Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Annual Forum and Anniversary Lecture with a focus on UNA Wales

On 4th December the WCIA held its Annual Forum at the Temple of Peace, Cardiff.  The aim of the afternoon was to involve members in formation of strategy to take the WCIA forward through discussion groups which proved successful.

The three discussion groups were on the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Temple of Peace, CEWC and one on involving students and those aged 18-30 in the WCIA. The main suggestions focused on involving first year university students through fresher’s fairs, societies and interactive events such as model UN. This led on to the presentation on the exciting plans of the UNA Wales gender equality and responsibility to protect interns which included many of the ideas that had been suggested in the discussion groups such as model UN and organising a debate on R2P and the Syrian Crisis for 5 February, demonstrating the effectiveness of the discussion group format. 

Subsequently, the group divided again to discuss promotion of the campaigns. The gender equality group engaged in exploring how to promote the campaign within the local community. Ideas included introducing gender equality in schools and trying to break down gender stereotypes e.g. the assumption of blue for boys and pink for girls. This idea had already been successfully addressed by the previous interns who had also created lesson plans and resources on gender equality and R2P in English and Welsh for schools to use. Other suggestions included community lectures by successful women, a pledge system on gender equality for individuals and businesses and increased support for women’s sports. This shows the value of the members’ input as many good ideas were presented which could be used in the campaigns. The final contribution concerned the promotion of international women’s day in March, which Zulfia the gender equality intern is focusing on, through the use of female role models within the communities to raise awareness for gender inequality in Wales.

The Responsibility to Protect group debated the pros and cons of R2P and discussed different ways to engage people. Ideas under discussion included setting up UNA societies within universities, using video conferencing to engage members, doing more activities to promote student action, appealing to lecturers as well as students and hosting debates on R2P within schools and universities. 

The day concluded with a lecture by Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International, giving a talk on the North African uprisings. Kate's talk provided a stimulating and at times shocking insight into the  Middle East and North Africa uprisings. Kate raised awareness of the need to hold leaders to account for their actions and cited how Amnesty have been gathering evidence in areas of conflict to do just that. 

Becky Dunn
UNA Wales Student Member and Blogger  

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