MPs and Peers are set to mentor students of different faiths and beliefs on 3FF's leadership development programme starting this month.
Senior politicians such as Iain Duncan Smith, Hazel Blears and Jo Swinson have all been mentors on 3FF’s Undergraduate ParliaMentors (UP) initiative, which will run throughout the academic year and involve 45 students from 15 universities across the UK.
Over a dozen MPs will take part in the UN award-winning programme this year, acting as mentors to university students who are keen to gain the skills, experiences and networks to become the next generation of politicians and community leaders in the UK.
Politicians have praised the initiative. Former mentor Iain Duncan Smith said: “This excellent programme brings different faiths together and gives young people the opportunity to learn how politics works, and about the interplay between politics, the civil service and government.”
UP was created by 3FF to build understanding and better relations between people of different faiths and beliefs at university, while giving undergraduates valuable leadership training. Together, the students will use their new skills to work on social action and community empowerment projects addressing local and national issues.
The programme was previously only for Muslim, Christian and Jewish students, but has this year expanded to include people of all faiths and beliefs – including non-religious beliefs.
In addition to this, 3FF’s mentoring model is expanding into Europe. 3FF has partnered with Belief in Dialogue, a British Council initiative, to give eight students from Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden and the UK the opportunity to be mentored by two MEPs. They will travel to Brussels over the course of their academic year to meet their MEP mentors and attend parliamentary committee meetings and debates.
The Undergraduate ParliaMentors students will get together for the first time at a three-day induction in North London between 12-14 September.
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Notes for editors
3FF (Three Faiths Forum) is a national organisation working to build lasting relationships between people of all faiths and beliefs. 3FF has been working for nearly 15 years to create understanding and improve relations between different communities at many different levels of society: with teachers and students, artists and professionals, political leaders in Parliament and upcoming leaders still at university.
Undergraduate ParliaMentors, winner of the UN Award for Intercultural Innovation, equips the next generation of leaders with the skills, experiences and networks they need to advance their careers. Undergraduates who aspire to be political or community leaders work with students of different faiths and beliefs to create social action and empowerment projects with support from leading NGOs. They are mentored by MPs and Peers and get to attend expert-led workshops and events. The programme presents a unique opportunity for students to attend high-level events at the Houses of Parliament and meet leaders in the fields of politics and media. Over 150 people have graduated from the programme from universities in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham and Manchester over the last four years.
About the British Council
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. We work in over 100 countries in the arts, education and English and in 2010/11 we engaged face to face with 30 million people and reached 578 million. We have 6,800 staff worldwide. Our total turnover in 2010/11 was £693 million, of which our grant-in-aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was £190 million. The remainder was generated through trading activities such as English language teaching. For every £1 of taxpayer money invested we earn £2.65 in additional income.For more information visit www.britishcouncil.org
About Belief in Dialogue
Belief in Dialogue is the British Council’s global programme of activity aimed at developing understanding between different communities on issues of diversity and culture. The programme creates opportunities for dialogue with the aim of breaking down barriers, creating trust and developing new perspectives on the key global challenges of the twenty first century.