Students plan formation of branch of United Nations Association

Dr Nazia Khanum at Beds Uni.
Dr Nazia Khanum at Beds Uni.

University of Bedfordshire’s Students’ Union (Beds SU) is to begin the creation of a student branch of the United Nations Association.

Beds SU is to contact students who have expressed an interest in the venture, with a number already coming forward.

Beds SU’s Vice-President Community, Francesca Davies, said: “It is really great that we have students who are already interested in setting up this society. We really hope lots of students will get involved to increase its impact and raise awareness of the surrounding issues.”

Beds SU Chief Executive Officer Michele Flynn added: “A student UNA would be a very worthwhile addition to the Beds SU and the University as a whole. We, at the SU, are proud of the University’s internationalism and cultural awareness of our students.

“Beds SU is very keen to work alongside the University and its strong global outlook and is already involved in a number of related projects.”

The student UNA will work in tandem with UNA-Luton, which was set up in conjunction with the University.

Head of UNA-Luton, Dr Nazia Khanum OBE, outlined why Bedfordshire is the right university to kick-start the venture.

“As Chair of UNA-Luton, I would like to see a student branch at the University of Bedfordshire, which is such a thriving international institution reflecting super-diverse Luton and the world beyond.

“A university branch will challenge young people to engage with key global issues, such as climate change, eradication of poverty and disease and the promotion of peace and human rights, so that they can work towards achieving a safer, fairer and more sustainable world.”

Bedfordshire students have already approached Dr Khanum about the initiative, around 50 of which are already running across UK universities.

The proposal was put forward by Dr Khanum, who holds an honorary doctorate from Bedfordshire, in an event at the University recently.

The evening, a celebration of United Nations Day, featured a keynote speech from the Chairman of the UN Association in the UK, Sir Jeremy Greenstock. Luton MPs Gavin Shuker and Kelvin Hopkins also spoke at the event.

The UNA-UK announced a new manifesto earlier this year, outlining ten key responsibilities for UK foreign policy. UNA-Luton was the first branch to receive the manifesto.