‘Talented and inspiring’ students from across the country joined MPs in Westminster to celebrate an interfaith leadership initiative that has served over 2,000 people over the past year – and been awarded by the UN.
A graduation ceremony held at the Parliamentary Estate’s Portcullis House on Monday morning (15 June) topped off a successful year for the Three Faiths Forum’s ParliaMentors scheme – which sees students from diverse backgrounds work together in mixed-belief groups to create social action projects
The young leaders, from universities in London, Manchester, Nottingham and Birmingham, were mentored by MPs and Peers and supported by leading organisations such as the British Council as they bridged cultural divides to tackle community issues head-on – including dealing with unemployment in Salford, elderly loneliness in Camden and religious stereotyping in Manchester.
The ParliaMentors group from Queen Mary University of London hosted inclusive sports workshops for the multicultural communities of Tower Hamlets and Mile End, young leaders in Nottingham hosted a day of food and music to strengthen ties between students and the local community, and in Birmingham the group teamed up with local filmmakers and charities to highlight community work in the local area.
2015’s cohort – whose work was described as “absolutely vital” by East Ham MP Stephen Timms – are among the 300 who have graduated from the programme since 2007, a number of whom are now charity directors, MPs and local councillors.
Mr Timms said: “I am privileged to have mentored these talented and inspiring individuals on 3FF’s ParliaMentors programme. In our culturally diverse society, it is essential for people to get together and cooperate towards common goals.
“Young, emerging leaders like these play an absolutely vital role in building connections between people from different backgrounds. I have no doubt they will continue making a real difference in their communities in the future”.
Student Aziz Din added: “On this programme our achievements would’ve been impossible without cooperation and unity.”
“My experience as a ParliaMentor has been invaluable instilling in me the confidence to interact with people from different backgrounds. I feel uniquely prepared to go out and challenge the divisions we see in our communities and society”.