Eating for peace: Conflict Cafe returns for its third year

International Alert's Conflict Café 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. Tickets are now available here:

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 countries affected by conflict.

The initiative kicks off with Conflict Café: Lebanon, a country which ended its civil war just 10 years ago and is now hosting more than one million refugees displaced by the conflict in Syria. Lebanon week will be led by chef Imad Ghossain and conclude with a special brunch by Lazeez Lebanese Tapas and their chef Michael Sallaum.

The focus will then shift to the delicious flavours of Sri Lanka, where after nearly 30 years of conflict, more than a generation of Sri Lankans have grown up with no real experience of peace. Sri Lanka week will start with chef Mini of ZG Events taking over the Café and finish with a special brunch by Ruby Kughanathan of Papi’s Pickles.

Conflict Café is part of the Talking Peace Festival organised by International Alert, a 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.

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.”

Conflict Café is running in partnership with Grub ClubHouse of Vans London and Cult Events

Image credit: Phil Kirk/ International Alert