Big Hope 2: Young Leaders Congress

Liverpool Hope University’s Relationship with Sparrow

We have a partnership through the student exchange programme. Students have come and worked at Sparrow and assisted with programmes at the school. The different areas where students have assisted are: teaching one on one maths to our learners, assisting with teaching English in small groups, helped with sport, and maintenance projects around the school. We would like to grow the partnership to one of collaboration where the
student is learning as well as teaching and assisting Sparrow. Dr Penny Haughan, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Student Life and Learning at Liverpool Hope University, says “The Big Hope 2 programme has been designed to be an exciting, thought-provoking and insightful learning experience. A host of inspirational speakers provide unique opportunities to hear from leading global influences who are at the forefront of national and international challenges. Big Hope 2 allows for the opportunity to work as part of a team in learning tracks for an in depth experience of some of the global challenges addressed by the Congress.”


”To begin with, I must say it is quite difficult to sum up my time and experience during Big Hope as there is so much to share on. It was emotionally gripping and thought provoking. Big Hope 2 was a world class and humanising experience that I will always keep close to my heart and I aim to share my renewed knowledge about different cultures, about society and the movement of creating possibilities to make a better tomorrow. There were many delegates from around the word who joined the Congress, to name a few: India, Rwanda, Uganda, China, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Palestine, Brazil, America”, says Lindsay Stephen, the deputy principal of Sparrow Foundation School. Big Hope 2 was created by LHU in celebration of Liverpool being chosen as Europe’s Capital of Culture in 2008.. Four key topics were addressed throughout the event: freedom, conflict, equality and change. Different key note speakers, discussions and learning tracks were part of the daily programme and the following topics were discussed: Migration, Faith, Innovation, Education, Sport, Communication, Work and business, Community, Politics, Culture and the Environment.

The opening ceremony took place at Liverpool Cathedral.. Lindsay says, “I was honoured to be asked to carry the South African flag along with other delegates representing their country – it was an emotional and proud
moment for everyone. One of the keynote speakers during the openingceremony was Father Michael Lapsley, who was part of the liberation movement during Apartheid and spoke about a “dream”, a dream for a better future for all. His speech was inter-spaced by a song of John Lennon – Imagine, and it was simply beautiful. I was truly moved by Father Lapsley’s speech and felt privileged to be able to listen and learn from a man who moved and thrived against oppressive regimes. Father Michael continues today with his NGO, the Institute for Healing of Memories. I remember sitting in the Cathedral with tears in my eyes and goosebumps all over- and I know I wasn’t the only one. Such compassion that was felt in the Cathedral created a movement of love and understanding as we began the Big Hope 2 journey and that is what Big Hope 2 is all about!”

“Another empowering experience for me was the honour of being selected to personally meet and have tea with the Baroness Caroline Cox of Queensbury, who was also one of the keynote speakers at the opening ceremony, as well as His Excellency Dasho Karma Ura. The Baroness Cox is the Chief Executive of the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust and I utterly adored her integrity and honour. The Baroness Cox spoke about “enthusiasm” for the lost, the least and the last. His Excellency Karma Ura is President of The Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH Research (Gross National Happiness where wealth is determined by happiness), a profound man with wisdom and inner-peace. Towards the end of my journey at Big Hope 2, I was asked by Dr Penny Haughan (Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Life and Learning, Liverpool Hope University) to assist her in a radio interview with BBC Radio Merseyside (which was a first for me to be live on radio- eeek!). I was asked to share about Big Hope 2 on behalf of the delegates attending; a wonderful experience it was and I was proud to represent South Africa and of course, Sparrow Schools Educational Trust.” Lindsay continues, “I have met extraordinary people during my time at Big Hope 2. Big Hope proved that although we are from different countries, we all face the same or similar challenges and issues and it made us realise we are not alone in the world; we are all . I hope to continue my new friendships with the people who have shaped my thoughts and who have inspired me to be part of the change. The Congress brings hope to the future with a purpose and a cause to make the world a better place for all to live in and I’m blessed to have been part of this movement.”

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