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Malia’s Diary: To Paris and back!

Thursday 13-04-2017 - 10:45

This week I’ve travelled to Lancaster to present the UCLan Student's Union Awards, been inspiring black leaders at the first ever NUS Wales Black Leaders Conference in Swansea, back down to London for the TUC Workers Conference, over to Paris to encourage youth activism in Europe - and all in the space of a week (#NUSPresidentsLife!)

 

I was pleased to attend the University College Lancaster Student's Union Awards, to celebrate the importance of volunteering and the amazing impact volunteers have in improving the student experience. Congratulations to all of the winners, and thank you for inviting me!

 

Inspiring Black leaders 

Last Friday I travelled to the Southwest of Great Britain, for the first ever NUS Wales Black Leaders Conference. The event, hosted by Swansea University Union, explored the underrepresentation of black students within the student movement in Wales, and how to make this more inclusive. Alongside having the honour of being the keynote of the day, I took part in a panel discussion alongside Akosua Darko (NUS Wales Black Students' Officer), Robiu Salisu (Swansea SU Education Officer), Mo Hanafy (Cardiff SU Education Officer) and Danny Nasr (Goldsmith SU President). Catch up on the conversation via #WalesBlackLeaders.

On Saturday I was pleased to be invited to the TUC Black Workers’ Conference, themed around mobilising black workers and communities. The need to organise in the face of an increasingly difficult political landscape was recognised and debated. I spoke about the need to build a national framework that unites various groups together & challenge injustice.

Also thanks to the wonderful world of Skype I was able to speak at NUS Scotland's Black Students' Conference to discuss our priority campaign, Liber8 Education and how we've put liberation at the centre of our work. 

 

Encouraging youth activism in Europe

Next up on the agenda, France! On Monday I went to Paris, home of the Louvre and Eiffel Tower. Although I didn’t fit in any sightseeing, I did get to opportunity to speak at UNEF's national conference. The conference centred on “Youth activism for a Europe of Education”. 

It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak on organising across Europe for a publicly funded education. I shared experiences and perspectives on fighting austerity, xenophobia, and the political crisis across the continent. I also discussed our work on Brexit from maintaining links to research, placements and employment, to our demands around ERASMUS and the rights of EU students and staff. Thank you to Lilâ Le Bas for inviting me!

The leader of the SU in Niger also attended the event and drew attention to the education crisis in Niger. Students’ have not received their scholarship money for the second semester in a row, and the government has responded to students' requests with violence and repression against their national union. All Nigerien students, in Niger or abroad, are impacted by this situation. We have released a joint statement about this crisis, which you can read here

 

Democracy in action at Disabled Students’ Conference

This week marks the start of Disabled Students’ Conference - a space where student reps can come together to discuss, debate, and pass vital motions which will direct the work of the campaign for the year ahead. I'd like to congratulate the new Disabled Students Officer, Rachel O'Brien and also NEC 2nd Place, Piers Wilkinson!

That’s all for this week, have a great spring break everyone!

In respect, peace and solidarity,

Malia Bouattia
NUS National President

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