‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’
~ Mahatma Gandhi
This week, Coventry University’s first team of ParliaMentors graduated from the 3FF programme at a ceremony in Portcullis House (Westminster) in what was deemed as the formal end to the impressive contribution the team have made in regards to improving the intercultural dialogue between students and the local community in Coventry.
Since 2007 over 300 students from a diverse range of backgrounds (including Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, Daoist, Hindu, Humanist, and Sikh) have taken part in the ParliaMentors programme, along with over 60 parliamentarians as Mentors.
On this UN Award winning leadership programme, teams of university students of different faiths and non-religious beliefs collaborate to create real social change while being mentored by a local MP. Through expert-led training, support from local and national NGOs and opening up access to Westminster, ParliaMentors gives students the networks and skills they need to affect real change in their communities, in their careers and in the political arena.
The Coventry team were tasked to create a social action project based on the needs of the local community. After much deliberation and planning – followed by a pitch night at Coventry City Council in which their idea was probed in a Dragon’s Den-like format by local community leaders and representatives – the team decided to create a ‘Student Culture Guide’.
The aim of the guide is to improve the intercultural dialogue between home (UK/EU) and international students on campus and between students and the local community. The team agreed that more work needs to be done during the University induction process in order to enhance the intercultural student experience and to harness and embrace the diversity that is evident among staff and students at Coventry University. Moreover, the guide will be published in collaboration with local faith and community groups in order to strengthen links between the university and the community.
There is no doubt that the founding team have left a strong legacy for the next team to build upon and will henceforth continue their journey as Alumni; joining the growing network of those who have gone on to work for the Home Office, the BBC, think-tanks, charities, interfaith organisations, MPs and the Civil Service. Well done Team Coventry 2016!
For more details about the ParliaMentors programme and 3FF, please visit: http://www.3ff.org.uk/parliamentors/details.php
~ By D. Osuide