So here it is... Student Conference
So here it is Merry Christmas everybody’s having fun… Whoops wrong event. I meant Student Conference. Anyway, it’s the same sentiment. I love it (Student Conference that is, not the Noddy Holder song from 1973 – although it does have its merits).
Later today, Student Conference – the annual gathering of Amnesty student activists – kicks off here at the Human Rights Action Centre. Over 200 students from across the UK will descend on our headquarters for a weekend of talks, workshops and fun.
First up is a session called Exposing the truth? The Media’s role in the Middle East and North Africa chaired by yours truly. On the panel is in my view one of the most emotive speakers I’ve ever met – Paul Conroy. Paul, for those who don’t know, is an acclaimed war photographer for The Sunday Times and was at Marie Colvin’s side when she was killed in Syria. Marie was the recipient of an Amnesty media award earlier this year. Paul’s tales could fill a library, and my hardest job will be to contain him to one hour.
Over the rest of the weekend, there will be sessions on Zimbabwe, Afghan women, India, the plight of gypsies and forced eviction, and finally the arms trade treaty. It is a chance for students to come face to face with the people who are on the cutting edge of human rights and get a real flavour of what Amnesty is truly about.
In between there will also be the screening of the film Call Me Kuchu, which follows the life of David Kato, a Lesiban, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender campaigner in Uganda who was tragically killed during the making of the film.
It’s a top agenda and a lot of credit has to go to Amnesty’s education team and Hannah Shaw in particular for putting it together.
Hopefully it will leave a fresh generation of students inspired to make a difference. And of course if you are attending yourself you can always pick up a pen or a microphone during the weekend’s activities and report on it for your student media and then enter our Student Human Rights Reporter award.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.