John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, praised the 45 young leaders graduating from 3FF’s Undergraduate ParliaMentors programme.

sidebar_144Speaking at the graduation ceremony held in June at the House of Commons, Mr Bercow said: “One of the things that attracts me about the Three Faiths Forum as an institution and the Undergraduate ParliaMentors scheme is that it draws upon the energies and seeks to engage the curiosity and talents of young people.” He added: “I very strongly believe that the work of the Three Faiths Forum and of this programme should be robustly supported.”

The send-off was a celebration of the students’ achievements on the programme. Over the year they have demonstrated their ability to create change by working in mixed-faith trios on their own social action and political empowerment projects, addressing issues such as human trafficking, educational poverty and HIV awareness.

sidebar_146The groups were also mentored by MPs and Peers. The politicians offered not only personal advice to students, but gave them the rare opportunity to attend parliamentary events, such as Prime Minister’s Questions. Mentors from the programme, including Iain Duncan Smith, John Leech and Margaret Hodge, were present at the graduation ceremony. A dinner for graduates and programme alumni at Clifford Chance law firm concluded the event.

One of this year’s graduates, Jewish UCL student Talia Chain said of her experience: “The other two members of my trio turned out to be inspirational people and religion, which sometimes seems like a divisive force, united us in a common goal.”

Muslim Manchester University student Muna Abbas reflected: “The programme gave me access to exclusive events and the opportunity to see politics first hand. Shadowing an MP not only gave me a valuable insight into the workings of Parliament, it also played an important part in identifying which career route I would like to follow in the future.” She added: “Young people are taking the steps to create the links between religions that many thought could never exist.”