Our History

Our Founders

In 1981, PCI founders Bernard Benson, David Woollcombe, Rosey Simonds, David Gordon and Michael and Eirwen Harbottle came together to create Peace Child the Musical. Inspired by David Gordon’s oratorio Alpha Omega and Bernard Benson’s Peace Book, Michael and Eirwen Harbottle decided to join the two works together and thus form the basis for the musical.

Rosey Simonds & David Woollcombe

Rosey produced numerous Peace Child musicals and the musical City of Peace. For the past 12 years she has run Peace Child’s UK educational programmes sponsored by Defra, Transport for London and the UK and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

David was the Author and Director of the 1st performance of Peace Child, the Musical in the Royal Albert Hall and over 30 other performances.

David Gordon

Composer of the music and lyrics of the songs in Peace Child, the musical - drawn from his oratorio, Alpha Omega - which tells the history of humanity from the dawn of time through to the final apocalypse.

Eirwen Harbottle & Brigadier Michael Harbottle

Eirwen Harbottle created the idea of Peace Child - a celebration of Peace, to stand alongside the protests of CND against war and nuclear weapons; Chair of Peace Child Board of Trustees from 1982 to 2009.

Brigadier Michael Harbottle was the Director of the World Disarmament Movement which produced the 1st Performance of Peace Child, the Musical in 1981; Soldier, Peace-maker, founder of "Generals for Peace" - and author of the 'Thin Blue Line' - the UN's first Peace-keepers handbook.

Bernard Benson

Author of The Peace Book on which Peace Child, the Musical is based. He is a father of nine children, Buddhist philosopher and early pioneer of computer science.

The musical was performed over 5000 times in 31 countries, involving 250,000 young people

Helping to thaw the Cold War

In 1986, Working with the US and Soviet administrations, we brought about the first cultural exchange between Soviet and American youth. As a result, Mikhail Gorbachev invited us to work with his Green Cross organisation to fight climate change.

"What happens on stage really happens in life. Maybe someday one of these kids will become a politician. This experience will be carried with them. Their friends are in the Soviet Union. They're not going to make war with their friends."

500,000 copies of Rescue Mission: Planet Earth were printed in 23 languages

Key achievements

Over the past 30 years, we’ve tapped into the energy of millions of young people in 183 countries and worked in partnership with some of the world’s most powerful organisations. Together, we’ve taken on some big challenges.

Fighting Climate Change

1994

We engaged young people from more than 100 countries in launching a children’s version of Agenda 21, the UN’s sustainable development plan. The publication sold half a million copies.

2006-9

We ran programmes for 18,800 children promoting sustainable lifestyles, sponsored by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Areas (DEFRA).

2012

We led a Green economy campaign at the Rio+20 Summit, reaching 163 million youth in partnership with 100 organisations.

Tackling youth unemployment

2012

We launched our first training academy in Kenya, followed by academies in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, producing thousands of young entrepreneurs..

2013

We organised the first International Youth Job Creation Summit in London, attended by representatives from the European Commission, UK government, World Bank and more than 100 youth job-creation specialists.

2014-15

We set up an global youth task force to develop a road map to full youth employment by 2030. We also started a peer-to- peer employability programme, reaching over 2,000 UK students.