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Creating a Tolerant Society
Princess Vittoria Alliata, Tareke Brahne, Rachel Aspden, Matt Matravers

  • Saturday 18 June 2016, 4.00PM to 5:30pm
  • Free admission
    Booking required
  • Ron Cooke Hub, University of York (map|getting to campus)
  • Wheelchair accessible

Event details

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Mostafa Salameh, author of Dreams of a Refugee, will present the keynote address. Next, hear from a range of experts including refugees, policy-makers and human rights activists on the experience of refugees and how to create a tolerant society in which differences are respected. Speakers include:

  • Princess Vittoria Alliata, Sicilian humanitarian
  • Tareke Brahne, President, 3 October Lampedusa Memorial Movement
  • Rachel Aspden, Author of Generation Revolution
  • Matt Matravers of the University of York (Chair)

About the speakers

Mostafa Salameh is the author of Dreams of a Refugee: From the Middle East to Mount Everest. Born in Kuwait to Palestinian refugee parents, the book tells the story of how one night he had a dream - a profoundly religious experience that would see him renew his faith and change the course of his entire life. In the dream, he was standing at the highest point in the world reciting the call to prayer. Despite having no prior mountaineering experience or training, he was inspired to follow his vision and climb Mount Everest. He failed to reach the summit twice before finally reaching the top in 2008 – going on to become the first Jordanian ever to reach the North Pole, and to scale the 'Seven Summits'. In 2016 he reached the South Pole, the first Muslim ever to have done so.

Now a devout Muslim, Mostafa is committed to spreading the message of tolerant Islam. A motivational speaker and activist, he is working to turn Arab youth away from radicalisation. Through climbing, he has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity.

Dr Vittoria Alliata, Princess of Valguarnera, is an Arabist and an Islamologist, author of books, essays and international projects. She is a prominent figure in multicultural and inter-religious dialogue, in the footsteps of her ancestors who have been actively engaged since the 18th century in finding peaceful solutions to controversies and conflicts in Europe.

Tareke Brahne was born in Eritrea. From the age of ten he worked to support his mother. His journey to Europe lasted several years and he faced death, violence and imprisonment while he was crossing Sudan and Libya. During his first attempt to cross the Mediterranean he was rejected, until at the end of 2005, he was finally able to reach Sicily. Since then he has been committed to helping those who, like him, were forced to face a dangerous journey in order to escape from unbearable and dramatic situations with the hope of obtaining protection in Europe.

Tareke worked as a cultural mediator in Lampedusa and southern Italy for Save The Children and Doctors Without Borders. Today Tareke lives in Rome where he is married and has two children. Tareke currently works in a reception facility for asylum seekers. He is President of the 3rd October Committee, a non-profit organisation that he contributed to founding in the aftermath of the tragedy in Lampedusa in 2013 in which 368 persons lost their lives. The aim of the organisation is to obtain recognition of a Day of Remembrance to be celebrated every 3rd October at national and European level to honour all migrants who perish at sea and those who risk their lives every day in order to save them. 

Rachel Aspden is the author of Generation Revolution. Born in London in 1980, she moved to Cairo to study Arabic and work as a trainee journalist in 2003. She spent the next several years travelling and writing about Islam and politics in Yemen, Pakistan and across the Middle East. After a period as the Literary Editor of the New Statesman, in 2010 she was awarded a Winston Churchill fellowship to research Islamic education while crossing Sudan and north India. Following the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, she moved back to Egypt. She has written for the Guardian, New Statesman and Prospect magazine.

Generation Revolution follows the stories of four young Egyptians – Amr the atheist software engineer, Amal the village girl who defied her family and her entire community, Ayman the one-time religious extremist and Ruqayah the would-be teenage martyr. It unravels the complex forces shaping the lives of young people caught between tradition and modernity, and what their stories mean for the future of the Middle East.

Matt Matravers joined York Law School in 2015 as Professor of Law having been at the University of York since 1995 serving as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, and Professor in the Department of Politics. He is on the Arts and Humanities research Council (AHRC) Peer Review College and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. In addition, he is Director of the Morrell Centre for Toleration.


Books will be available to buy from the Waterstones' stall at this event.

This event is supported by The Morrell Centre for Toleration which is generously funded by the C and J B Morrell Trust


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