentary film shows the transformation in the lives of five Londoners, who reflect on the challenges of finding their own personal peace after being on one end or the other of violence and personal loss. The characters in the film include two teachers, as well as gang members and previous offender, Errol McGlashan, now a performance poet and artist. The film also features the story of Pastor Lorraine Jones, who has expressed on national media her heartfelt concerns for the youth of today, as she herself has been affected by the murder of her son Dwayne through knife crime.
How the University film event came about: after seeing a trailer of Power to Change, Exeter University's Humanities professor became enthusiastic to show the film to her students as she saw how it reflects essential themes of citizenship and empowerment, which she would be teaching throughout the coming semester. Also, their Student Experience Officer at the University also expressed her opinion that Power to Change was is a ‘very important’ film that would be valuable content for the law students. This resulted in the University kindly agreeing to host the event, providing a welcoming venue at their main Lecture Hall. They liaised with Celebrate Life and Peace Partners to put on the event, with Wallee McDonnell, from Celebrate Life, agreeing to come to Cornwall as main speaker. Peace Partners helped with funding and provided information cards about the Peace Education Programme, which is mentioned in the documentary during Wallee McDonnell’s conversation with Errol McGlashan.
During his time in prison, Errol had been a participant of in the Peace Education Programme, and this was it was here where he had first met Wallee, who was facilitating the programme. Prem Rawat, founder of the Peace Education Programme and international author, is featured in Power to Change, where he speaks to young people at an event in Lambeth College and also shown in conversation with Ben Eine who created the ‘Peace is Possible’ mural in Shoreditch: it is this subject of ‘Peace’ which is a prominent theme throughout the Power to Change film.
Afterwards, all enjoyed a buffet provided by the University. Some of the students expressed their responses to Power to Change on camera to Rob Dunford from Celebrate Life and this will be shared once edited. One student said, ‘Prem Rawat really affected me as soon as he started talking’. Another attendee, who had been given Prem Rawat’s book, ‘Hear Yourself’, expressed that she ‘felt it in her heart’. There will be a follow up after this event with a presentation of The Prem Rawat Foundation’s Peace Education Programme for High Schools and Universities. Peace Partners is helping with the UK piloting and development of this course.