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Leadership - John Peters speaks in Bristol
Author: Derek Cheshire

"The entire audience was moved and took away something different. True success is when everyone gets something personal and different from a speaker"
Nynex CableComms Ltd

John Peters came to the world's attention in January 1991, when his bruised and battered face flashed onto television screens around the world. On the first day of the Gulf War, a British Tornado bomber crewed by John Peters and John Nichol was shot down over Iraqi territory and the two men were captured. After four days of mental and physical torture, they were forcibly shown on Iraqi television. It was his disfigured image that became a potent symbol of Saddam Hussein's ruthless aggression. John's powerful and moving story focuses on how he coped with both the brutal physical and mental pressure inflicted on him by his captors. His dramatic and sometimes harrowing experiences reach deep into our innermost minds, showing us how we can overcome even our worst fears and nightmares.

His war was not all as he expected - it became a seven-week ordeal of torture and interrogation testing John Peters to the absolute limit and bringing him close to death. The audience is absorbed into a cruel and ruthless regime, but John skilfully weaves his story so that they question their own focus, attitudes and determination to succeed. He describes how to adapt quickly to ever changing circumstances and how to overcome seemingly impossible odds. John, however, is certainly not a doom and gloom merchant. Far from it - his innate sense of humour and superb timing ensures the audience sees the funny and lighter side of his experience.

He was the sole reader representing the British Armed Forces at the National Gulf Memorial Service, in front of Her Majesty The Queen and presented the Sir James Martin Lecture at the Royal Aeronautical Society in the presence of Prince Philip. Furthermore, he followed Mr Nelson Mandela on stage in South Africa and achieved a standing ovation! He has written two best-selling books and the documentary, 'Tornado Down' was Independent Documentary of the Year and a BAFTA Award Nominee. He has extensive international TV, radio, PR and media experience and has built up an international speaking reputation, including American, South African, Swedish, Maltese, French, German and Australian audiences. His corporate credits include Nortel, IBM, Sony, Lloyds and The Royal Bank of Scotland and Peugeot cars.

He spent 18 years in the RAF, serving on various squadrons flying Tornado GR1. Since leaving the RAF, he has established a management development company, UPH Ltd, whose clients include MTV, Unipart International, Barclays Bank, the NHS, The Cabinet Office, Channel 5 and TUI UK. He is Chair on the International Management Board of the Association of MBAs. He is married to Helen and they have two children.

Courage is an attitude of mind - with which we can face and overcome the challenges in an ever-changing world.

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