Teachfirst Impact Conference 2016

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Hello, It is delegate number two Emma Powell writing today. I thought I would give an update on what I have been up to over the summer. A couple of weeks ago I attended the Impact Conference put on by Teachfirst in Leeds, where I attended sessions on everything from parental engagement with children's education to commonly misunderstood myths about teaching. However, the highlight for me was the introductory speech from Dr. Sakeena Yacoobi. She spoke on starting up schools in the midst of Taliban control within Afghanistan, and her never wavering belief that Education is vital for every child.

I heard Dr. Yacoobi speak about not only education but how important it is to stand up for what you believe in even when the odds are against you. Since starting up her first school in a basement, Dr Yacoobi is the CEO of the Afghan Institute of Learning  (AIL) after founding it in 1995 in response to the lack of education and skills among the young people of the country after years of war and difficulty. Since founding her schools and the AIL Dr Yacoobi has directly or indirectly affected the lives of more than 12 million Afghan people. She has also been nominated for a Nobel peace prize.

I felt incredibly lucky to be able to hear her words, even to be in the same room as someone who has fought so relentlessly for what they believe in. I am even more lucky to be able to expand my understanding of globally impacting people by hearing them speak at the One Young World summit.

She was just one among many amazing speakers who came to Leeds for the two day conference, I learnt so much which I hope to benefit from both at the summit and in my future prospective career in teaching. The words Dr. Sakeena finished on were the same ones I will leave you with; 'Education is the key issue for peace'. Once we achieve global education, many other goods will shortly follow.

Until next time!

Emma 🙂

 

 

Hello from Delegate number Two!

  

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Hello everyone!

As you learnt from Mohammed’s earlier post we are the two Delegates from Bath attending the One Young World summit at the end of the Summer. The opportunity is one I never would have expected to have and I am incredibly grateful to The University of Bath for making it a possibility. I cannot wait to travel over with Mohammed and fully immerse myself in every aspect of the event.

To introduce myself, I have just finished my second year at Bath where I am studying Education with Psychology. The degree allows me to study a broad range of issues facing children and young people from all around the world, from Education to child labour. Studying these areas has made me realise how many challenges are faced everyday by children worldwide and I look forward to engaging with other delegates and discussing these issues.

I am originally from Weymouth, a small seaside town in the south of England which is where I am spending my summer. I work in a small but well known fish restaurant here called the Crab House Café which I really enjoy, and from which I am learning more and more about fish every day. I really love living by the seaside and miss it hugely when I am in Bath, when I am home I try and spend as much time as possible on the beach.

Weymouth pleasure beach

A few days after returning from the Summit in October I will be starting a new job at The University of Oxford which I will be at for the duration of my work placement year as part of my degree. I will be working as part of two research teams looking into education provision within the UK, and how the home and the school can work in unison to develop a child’s being. I hope this year of experience in a real life research situation will equip me with the skills for a possible career in Educational research.

I hope by attending this summit I will be able to speak to like-minded people who feel this same passion about equal opportunities for all children. My main focus for the past year has been the astounding numbers of child refugees who struggle to have access to a stable home, let alone a consistent education.  I hope to see more being done to tackle this issue as soon as possible, otherwise whole generations may be lost.

Unlike Mohammad I do not have my own blog or channel, but I will be keeping all of you as up to date as possible on my journey too and time at the summit! A huge thank you again to Bath for this amazing opportunity, I am really excited about what the next year has in store for me.

Speak to you all soon!

 

 

 

An Introduction!

  

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Hello, my name is Mohammad Lone, and I have the honour of being one of the two delegates at the 2016 One Young World conference in Ottawa, Canada, representing the University of Bath. This year the conference will be held between the 28th of September and the 1st of October, so it's just a couple of months away, and we are both incredibly excited!

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So, a little about myself...

I am a first year Economics student, born in India but raised in Taunton, a town not too far away from Bath. I like sports (however as a Chelsea fan, the past year has not been great for me), I like embarking on long late night walks, and generally I love to meet new people and learn from them. That's one of the main reasons why, despite being initially daunted, I have enjoyed university so much, and I am keen to make use of what I've learnt and develop further at this year's OYW conference.

More academically speaking, my interests lie in tackling social and economic inequality, the environment, and development economics. These are all covered extensively in my view by on one hand government policy, and on the other corporate behaviour- two areas I read a lot about and am looking forward to discussing and learning more about at the conference with other delegates.

What excites me most about OYW are the people. People like Muhammad Yunus (the Nobel prize winning founder of Grameen Bank), Arianna Huffington and Akala have long served as huge inspirations for me, and the opportunity to hear from such people in person is one that I cannot wait for. But it's not just these people that excite me- it's the other delegates who will be attending. Few (I think in the UK, zero) other universities offer such an opportunity to students, so Emma and I will probably be the among the youngest attendees. Other delegates will be from all kinds of places, such as private companies, charities, NGOs, and so on.

I was fortunate enough to get to know Ludi Wang (one of the 2015 delegates) over the past year, and the discussions we've had just walking around campus have had a profound impact on how I see key issues like the environment. I can't imagine what it'll be like to learn and be inspired by hundreds of people like her, from all around the world!

I run a website and YouTube channel, called poponomics. The aim of poponomics is to help people learn things (primarily economics related, but also politics, business, etc) that are often presented as overly complex matters by a lot of the media, without the prerequisite of a degree to understand what the heck I'm talking about. As well as this blog, which Emma will also be contributing to, I will be making use of poponomics to document the conference- both in day by day blogs and vlogs that will be posted on the YouTube channel.

So thanks for reading this introductory blog post, a massive thank you to the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences for giving us this opportunity, and I look forward to taking you along on this journey!

 

Reflections

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Reflecting on the One Young World Summit it was completely unexpected, each speech, each breakout, each question was a burst of inspiration. What united every Delegate, Ambassador, Counsellor, Speaker and Observer was the passion each one showed towards their cause. The key themes revolved around Human Rights, Education, Environment, Peace and Security and Leadership and each held a powerful message to inspire a new generation to act where Governments fail to. Reviewing my prior anticipation its evident that this Summit was completely absorbing and exhausting, it was pure inspiration as I'd never imagined it.

A quote from John Simpson "The future is for the making, but first we have to make it", in essence a summary of the Summit. A particularly influential speech was that of Maajid Nawaz a former terrorist who now promotes combating Islamaphobia as the source to peace in the face of terrorism; he emphasises what makes individuals at the Summit so impactful. Even the Delegates that ranged from 18-30 had all overcome a personal or cultural problem and had been inspired to change this situation for others. Returning speaker Yenomi Park for example had escaped North Korea to become a victim of Human Trafficking, this was 7 years ago and today she is an Activist attempting to change the situation in North Korea and China. Personally, I was hugely inspired by the speech of Arizza Nocum who found the similarities between Christianity and Islam and now works to endorse cooperation within the divided setting of the Philippines.

Businesses had a huge impact at the Summit with Siemens having 130 Delegates and Barclays 60 Delegates,they provide both the causes and the solutions to global problems. It was a cause for relief seeing how companies such as Unilever support initiatives that will make the world a better place, Unilever for example supported the new initiative Stand Tall which seeks to provide safety for Women and girls. The influence of both individuals and businesses has created an even bigger impact on attending Delegates they have inspired us to act where Governments cannot. The Summit has also been hugely informative towards specific causes with a particular speech resonating throughout the week, raising awareness of the stateless individuals who are denied basic human rights because no state accepts them as citizens and guarantee these rights. Networking was a major part of the Summit, we had the opportunity to make links from across the world who had unique perspectives, and this the legacy of One Young World 2015 that the friends that we made will become our support network for the projects we hope to complete and careers we will pursue.

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The Summit was full of inspiring speeches, however it did exhaust us, adapting to the time change as well as the lengthy days it was an inevitable consequence. Although, as I said prior to the Summit this was a necessity for the opportunity that it provided. Ludi and I were astounded by Bangkok as soon as we landed, mostly it was the humidity in stark contrast to Bath. There were 196 countries represented at the Summit, the Flag Bearers Opening Ceremony was breathtaking, I personally met delegates from the Philippines, Canada, Turkmenistan, Sudan, Turkey and Russia an many more. What makes the One Young World Summit unique is its diversity, Counsellors and the inspiration that in just over 3 days it can instil. This Summit is incredibly worthwhile to those that attend, it promotes cooperation and encourages "young people to be a catalyst for change."

 

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Sparkles from the Summit

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With the flag bearers of China and the UK

With the flag bearers of China and the UK

Dancing

Learning traditional Thai dance with other delegates from around the world outside of Suan Pakkad Palace

Conference

The main conference area where most of the talks and occasional Q&As took Place; I was lucky to have a chance to ask a question during the Environment plenary session.

Hearing from the young and the experienced; from left to right: One Young World founders David Jones and Kate Robertson, Grameen bank founders Hanz Reitz and Muhammad Yunus, winners of the Thai Young Leaders Programme

Hearing from the young and the experienced; from left to right: One Young World founders David Jones and Kate Robertson, Grameen Bank founders Hanz Reitz and Muhammad Yunus, winners of the Thai Young Leaders Programme

Wow. The 3.5 days at the One Young World Summit in Bangkok is like a powerful shot of inspiration, slowly dissolving and mixing into our everyday lives back home. Those 3.5 days were filled with talks, presentations and workshops around the key themes of environment, human rights, education, global business and governance. Looking back into my aims and hopes before the Summit, I feel overwhelmed by the amount of insights that I have gained.

  1. To listen with genuine interest and attentiveness at all times. I have met this goal rather well, attending all sessions and taking notes of some memorable speeches. Plenary sessions lead by the delegate speakers were particularly interesting, and I can’t stop being amazed by how much our fellow delegates have achieved despite their young age. Some of them have started up businesses, built schools, campaigned in crisis areas or had a significant influence on their country’s politics. The short duration of individual sessions, 20-30 minutes, helped maintain a good focus over the whole time. However, Naomi and I thought that further interaction through debates or explaining one’s opinion at the end of a poll would have made the sessions even more engaging.
  2. To gain new insights, even change my views on certain issues. My view on businesses has indeed changed a little, as a result of Professor Yunus’ introduction to the social business framework. In his presentation, a business could consist of selfless (as opposed to selfish) individuals trying to solve human problems (rather than creating them). Grameen Bank’s own success in microcredit seems to be a living proof of this idea being more than an utopia. From one of the plenary sessions, I also became more aware of the challenges facing stateless people, such as their blocked access to opportunities, social services, influence on politics and many other rights.
  3. To have deep and truly meaningful conversations, beyond an average professional small talk. This worked reasonably well, the key is to focus on quality over quantity. Chances are that you would only meet a fraction of the group of over 1500 delegates, counsellors and ambassadors. I was particularly happy to be able to challenge delegates from the business world, for example by asking someone working for Apple whether he thought changing versions of iPhones drive materialism and create waste. I also enquired the views of someone working for Facebook on the problem of people getting more and more addicted to social media, at the expense of normal social life. Bus journeys became handy places to engage into those deeper conversations, because your conversation partner could not easily leave their seat.
  4. To find courage and be encouraged. We definitely met many courageous young people who strived to make a difference despite sometimes unstable conditions in their communities. Among the delegate speakers, a Phillipine girl Arizza Nocum had to ask help from the military to make the libraries built by her family feel safer for the children who go there. A girl from Jordan, Lina Khalifeh, was threatened to be brought to court as a result of teaching self-defence to women in her country. We also met a North Korean defector, Yeonmi Park, who bravely opened up her personal journey to freedom in her book and speech. Everyday encouragement comes from meeting determined individuals from around the world and hearing their stories of overcoming challenges and sticking to their passion.
  5. To familiarise with cultures I knew nothing about. This was among the best parts of this conference. The flag ceremony showed me the multitude of countries taking part in the Summit, out of which only a fraction were countries we normally hear about through Western media. I was lucky get to know delegates from Mozambique, Liberia, Yemen, Iran, Nepal, Kazakhstan, Costa Rica, Sweden as well as those from larger delegations such as Australia, India, China, Canada, USA and UK. We also learned a lot about Thai culture through the social events where the city of Bangkok has clearly put a lot of effort in.
  6. To help deliver a memorable Opening Ceremony as the Finnish flag bearer. The Opening Ceremony was exciting and went all smoothly. There we met all of the high profile counsellors for the first time. Some counsellors like Kofi Annan and Professor Muhammad Yunus have made global level contributions to peace, and it was a great privilege being able to hear them speak in person. Other counsellors come from a range of backgrounds, from popular culture, media and sports to politics and the corporate world. The flag ceremony reflected the diversity of our participants, but at the same time I was pleased to find other delegates who have been living in several countries and have multiple national identities. Having said that, I did get often addressed as the “Finnish girl” since bearing the flag on stage.

To me, one of the most valuable gains from this conference is beginning to care about the world’s problems at a more personal level. Now, reading the news about the recovery of Paris or the war in Yemen would remind me of particular individuals from the Summit. The threat of climate change is no longer just a set of statistics, but brings to mind Bryant Zebedey, a delegate speaker from the Marshall Islands pleading to save his home from rising sea levels. The peace and conflict plenary session was particularly touching, where delegates from countries that are sometimes considered to be each other’s enemies stood side by side against violence.

The Summit made me feel more interconnected to others, both in our achievements and suffering. Above all, I can vividly feel the importance of being an active, raise awareness and take action on issues which matter. As the director Guy Reid and former NASA astronaut Ron Garan reminded us: we are a planetary people, we share a responsibility of looking after one another and the spaceship we call Earth.

Travel Anticipation

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It's 9 in the morning and Ludi and I are sat in Heathrow Departures, I thought it was finally time I posted. The OYW 2015 Summit starts tomorrow with the Boat Procession, and we are both incredibly nervous but excited. Alex and Nipuini have prepared us for what to expect at the Summit, though currently this is somewhat lost on me.

Flying will certainly take some of the edge of the anticipation though I thought it would be best to outline the main prospects that the Summit will offer.

Firstly, this is a global forum of inspirational young people, we are going to be met with numerous opinions to our own. For example the focus of what I'm interested in surrounds Islamaphobia and Feminism both controversial issues. I certainly hold a Western perspective on both, though the effect of culture will be a hugely important variable. The opportunity to hear these values in one forum is once in a lifetime and incredibly important to anyone hoping to observe international relations.

The global forum is not just made up of people, but of businesses. The OYW Summit is a networking hub, made up of companies such as Deloitte, Santander and EY to name a few. As such  we have to approach with a certain mindset of changing the world, through making the most of the companies attending. Ludi and I will undoubtedly be some of the youngest delegates, and so far the University of Bath appears to be the only University that sends delegates. For those looking to attend next year take note thatnetworking is key in the Summit.

Lastly, a more personal prospect is the lack of sleep that's going to come with this summit. In the pre-summit event Ludi and I were told we'd need a few decent nights sleep to prepare us for the summit. After an 11 hour flight we will then face jet-lag as well as early starts and late finishes. Although, how else do you fit everything into 4 days. Sleep deprivation is something I will gladly give up for the opportunities that this summit presents, it's going to be a busy few days.

 

 

 

 

Hopes ahead of the Summit

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We are almost there. Since September we have had a series of preparations culminating into the One Young World Summit 2015 that is due to begin. Step by step, and with the help of the Faculty, we’ve confirmed our journey from Bath to Bangkok, met up with other UK delegates in London, browsed through the various OYW profiles, got in touch with other delegates via social media, selected personal internal and external breakout sessions, and got so intrigued by the promised talks on the timetable. More recently, I have also learned to say “sawat-dee-kha” (hello) and “khop-khun-kha”(thank you) from a friend, as a reminder of the fact that it is soon time for Thailand. Below is my short reflection in the midst of last minute packing and bubbling excitement (and probably a sleepless night) ahead of an early departure in a few hours time.

Some of my hopes for the Summit:

  1. To be able to listen with genuine interest and attentiveness at all times. I guess it is easy to feel a bit overwhelmed by the number of stories and ideas you hear when there are an average of 15 sessions every day (plus 7 hours of time difference). I hope I can maintain a good focus and learn as much from the talks on the first day as those on the last day.
  2. To gain new insights, even change my views on certain issues. Sometimes opinions are there to be challenged, university in particular seems to be a place where nothing should be taken for granted until backed with evidence. One thing I might change my view on is whether corporations can effectively achieve social goals. At the moment I am rather sceptical about this, but perhaps chatting with corporate delegates and hearing their project ideas can help me understand their point of view better.
  3. To have deep and truly meaningful conversations, beyond an average professional small talk. Here in the UK in particular, it seems rare to chat about dreams or fears, politics or philosophy the first time you meet someone. However, given the special atmosphere at the Summit and the passion and thoughtfulness shared by most of the attendees, perhaps fruitful conversations could arise naturally.
  4. To find courage and be encouraged. In the aftermath of the shocking tragedies in Paris, Beirut and elsewhere last weekend, I saw a world joining together in grief and prayer. Recent events will add a further degree of seriousness to the issues we discuss at the conference, particularly in relation to peace and conflict. Sometimes we need encouragement and comfort not only post-crisis, but in everyday life when you feel so small and powerless to make a difference. This is when meeting those who have managed to make a positive change can be truly energising.
  5. To familiarise with cultures I knew nothing about. One Young World brings together delegates from 196 countries to conference centre, which makes it an once-in-a-lifetime experience in terms of meeting representatives of various nationalities. I would like to make use of this precious opportunity to get out of the familiar Northern European and Chinese zone and meet people from as many backgrounds as possible.
  6. To help deliver a memorable Opening Ceremony as the Finnish flag bearer. I honestly feel extremely lucky and privileged to be able to represent Finland this way; she is my beautiful second home and has truly shaped who I am today. On the other hand, I hope my multicultural background could help show people that you don’t need to answer the question “where are you from” with only one word.

Lots is coming, and I will try and do my best to make the most out of this unique experience.

In the coming days, you can follow Naomi and I on Twitter and the main conference on Livestream. Later on, some video clips will be available on Youtube, too. While waiting for this years’ clips, why not have a look at some highlights from previous Summits?

 

Thanks, and laaeo-phohp-gan-mai-kha (see you soon)!

Ludi

 

Getting ready for the global gathering

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It’s the beginning of a another academic year. Amongst the many new experiences of the final year, the One Young World Summit 2015 in Bangkok is one of the most exciting things to look forward to. I feel privileged being chosen to represent the University of Bath with Naomi in this global conference for young people who want to make a difference in their communities. Just looking at its name, I know that the summit in November will be a very unique and inspiring experience.

World a collection of nations in all its diversity

As economists we “read the world” through rates of growth, saving, inflation and unemployment. The summit, however, would offer a chance to “meet the world”, in person. 196 countries will be represented in the summit this year, making it the most international youth movement after the Olympic Games. We can ask questions from the delegates, learn about their culture and the pressing issues in each country through their projects, whether it was to do with education, human rights or the environment. Their first-hand perspective can teach us so much, beyond just facts and figures.

Young – fresh ideas packed with action

Some people associate being young with being naïve and inexperienced, but at the same time we have the time, energy and enthusiasm to take actions. Just look at how many societies, sports clubs and other student-run groups there are on campus compared to, say, at a workplace. Many delegates have started their own businesses or community projects at a young age. The summit would be a great opportunity to hear their stories and be encouraged by their determination and spirit.

One – cooperation and shared concerns

In the news, we keep hearing about conflicts and conflicted interests between countries. The summit, however, would bring representatives of different nations under the same roof. It’s a chance to exchange ideas; I don’t expect everyone to agree, but at least those who come are prepared to listen. The main sessions in the summit are also organised around six main themes: education, peace & security, global business, environment, human rights and leadership & government. It makes me feel that despite the diversity of our backgrounds, we are ultimately fighting for a set of common goals.

You can find the official introduction to One Young World and read about Ambassadors in Action from their website www.oneyoungworld.com

 

Hope you all have an inspiring new semester!

Ludi

 

One Young World: Diversity at its Best!

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I would like to thank the University of Bath for giving me this privilege to attend the One Young World Summit in Dublin this year. As I was given the opportunity to meet present day global change makers such as Kofi Annan, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, first female President of Ireland Mary Robinson, Wikipedia founder - Jimmy Wales, NASA astronaut - Ron Garan, and many more.

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From the moment I reached Dublin airport to attend the One Young World Summit, the second largest gathering of nations on Earth with over 1400 delegates from every country in the world, I felt a warm welcome from the 'One Young World' banners displayed in the airport and all across the streets.

It was such a great experience to see like-minded people determined to make a difference in the world. Not just students, but employees of leading corporate firms, NGOs, young politicians, all under one roof being inspired by each other and by the world leaders who acted as our councillors.

As the flag bearer of Sri Lanka, it was fascinating moment to step on to the stage and walk with pride along with the countries. It felt like it was the whole world under one roof collaborating and cooperating in harmony. A question struck me: why can't we all live in peace like this?

I was highly motivated and empowered by engaging and listening to the stories of two girls from Cuba and North Korea and the struggle they faced to escape their own countries in search of democracy. It was interesting how at the same time, I met an employee of Coco Cola stating how they have conquered, and operate in, every country in the world except Cuba and North Korea.
I was also blown away by meeting such successful young entrepreneurs with great achievements who did not pursue further education, proving that anything is possible and that you do not need to go through the traditional route to make a difference in the world and be successful.

Below are some quotes from inspiring people I met:

'I wish the gun was a pen and the bullet was a pencil', Delegate from the DRC at the Peace and Conflict session.

'Diversity is a pre-condition for companies'. This was said by the most successful entrepreneurs’ session.

'Think of you as a job creator, not as a job seeker. Having job is old fashion, create things that solve problems and become job creators'. Professor Yunus.

'Don't accept the way the world is, you change it '. Professor Yunus.

I was involved with the Q&A sessions where I was privileged enough to raise a question to the Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus about the challenges and the critics of microfinance. I was also fortunate to interact with the Founder of Wikipedia and asked him a question on what they are doing to improve the validity and reliability of their content. During the Internal breakout session, I had the opportunity to present to the audience the case study which we discussed as a group on increasing the Mushroom farming. I presented ours ideas on the marketing strategies, distribution and finance. As part of the external breakout session, we were taken to the Google Head office in Dublin, where there was a talk about what technology can do for the problems facing global society.

I was simply blown away by all of the talent, courage, and drive I saw in Dublin! So happy to have met and connected with so many amazing people. OYW has indeed transformed me to be more socially responsible and demand change NOW NOT TOMORROW!

I am now a proud One Young World Ambassador.

Nipuni Perera

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'Bricking it'

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I get a lot of spam e-mail in my university account. Each day, I delete maybe ten to fifteen different mails encouraging me to buy tickets to a nightclub I don’t want to go to or opportunities to attend a society I have no interest in. I can be merciless in my e-mail deletion. I am thankful that I did not make this mistake when the university marketing department sent out e-mails inviting applications to attend the One Young World summit on behalf of the faculty.

The OYW summit is marketed as the ‘pre-eminent global forum for young leaders aged 18-30.’ It plays host to some pretty reputable international luminaries, such as Kofi Annan, Richard Branson and a smörgåsbord of former heads of state. Their purpose is to catalyse and guide discussion and idea exchange between the 1200+ socially minded ‘young leaders’ in attendance, whilst providing a necessary air of gravity and significance.

Finding time in his schedule to hang out with us kids.

Finding time in his schedule to hang out with us kids

To be sent by the university is a great privilege and exciting beyond words. It means that I have the opportunity to meet and build relationships with amazing young people around the world who sincerely believe that we can live in a markedly better society than we do now, and who are acting to that effect.

This is also an opportunity to speak. I am delighted to have the honour of being chosen to give a speech answering the question, ‘How can young people drive the peace and reconciliation process?’ I would be lying if I said that the thought of addressing over 1000 accomplished individuals wasn’t slightly nerve-wracking. Honestly, I’m bricking it (as we would say at home.) But I’m also thrilled, as I will get to represent the amazing work being done by The Corrymeela Community, an organisation for whom I volunteered over the summer. The work being done there needs and deserves all the exposure it can get.

Overall, this has bolstered my conviction that deciding to go to Bath was one of the best decisions I have ever made. In this day and age, with increasing discussions of graduate unemployment and such, there is a pressure for universities to justify their broader role in society, especially when it comes to ‘humanities’ degrees like politics. Universities have such an important role to play. They cannot simply provide qualifications for employment. They must provide their students with the chance to develop their skills and capacity for creating meaningful social change. Having been given this opportunity, I feel Bath is definitely taking the right steps in this direction.