45 university students of different faiths and beliefs from across the UK graduated from Undergraduate ParliaMentors – 3FF's UN award-winning leadership development programme – at the House of Commons on Tuesday 14th June. They join a growing network of aspiring leaders committed to bringing about social change and improving relations between their communities.
John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, addressed the graduates at the ceremony: “One of the things that attract 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. ... I very strongly believe that the work of the Three Faiths Forum and of this programme should be robustly supported. I’m full of admiration for the talent of the people who set it up and for the commitment of those who are graduating from it.”
Students on the UP programme – winner of the UN Award for Intercultural Innovation – have been mentored by MPs and Peers, getting an insider’s look into politics by attending debates and committee meetings and networking with policymakers at exclusive events in Parliament. They have demonstrated their ability to create change by working in mixed-faith trios to develop their own social action and political empowerment projects, addressing issues such as human trafficking, educational poverty and HIV awareness.
UP tackles the need for better relations between people of different faiths and beliefs on campus, while at the same time creating a diverse network of upcoming leaders working together to address political and social issues. The initiative was established in 2007 and has so far trained more than 150 undergraduates, many of whom have gone on to work in politics and the media.