Leamington Peace Festival speaker receives award from United Nations Association

An expert in international relations - who was in New York during the Twin Towers attack and who has spoken at the Leamington Peace Festival - has been honoured for his work with the United Nations Association.

Rod Fielding was nominated for the UNA-UK Distinguished Service Award for 2014 by the Warwick District Branch of the United Nations Association.

The presentation was made by the Mayor of Leamington, Cllr John Knight, at a branch meeting of the area’s UNA at St Paul’s church, Leamington.

For many years Mr Fielding lectured in international relations at the Lanchester College, the forerunner of Coventry University, and after retirement became a visiting academic at the University of Warwick.

He presented courses on war and peace in Leamington in the 1990s and said events such as the Leamington Peace Festival play their part in highlighting international relations.

The 83-year-old, who lives in Cannon Hill, Coventry, said: “I’ve had people come to my courses whose interest has been evoked by such things as the peace festival.”

Mr Fielding, through his work with the World Federation of United Nations Associations, has visited the UN headquarters in New York and was in the city during the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in 2001.

He said: “People were absolutely shell-shocked. It was a very bonding time – people had a great sense of being together and there was an expectation of further terrorist attacks.”

And he said although the UN does not have a high profile today in terms of war and peace, its humanitarian work is immense, adding: “The UN carries out the decisions of the Security Council and if they can’t agree, the UN can’t do much.”

Gian Clare, of Rugby Road, Leamington, chairman of Warwick District UNA, said: “Rod is someone who would be considered as an ‘elder statesman’ of the UNA-UK and many of us have turned to Rod for his advice and wisdom on many matters.”