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A celebration of Sir Peter Ustinov at Durham Cathedral

(5 August 2004)

The University of Durham is planning to pay tribute to its late Chancellor, Sir Peter Ustinov, with a special memorial service at Durham Cathedral in November.

The event will be designed to reflect the personal qualities and values of Sir Peter who was Chancellor of Durham from 1992 until his death in March.

Vice-Chancellor, Sir Kenneth Calman, said: "Sir Peter was a great friend and ambassador of the university, and an eloquent champion of tolerance and understanding between people. These are the values we want to celebrate. We remember him not only because he brought laughter, but because he also made us think."

In particular the event will highlight the theme of tackling prejudice. In recent years Sir Peter and his family's Ustinov Foundation have helped a number of universities around Europe to engage in special studies of the history and nature of prejudice.

Sir Peter often wrote and spoke of his own experience of prejudice in various forms, and how he witnessed it around the world. His Ustinov Foundation projects are designed to promote a greater understanding of prejudice and how it can be broken down. The answer, he would say, was in "what we are allowed to forget, rather than what we are incited to remember."

His final book, published in Germany last year, was called Achtung! Vorurteile (Beware Prejudices), a study co-written with Harald Wieser and Jurgen Ritte.

Durham's studies on the prejudice theme are being supervised by Professor Sue Scott, a Professor of Sociology and Principal of Ustinov College. Professor Scott, who will be one of the speakers at the Cathedral Celebration on 10 November, said: "It is an honour for the College to take Sir Peter's name and to take our lead from him in working to understand and combat prejudice. Ustinov College has 1,500 postgraduates from over 100 countries and it is our aim to continue Sir Peter's work against prejudice".

The Cathedral has been the venue for University degree ceremonies for the past two years, presided over by Sir Peter as Chancellor.

The Dean of Durham, The Very Rev Michael Sadgrove, speaking on behalf of the Chapter, said: "Sir Peter Ustinov loved Durham Cathedral. When he presided at University Degree Congregations, his magnificent voice reverberated round the building in a way I shall never forget. He is much missed in Durham. It will be a privilege to host his memorial service here in a place that not only holds many memories of Sir Peter, but has also been so intimately connected with the life of this great University."

Members of Sir Peter's family, close friends and associates are due to attend the celebration which will include a mixture of prayer and reflection, readings and spoken and musical tributes.

Notes to Editors

1. In his 12 years as Chancellor of the University Sir Peter conferred degrees on more than 30,000 graduates. Since 2002 the ceremonies have been held in Durham Cathedral.

2. Ustinov College was the new name given last year to the former Graduate Society of the University, a collegiate body exclusively for postgraduate students. It has 1500 members and has the greatest international mix of students in the University.

3. Further information about the Celebration, including special arrangements for media facilities, will be announced later.

Diary note: 10 November 2004, 2.30-3.45pm

For further information contact:
Keith Seacroft , Head of Public Relations, 0191 334 6074
Prof. Sue Scott, Principal, Ustinov College, 0191 334 6407

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