Students speak at the United Nations

Students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have presented at the United Nations in New York as part of a global campaign to help refugees.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard led a special chat series event which featured DMU students Hamdallat Abdulsalam and George Coyle as panellists.

Chat series 4

The Tuesday Chat Series is a monthly initiative undertaken by the NGO Relations office in the United Nations Department of Public Information. This event focused on developing a positive attitude to migration through the work of the United Nations’ Together campaign.

DMU has been asked by the UN to take a lead in engaging universities across the world with the campaign to find ways of successfully integrating refugees into communities, while spreading messages of tolerance and understanding. Eleven universities from around the world have already signed up as partner institutions.

17 DMU students attended the event along with dozens of other delegates from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to discuss how the power of social media can be utilised to grow UN Together and strengthen the message of tolerance towards refugees.

Hamdallat and George shared their motivations for getting involved in the campaign and outlined the work already being done by DMU to assist refugees.

Topics raised by the audience included the best ways to amplify the impact of UN Together and how to connect best the great untapped potential of young people around the world.

There was also an address by Hawa Diallo from the United Nations Department for Public Information who emphasised the importance of challenging negative stereotypes and narratives about refugees.

Chat series 5

Advertising and Public Relations Management student Hamdallat has worked as a DMU intern on the UN Together campaign and enjoyed the opportunity to discuss an issue she is so passionate about, in such an important setting.

She said: “It was really great talking about what the Together campaign is and what De Montfort University is trying to do as a collective in terms of using social media to bring awareness to the migrant crisis.

“At first it was really nerve-wracking but when the questions started it was really interesting to hear other people’s opinions on what they were doing and answer the questions to us about what we’re doing to help with the migrant crisis.”

DMU students help refugees in New York
Students to lead UN event in New York
DMU launches involvement in UN's Together campaign in New York

Professor Shellard, who hosted the session, said: “It was a massive event in the sense that we had very senior UN officials in the audience and a tremendous response to the practical solutions that our students were proposing.

“We were able to outline a timeline all the way up until June whereby we are looking to treble the number of universities we’re working with from 10 to 30. I think there’s a sense that we’re able to bring some real leverage to this initiative.

“There’s no doubt that the UN is excited about partnering with DMU and of course we’re very honoured to be in that position.”

This event followed a summit led by DMU which took place at the UN headquarters in January, where hundreds of DMU students debated how universities can do more to assist refugees and migrants.

This week the group of students in New York took part in a packed itinerary through #DMUglobal which included volunteering at a shelter for refugees and conducting mock interviews with migrants at a refugee resettlement.
Posted on Tuesday 27th February 2018

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