Building Bridges, Fostering Peace: The Story of the Global Peace and Unity Festival

Born in 2005 from the vision of Islam Channel, the GPU Festival found its home in London’s ExCeL Exhibition Centre. The inaugural event drew a remarkable 25,000 visitors, a powerful testament to the yearning for connection and understanding, particularly within the UK’s Muslim community. But the GPU Festival’s ambitions stretched far beyond national borders. Over time, it has blossomed into a global platform, fostering dialogue and promoting peace across the world.

The GPU Festival’s success is undeniable. By 2013, attendance surpassed an impressive 100,000, solidifying its position as a landmark event in the UK. Its enduring appeal lies in its unwavering commitment to creating a platform for meaningful dialogue that transcends backgrounds and faiths.

The impact of the GPU Festival goes beyond impressive attendance figures. The event boasts a rich history of hosting some of the world’s most influential figures. Renowned scholars like Dr. Yasir Qadhi and Sheikh Hamza Yusuf have shared their insights on faith and community, while activists like Tariq Ramadan have championed the cause of interfaith dialogue. Moreover, the festival has been honored by the presence of esteemed scholars such as Yusuf Estes, who have contributed to the spiritual and intellectual discourse of the event.

Celebrities and political figures, from actors like Samina Ahmed to prominent politicians like Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, Jeremy Corbyn MP, and the late Tony Benn have all graced the GPU stage, lending their voices to the message of peace and unity. Additionally, notable personalities such as Imran Khan, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Kristiane Backer, a prominent television presenter, and James Caan, entrepreneur, have attended the festival, further enriching its diverse audience.

Furthermore, the festival has been graced by numerous renowned figures from the world of music and nasheeds, enhancing its cultural and spiritual atmosphere. Jermaine Jackson, the renowned musician and member of the Jackson family, has used his platform at the GPU Festival to promote peace and unity. Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens), the acclaimed singer-songwriter and philanthropist, has performed at the event, sharing his message of peace and harmony. Nasheed artists like Zain Bhikha, Ahmed Bukhatir, and the late Junaid Jamshed have contributed significantly to the festival’s spiritual environment through their uplifting performances. Other notable artists include Najam Sheraz, Dawud Wharnsby Ali, Idris Phillips, and groups like Native Deen and Outlandish, who have all brought their unique blend of music and spirituality to the event, fostering connections among diverse audiences.

The Global Peace and Unity Festival stands as a powerful example of the transformative power of dialogue and understanding. By bringing together diverse voices from across the globe, the GPU Festival serves as a guiding light of hope in a world that often feels divided. It’s a testament to the fact that through open communication and a shared desire for peace, we can build bridges, foster unity, and create a more harmonious world for all.