The Big Hope 2008

Big Hope 2008 page

In 2008 the City of Liverpool had the honour of being named European Capital of Culture and The Big Hope was Liverpool Hope University’s official contribution to both the celebrations, and the European Parliament’s Year of Intercultural Dialogue.

Around 800 international delegates heard from a diverse selection of global speakers, who discussed some of the foremost global concerns of the 21st century including the environment and sustainable development, global coexistence, international development, politics, law, and human rights.

Throughout the conference there were 21 keynote addresses with audiences ranging from 300-800. All were free and open to the public and among the presenters were Cherie Booth QC, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, and former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese.

Forums were also held that included panels of international, national and local speakers, often comprised of four experts from Liverpool Hope and followed by a Q&A/debate session. Many of these forums were sponsored by external organisations, including Youth Charter and the Anthony Walker Foundation.

Smaller groups of multi-national delegates ranging from 10-50 worked in strands on substantial academic/performance and community service-based tasks with a tangible legacy. Outputs included The Big Hope Big Concert at the Philharmonic Hall, a photography exhibit, poetry, art, speeches and a daily newspaper. 

For further details about the 2008 event, download The Hope Times Big Hope newsletter.


The short video below provides a snapshot of some of the activities and events that took place during the week-long congress:


Speakers at The Big Hope included:

  • Cherie Booth QC
  • Baroness Caroline Cox
  • Baroness Ilora Finlay
  • Rt Hon John Gummer MP
  • Former President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese
  • Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor
  • Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
  • Harriet Lamb CBE
  • Shahid Malik
  • Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid
  • Bryan Sanderson
  • Rt Rev John Sentamu
  • Sir Stephen Wall
  • Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby


Photo gallery

You can view a full gallery of images in our The Big Hope 2008 Flickr album.

Were you a delegate at The Big Hope 2008? If so we would love to see your photos - share them with us on our Facebook or Twitter pages.