The Peacebuilder

The Peacebuilder

Peace Direct is delighted to have launched its US affiliate with a thrilling evening at New York’s Yale Club, where the dramatic story of Henri Ladyi – ‘Africa’s Schindler‘ – was retold by star of Broadway, actor Mark Rylance.

After playing to a packed house, Mark spoke of his deep concern for peace, which led him to become a Patron of Peace Direct from its very beginnings in the UK in 2004. He was followed on stage by Henri himself, who had flown in from Congo especially for the show. “It was an astonishing event,” said Peace Direct founder Carolyn Hayman, “I don’t think anyone who was there will ever forget it.”

It’s the best, most thrilling performance that I have ever seen on a stage, one destined to go down in legend. I may not have been around to witness Olivier or Gielgud or Richardson trod the boards, but I’ve seen Rylance, and that’s good enough for me. – Vogue, review of Rylance in Jerusalem

Henri Ladyi (pictured above) rescues child soldiers in war-torn eastern Congo. He returns refugees to their home villages after years of war. He rebuilds shattered communities, runs radio programmes preaching peace, and disarms rebel soldiers. He works at huge personal risk, subject to death threats, torture and kidnap. A documentary for the UK’s Channel 4 followed Henri as he risked his life to liberate child soldiers from the bush – you can watch the film here. He is a peacebuilder. In the ruins of Africa’s worst civil war, his is a living story of hope.

I am building peace. I will continue until peace has been built. I will do this until my last breath. – Henri Ladyi

Mark Rylance is an award-winning British actor whose Broadway show, Jerusalem, was called “the best play of the season” by the Hollywood Reporter, while Time Out New York says “anyone who cares about thrilling, world-class theatre must see Jerusalem”. In London it was hailed as ‘one of the greatest stage performances ever witnessed’ (Daily Telegraph) and ‘the performance of the decade’ (Sunday Times). Mark was the first artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and is a Patron of Peace Direct.

As always, I am honoured to ride along beside you and all your workers in Peace Direct. Inspiring stuff! – Mark Rylance

In this specially commissioned play by award-winning film-maker Fiona Lloyd-Davies, Mark performed the life and words of Henri. It is the dramatic story of one man’s work to bring an end to a conflict that has cost the lives of five million people. It was also a once-only chance to see a great actor in this true-life role.

We have created the evening to launch our US operation and to raise start-up funding for it. We welcome expressions of interest in assisting us in any way.

Photos by Fiona Lloyd-Davies and JB Reed/Nuru Project

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