Jo Berry


Disarming with Empathy

Jo Berry is sharing a story that started on 12 October 1984. Her father was a Conservative MP who was staying at the Grand Hotel in Brighton… and was killed by the IRA bomb. She didn’t just lose her father, but also the ‘free spirit’ who had no cares in the world. She now felt the conflict in Northern Ireland was her conflict.

Jo has worked for over 10 years to resolve conflict around the world. Sixteen years after her father was killed by an IRA bomb, Jo first met with the man responsible, Pat Magee. Her preparedness to try to understand him opened a path to empathy that continues to develop. Their unusual relationship has been told in the BBC documentary “Facing the Enemy”, was featured in the film “Soldiers of Peace”, and inspired “The Bomb”, a play by Kevin Dyer.

Jo has worked with Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Forgiveness Project), the All Parliamentary Group on Conflict Issues, and Combatants for Peace. She is Chair of the International Network of Peace, and Visiting Fellow of the Institute of Democracy and Conflict Transformation at the University of Essex.

The founder of Building Bridges for Peace, Jo advocates that empathy is the biggest weapon we have to end conflict. She has spoken over 100 times with Pat Magee and works regularly in the UK and in areas of conflict including Lebanon and Rwanda.

Biography published 2013

Watch our other 2013 speakers