Student Action Network Committee Elections 2023

Image of student Amnesty supporters voting at the Student Conference.

Student Action Network Committee Elections 2023

The Amnesty Student Action Network (STAN) committee are at the forefront of student activism in the UK, leading campaigns and representing thousands of Amnesty students. 

Each year, the STAN committee are elected by our student network (you!). Each Student Group is eligible to vote in this year's election.

Please note some candidates have not submitted videos or photos for personal reasons. This does not reflect on the strength of their application, so please be considerate of this when voting.

Voting will close at 9am on 30 June 2023.

If you have any issues with your vote, please email Hannah.Stokes@amnesty.org.uk. 

*If your group is not currently affiliated, please complete an online affiliation form by 30 July 2023 (1 month after voting closes).

2023 Candidates 

Irfan Ali (he/him)  

The University of Buckingham  

STAN Elections 2023 - Irfan Ali 

Roles applied for:  

  1. Socio-economic Justice Officer 
  2. Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Officer 
  3. Higher Education Outreach Officer 

Tell us a story about yourself or someone else that made you get involved with human rights and social justice. 

One story that inspired me to get involved with human rights and social justice was when I myself experienced discrimination due to my religion and race. I was subjected to religious extremism and faced racial comments that were hurtful and unacceptable. This experience made me acutely aware of the deeply entrenched systemic discrimination that exists in our society, and how important it is to work towards dismantling these structures of oppression. It motivated me to become more informed about human rights issues and to advocate for justice and equality in my community, not just for myself but for all those who face similar forms of discrimination.  

What ideas do you have to improve student involvement and campaigning at Amnesty? 

There are several ideas that could improve student involvement and campaigning at Amnesty. Firstly, creating more accessible and engaging social media campaigns that are tailored to younger audiences could help to raise awareness and encourage participation. Additionally, organizing events such as talks, workshops, and rallies could also help to bring people together and generate momentum. Another strategy could be to partner with other student organizations to amplify our message and reach a wider audience.  

What issue gets you agitated, and how would you organise your community around it? 

The issue that gets me most agitated is climate change and its devastating effects on the planet and all living beings. To organize my community around this issue, I would first focus on education and awareness-raising, emphasizing the urgency of the crisis and the need for immediate action. I would also work to build coalitions with other organizations and community groups that are dedicated to environmental sustainability and climate justice. Finally, I would advocate for policy changes at the local and national level, such as investments in renewable energy, conservation efforts, and carbon reduction targets. 


Şenay Ahmet (she/her) 

University of Warwick  

STAN Elections 2023 - Şenay Ahmet 

Roles applied for:  

  1. Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Officer 
  2. Socio-economic Justice Officer 
  3. Gender Justice Officer 

Tell us a story about yourself or someone else that made you get involved with human rights and social justice. 

Almost two decades ago, my stepfather fled torture and persecution in Iran after protesting against the Iranian regime. Despite his awful circumstances, he only recently received status. I wrote all the letters to the Home Office which his Barristers used to fight his case. I have first hand seen how difficult and biased the system is. Most importantly, I have experienced the pain that goes alongside this. My stepfathers experience led me to want to pursue Human Rights Law, and it is why I plan to dedicate the rest of my life to helping people and raise awareness for what I believe in. 

What ideas do you have to improve student involvement and campaigning at Amnesty? 

I believe if we can show just how much of a change people can make when they work together, we can successfully improve involvement. I would suggest more in person conferences, or physical campaigns; things that catch people's attention and provide the opportunity for individuals to have an active role in making a difference. I want to hear all opinions and suggestions from our student led teams and student bodies in general. It is important to encourage and support student-led initiatives as more students will want to get involved and be part of something important. Further, social media can be a very good way of improving involvement, reposts about crucial issues will help our campaigns. Online campaigns allow all amnesty members to work together. Lastly, I would encourage more training days, my exec loved them and felt incredibly empowered, I would love for more students to feel that way. 

What issue gets you agitated, and how would you organise your community around it? 

Unfortunately, there are plethora of issues which agitate me. However, if I were to choose one, I would have to say the rise of racism shown through the new Immigration Bill. This in turn links with the issue that the subjugation of minorities is ongoing in all aspects of life. Neo - colonialism pervades not only through actions across the world such as Israeli apartheid, but through ideology too and that is crystal clear in the light of regressive laws such as the Immigration Bill. Far right leaders are becoming icons of hope for the disillusioned and disheartened and so I think it is more important than ever to break down stereotypes of minorities, and highlight the dangers that some of these leaders can incur. To galvanise support I would use refugee voices to physically protest and raise awareness through online campaigns, in hopes of debunking stereotypes.  


Ash Scholz (they/them) 

University of Edinburgh  

STAN Elections 2023 - Ash Scholz 

Roles applied for:  

  1. LGBTQ+ Justice Officer 
  2. Gender Justice Officer 
  3. Student-led Campaigns Officer 

Tell us a story about yourself or someone else that made you get involved with human rights and social justice. 

My best friend came out to me as trans when we were 15. This changed nothing in our relationship but I became very aware of discrimination against trans and gender non-conforming people in institutions, even before I realised I was non-binary myself. Together, we founded a pride society in my school that aimed to create an inclusive environment for queer people. Having faced dead-naming, misgendering and other discrimination by peers and teachers myself, I am incredibly passionate about fighting for queer and trans rights. During my time at university, I have now delivered trans* awareness training to members of staff in my department, as well as advocated for a more inclusive trans* equality policy within my university. These victories make me hopeful that activism is able to accomplish changes in society, and being on STAN would allow me to gain input from other amazing activists and widen my knowledge! 

What ideas do you have to improve student involvement and campaigning at Amnesty? 

-  Cooperation: area-wide group chats for improved coordination between societies - I have found that I sometimes don't really know what other Amnesty groups in Scotland are up to! Through this, we could also work on campaigns and combine our forces for a bigger impact! 

- Participation: provide more accessible campaign materials (videos, audio sources, easy language), along with more financial support to attend conferences to ensure that everyone can participate in Amnesty activism. - create more targeted posts on social media and emails regarding different regions in the UK, like the Gender Recognition Bill in Scotland, so that student groups feel less disconnected from "big amnesty" in London. 

- Recognition: showcase the student activism that is happening around the UK more, in a specific category where groups can write a few things about their current campaigns! Student groups' activism is absolutely amazing, and we need to appreciate this more! 

What issue gets you agitated, and how would you organise your community around it? 

As a survivor of sexual violence, an issue that frustrates me is the indifference of universities when it comes to sexual violence on campus. Especially queer survivors and survivors of colour are often pushed to the sidelines in the current support systems that are available. As a group of activists at Edinburgh uni, we founded a "Survivor's Collective" that challenges the university's complicity in rape culture on campus through protests, social media campaigns and events for survivors. We want to make sure that their voices are heard and facilitate room to come together, which our uni fails to do. Currently, we are working on a "legal buddy" system, which supports survivors going through the redressal process with expertise from law students. I think that this could be widened to other unis could, where I would love to use my position in STAN to help in any way I can!  


Rebeca Álvarez (she/her)  

University of Stirling/TBC  

STAN Elections 2023 - Rebeca Álvarez 

Roles applied for:  

  1. Climate Justice and Sustainability Officer 
  2. Student-led Campaigns Officer 
  3. Chair  

Tell us a story about yourself or someone else that made you get involved with human rights and social justice. 

During my undergraduate studies in Spain, I was enrolled in the subject "Current International Affairs", where we got to talk with professionals in the field of International Relations every week. One day, we had an exiled politician from Venezuela visiting and I got to talk with him privately after class. He told me about his son, who was in prison for speaking against the Venezuelan government, and about his experience living in a country that had lost its democracy. This conversation deeply inspired me to study a master's in human rights after graduating and still inspires me to fight for social justice, human rights and for the protection of our democracy daily.  

What ideas do you have to improve student involvement and campaigning at Amnesty? 

From my experience, what prevents most students from getting involved in human rights activism is lack of knowledge or resources. We are a very passionate and empathetic generation, and everyone I know gets involved as much as they can whenever they have the chance to. Sometimes, some students aren't aware of what's happening around the world and sometimes they don't know how to help if they don't have the financial tools for it. I think working on spreading awareness and offering tangible solutions and opportunities to help would highly encourage students to get more involved. With that in mind, I think better use of social media platforms will help a lot as well.  

What issue gets you agitated, and how would you organise your community around it? 

An issue I've recently felt most agitated about is employment rights for the youth. I have found that young workers aren't taken seriously in the work space. A lot of us are underpaid, not offered a contract or forced to work for free. Even in the humanitarian field, I have found that a lot of organisations ask for years of experience which can only be reached by doing unpaid work. This affects young people with no financial resources the most, and is extremely detrimental for our generation's mental health and wellbeing. We have been made to believe there's nothing we can do to change things, but I believe that's not true. I would like to start a proper campaign on this issue and encourage students to be part of it. I would love our testimonies to be featured in a short film as part of the campaign.  


Somaya Bahoudashi (she/her) 

University of Warwick  

 

“My name is Somaya Bahoudashi. I believe I would be great on the STAN Committee as I have a huge passion for human rights and social justice. From a young age I was really interested in human rights, politics and socio-economic justice. I took part in an amnesty international virtual work experience programme which enhanced my understanding and interest of socio-economic justice and thus I choose to study Politics and International Studies.  

My course covers a range of issues such as racism, gender inequality, poverty and socio-economic deprivation which I believe provided me with valuable insight which will be useful on the Commitee.  

As an ethnic minority born and raised in the UK. I have experience and witnessed discrimination whether it's sexism, racism or Islamophobia. Facing these challenges has pushed me to be a part of a change and encouraged me to use my voice and inspire change.  

Furthermore, I am actively part of the Right to Food campaign which shows my dedication to making meaningful change in society.” 

Roles applied for:  

  1. Socio-economic Justice Officer 
  2. Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Officer 
  3. Gender Justice Officer 

Tell us a story about yourself or someone else that made you get involved with human rights and social justice. 

From a young age I have always been aware of human rights and social justice issues. Growing up the news was constantly on in our home and that fueled my interest in politics. Additionally, as a BAME second-generation immigrant, I was exposed to many social injustices. Therefore, I have always had a passion to be involved with human rights and social justice. Currently, I am studying Politics and International Studies. My degree covers human rights issues, feminism, racism, socio-economic injustices and much more. Gaining further insight into these topics has made me even more determined to get involved with human rights and social justice.  

What ideas do you have to improve student involvement and campaigning at Amnesty? 

-more opportunities to actively get involved in campaigns  

-more collaborations with student groups  

 What issue gets you agitated, and how would you organise your community around it? 

A current issue that gets me agitated, is the cost-of-living crisis. I think it is appalling that in the sixth-largest country, millions are starving, struggling to make ends meet, turning to food banks etc.  

I would organise my community to be proactive by encouraging community groups to rally together and lobby local government officials, sign petitions, protest and campaign. Additionally, I would use social media to organise my community as I believe it can be extremely useful in making noise and raising awareness. 


Salim Usman (he/him) 

Queen’s University Belfast  

 

 

“Hello everyone! I am Salim Usman, and I am currently pursuing BA in International Relations and Conflict Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast. I am an international student from India, and I will be starting my 3rd year in September. I am deeply passionate about human rights — particularly the advocacy and educational aspects, and want to make a positive impact. Drawing from my academic background as well as personal and professional experiences, I hope to immerse myself in the great work StAN does, and dedicate my time and effort in order to further the cause of human rights. As someone coming from a developing nation, and belonging to a community that has recently become a target of authoritarian excesses and human rights violations, I believe that I can bring forth valuable insights about issues that concern all students, and humans in general. I am enthusiastic about collaborating with other human rights networks from around the world, and eager to represent students from all over the UK — using my voice to advocate for meaningful and lasting change when it comes to human rights. Your vote is not only a vote for me but also a vote for and vocal StAN Committee. Together, we can make a lasting impact on human rights issues and foster a more just and inclusive society. Thank you for your consideration and support.” 

Roles applied for:  

  1. Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Officer 
  2. Socio-economic Justice Officer 
  3. Student-led Campaigns Officer 

Tell us a story about yourself or someone else that made you get involved with human rights and social justice. 

During an internship with a human rights lawyer in India, I came across an under trial who had been charged under various draconian anti-terror laws, based on their religious identity, and had experienced brutal torture at the hands of the police. There was little to no convincing evidence in the case, and the person has simply been “picked up” from his house, and made a scapegoat in a case that had nothing to do with them. I interacted with a number of cases, but the amount of brutality and complicity of the authorities in this case of human rights violation was a soul-stirring experience, and made be delve deeper into human rights advocacy and social justice movements. 

 What ideas do you have to improve student involvement and campaigning at Amnesty? 

I would like to engage with other student organisation across UK, and even beyond, and would promote Amnesty student groups to do the same at their universities. Furthermore, I feel that greater student engagement with academics and experts on issues of human rights could help student led movements by leveraging our collective power and expertise. I would also like Amnesty UK to look into cases of human rights abuses in other countries around the world, as this would be of interest to the international student community, which forms a major portion of the student population, and is extremely passionate about human rights. 

What issue gets you agitated, and how would you organise your community around it? 

The use of armed police and military to crack down on protesters, like we see in Palestine, Kashmir, and other countries is something I would like to run a campaign against. One of the first steps towards effective community engagement is to build awareness around these human rights violations. Furthermore, student groups can write petitions and letters, as well as engage in more radical forms of protest against the use of violence against protesters. These can include demonstrations outside embassies, as well as online campaigns and partnerships with local organisations. The right to peaceful protest is an essential prerequisite for democracy, and must be protected at all costs. 


Imogen Tutt (she/her)  

New College of the Humanities/Northeastern University London 

“Hi, I’m Imogen, a second-year student going into my final year at Northeastern University London (New College of the Humanities). I study Economics with Politics and International Relations. I have been interested in human rights since a young age, particularly promoting rights of young people, and in cases where there has been domestic abuse. 

I have always been angered by injustices and want to make a difference within my local community. It has been great to be on the Amnesty Executive Committee at my university for two years, and am glad to be keeping my position for my final year of university. I have been happy to be helping out at my local community kitchen, helping to tackle both hunger and homelessness, as well as food waste. 

On campus, I have been glad to help set up the period products initiatives, and organising the first clothes swaps at my university. As well as setting up my university’s first 93% Club to try to promote opportunities and improve social mobility experiences within the university. 

I currently hold the Presidency of the Feminist Society at my university, and this has allowed me to to do a lot of collaborative events with our Amnesty Society, to increase our impact as we are a very small university. 

I would love to be on StAN to help work on wider university issues, and bring these campaigns back to my university and beyond in to our community. As well as helping to set up new campaigns and targets for the network to achieve and promote across the country.” 

Roles applied for:  

  1. Higher Education Outreach Officer 
  2. Gender Justice Officer 
  3. Socio-economic Justice Officer 

Tell us a story about yourself or someone else that made you get involved with human rights and social justice. 

For me, I wanted to get involved with human rights and social justice, after I saw the effect of family courts on children and young people, and how their voices are not always heard. I wanted to promote change for the better in the system. On top of this, I grew up in an area with low progression to university and higher education, and being a first-generation university student, I wanted to help promote more equal outcomes for students across the country. At my university this has included setting up the 93% Club, helping to promote opportunities for state-school and first-generation students. I care greatly about protecting the environment, but also reducing hunger, and I believe that tackling food waste should be our first step to both helping the environment and those who are hungry. 

What ideas do you have to improve student involvement and campaigning at Amnesty? 

I want us to utilise more our local community of activists, rather than focus on our student groups. As someone from a very small university, there are only so many people we can recruit to our causes, and the issues we feel are not student halls landlords, but London landlords and London councils. The issues we have as students, our those also faced by our local community too, and I believe we should engage better to develop a community of people wanting change in our area. If the areas around student groups are also involved in an issue, we as a greater group of voices have more power in making effective changes. It also means our influence is wider in both our student areas and our community.  

What issue gets you agitated, and how would you organise your community around it? 

Lots of issues get me agitated, but I think for me the one that brings me the most anger living in London is homelessness, and food poverty. This has been aggravated by the cost of living crisis, and the fact that their is no effective help being given to those people. To organise the community, I think we should promote volunteering at community kitchens, and redistributing food waste to those in need rather than to landfill. I know that are very successful community kitchens in my area that I have volunteered at but they only provide one day a week of relief and more help is needed. 


Sydney Miller (she/her) 

University College London  

Roles applied for:  

  1. Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Officer 
  2. Student-led Campaigns Officer 
  3. Higher Education Outreach Officer 

 Tell us a story about yourself or someone else that made you get involved with human rights and social justice.  

In high school, our teachers brought us on a week-long 'service trip' to a school for underprivileged children in Thailand. The experience was so striking we felt moved to embark on a second trip to the same school two years later, as our graduation vacation. It wasn’t these trips that sparked my passion for social justice though, instead, it was the jarring realization of my indulgence in what was essentially white saviourism as I reflected upon the ethical implications of my experience years later. Studying English Literature taught me to unpack the systemic injustices that shape the worlds of both fiction and nonfiction stories, which provide lenses through which we can view the world, often anew, and identify similar patterns of oppression that we are either subjected to, complicit in, or even both, and it made me realize even the most inconspicuous aspects of daily life are steeped in inequality. 

What ideas do you have to improve student involvement and campaigning at Amnesty?  

I would send out a survey to different Amnesty societies to gauge what issues students feel most passionate about, so we can create a large-scale campaign that will engage as many Amnesty societies and students as possible. STAN can also strengthen the relationships between Amnesty societies and provide better support to them by hosting regular online meetings and brainstorming/idea-sharing sessions that any Amnesty society can attend and contribute to. STAN should also encourage and support societies to collaborate with a larger variety of clubs by making guidance packs for doing so. For instance, I could make guidance packs for collaborating with book/film clubs. These would include a list of books/films along with discussion prompts about social justice issues that are present in each book/film, which would serve as a more accessible entry point for students who are less familiar with such topics. 

What issue gets you agitated, and how would you organise your community around it?  

In addition to gender justice and freedom of expression, press, and assembly, with the influx of migrants and asylum seekers from Hong Kong to the UK in recent years, I’m also becoming increasingly interested in racism, refugee rights, migration, and how these are interrelated. A framework I’ve found to be helpful is intersectionality. The lack of awareness about how systems of oppression are interconnected in many spaces that claim to be diverse, equal, and inclusive is something that particularly agitates me. As an individual with an intersectional background, the number of times I’ve seen marginalized groups discriminate against one another is dishearteningly high. Hence, I’ll strive to incorporate intersectionality into everything I do regardless of the area of justice I’m addressing. I’m also passionate about education, so when I start my PGCE at UCL this September, I’ll also strive to integrate what I learn about education into this role. 


Jasmine Raymond-Barker (she/they) 

Bath Spa University  

STAN Elections 2023 - Jasmine Raymond-Barker 

Roles applied for:  

  1. Gender Justice Officer 
  2. LGBTQ+ Justice Officer 
  3. Climate Justice and Sustainability Officer  

Tell us a story about yourself or someone else that made you get involved with human rights and social justice. 

When I started Sixth Form 5 years ago (oh dear), I joined the Wyedean Amnesty International Student Group. We visited Amnesty HQ, organised an Open Mic Night and wrote LOADS of letters in a year.  

At Bath Spa University, my two best friends and I were inspired to do the same. Letters, charity gigs, bake sales, movie nights, demonstrations. Its my passion to learn about injustice, diversity and inclusion to shout about it. Especially, as I'm queer, with LGBTQ+ and intersectionally aligned movements (which is most/all of them!). 

The only thing was, in both groups we found less public support than we would have liked. Engagement is hard sometimes. So, in my role as Bath Spa Student Union President and hopefully as a STAN Committee Officer, I will ensure you recieve the support, advice and resources you need to have fun and make a difference in your society! :) 

What ideas do you have to improve student involvement and campaigning at Amnesty? 

I would like to collate resource packs on current issues, event ideas to improve engagement and offering help from Amnesty HQ. Our small society at BSU, which I founded in 2021, organised lots of events and fundraisers in the 2 years I was president, so I can help both new and established societies. We handled a lot of delicate topics and I understand how overwhelming it can feel, particularly with ones that may relate to you.  

My group's main campaign this year regarded the protests in Iran - abuse of power, women being stripped of their autonomy, and queer people being violently cast aside by authorities in the Islamic Republic.  

We held a fundraiser gig led by women and LGBTQ+ performers, following a crafternoon of collage by our members. Having accessible, inclusive events should be at the forefront of society activity, so I'd love to talk to you about it.  

What issue gets you agitated, and how would you organise your community around it? 

I grew up in a rural, heteronormative, white, christian community where we would rarely discuss race or sexuality. In growing up, I've thrust myself into learning about the duality of privelage and discrimination.  

Like many people, the murder of George Floyd lit a fire under me to learn about race. It led me to how Marsha P. Johnson flourished in her identity as a Black, trans woman, then to Kimberlé Crenshaw's theory of intersectionality which became the focus of my degree. Everything about a person's identity affects their lived experience, and I feel that queerness can't be discussed without Blackness. The LGBTQ+ community wouldn't have made the advancements it has without the contributions of people like William Dorsey Swann, Marsha P. Johnson, and LGBTQ+ ballroom culture which originated in Black and Latinx communities. 

I would love Amnesty to support a POC-led Drag Ball, focused on POC and queer joy. 

 


Olivia Mosshamer (she/her) 

University of Kent 

 

“I would like to get involved with the Student Action Network Committee because I am dedicated to working towards social Justice and the protection of human rights. I believe I could make a great contribution to this committee.  

I have a lot of valuable experience in similar positions that I believe would be useful if I were to be on this committee. I am president of my university’s Amnesty society and the secretary of our Human Rights Law Society. Additionally, I am the Kent Regional Ambassador for the Amnesty Right to Food Campaign. These positions have enhanced my skills of communication, delegation, and team work. I also gained experience with spreading awareness and engaging students. I have gained an understanding of the cultural cohesiveness and team work required for positions and committees like these to run efficiently.  

This experience has given me the skills that I can bring to this position. This experience along with my passion for the protection of human rights is what would make me a good candidate for this committee.”  

Roles applied for:  

  1. Gender Justice Officer 
  2. Chair 
  3. Student-led Campaigns Officer 

Tell us a story about yourself or someone else that made you get involved with human rights and social justice. 

I grew up in Chicago, a city with a reputation of poverty, violence, and corrupt politics. It is also one of the most racially segregated cities in America as well as having one of the highest crime rates.  

These things were made very apparent to me because I grew up in a relatively safe neighborhood that bordered the neighborhood of Austin, one of ‘the most dangerous in America’. Austin is also a predominantly Black area.  

Austin is also one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country. And this is no coincidence. From when Chicago was founded up until now our local government has put in measures to separate our city by race and class through urban planning, disproportionate funding of schools, and so much more. This enforces the cycle of poverty and systemic racism.  

Growing up with this going on around me is what started my passion for social justice.  

What ideas do you have to improve student involvement and campaigning at Amnesty? 

Getting the word out at universities! Communicating with students through the Amnesty student societies at each university and holding events to give students the opportunity to find out more about the organization and the campaigns we’re working on. 

Another great way to get students more engaged would be to make human rights issues and current events more accessible and digestible to them. I know a lot of students who are passionate about equality and justice but don’t always know where to start with their support or what human rights issues are going on in the world. One way we could do this is through online events/forums to discuss human rights issues and what efforts Amnesty is making to combat them. I believe that a lot more students would be actively involved in Amnesty and it’s campaigns if they knew more about and truly understood the issues we focus on.  

What issue gets you agitated, and how would you organise your community around it? 

I am particularly passionate about the horrific issue of female genital mutilation (FGM). 

This is an issue that is not often talked about in the UK even though it is a widespread issue that violates accepted human rights principles and standards.  

To organize my community around it, I would start with education. It’s an issue that not a lot of people know about or if they do, don’t fully understand the severity of.  

I think raising awareness and providing information, particularly to students, would be the best way to start properly addressing this issue.