11 / 09 / 17
3FF, the Three Faiths Forum, has welcomed forty-five undergraduate and postgraduate students from different faith and non-religious backgrounds to be mentored by MPs, whilst creating social initiatives that will make a difference to communities. The students will also work with not-for-profit groups and receive expert-led skills training.
3FF’s ParliaMentors programme is now in its eleventh year, and is warmly welcomed and supported by MPs of all parties and non-profit organisations. Participating students work in mixed-faith teams to come up with social initiatives that make a real difference to the cities they are studying in; these range from plans to better integrate migrant communities, to mentoring for mental well-being, and ideas to tackle shortages in housing.
ParliaMentors has won a UN Award for Intercultural Innovation. Over 400 students have taken part in the scheme over the last ten years and many remain involved to support the new intake. To date, 70 MPs have committed their mentoring support; advocates past and present include Iain Duncan Smith, Keir Starmer, Dominic Grieve, Jess Philipps and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
This year, students from Queen Mary University of London, the School of African and Oriental Studies, the University of Manchester, the University of Salford, the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University and Coventry University will participate.
Each team of students is supported by their own MP mentor and take part in training sessions, including ones on teamwork, public speaking and leadership.
Commenting at the start of this year’s programme, Ben Shapiro, ParliaMentors Programmes Officer at 3FF said:
“This is such a great opportunity to get a taste for social change at a grass roots level, and to explore what it means to be a political or community leader. We are very pleased to be supporting these emerging young leaders with the skills to approach societal challenges from a positive standpoint that that includes people of different faiths and non-religious perspectives. The recent general election dispelled the myth that young people are disinterested in politics, with the highest number of young people voting in 25 years, and we’re looking forward to seeing what big ideas this year’s group come up with.”
The ParliaMentors programme has been commended for its ability to provide a space to address challenges faced by communities, and help train new leaders with the strategies and networks to better navigate a diverse and multi-cultural society.
ParliaMentors is supported by Pears Foundation, the Dulverton Trust and British Council Active Citizens.
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Notes for Editors
3FF, the Three Faiths Forum, works to build good relations between people of different faiths, beliefs and identities for nearly twenty years. 3FF creates safe spaces in schools, universities, places of work and worship and the wider community where people can engage with questions of belief and identity and meet people different from themselves.
ParliaMentors equips the next generation of leaders with the skills, experience and networks they need to advance their careers. Students from different backgrounds work together to create social action projects with support from leading NGOs and are mentored by MPs and Peers. The programme has won the UN Award for Intercultural Innovation, and is a partner of the British Council’s Active Citizens programme. ParliaMentors is supported by Pears Foundation, the Dulverton Trust and the British Council.
2017 ParliaMentors explain why they chose to take part:
Gunan, a Christian PhD student at the University of Manchester: “The world is becoming more and more global so I want to influence other people to be more brave and have the courage to interact with people from different faiths, to understand them, have a conversation with them or even work together through the programme.”
Akshita, a Hindu student at Coventry University: “In Coventry we have a huge problem of lack of integration between different groups in the community – university students, migrants, refugees, people from minority backgrounds. With my project, I’m hoping to create cohesion between the groups and possibly find a way to get them to interact with each other socially.”
Bashir, a Muslim student at Coventry University: “At university, I’ve been quite active but I never had the opportunity to work with people from diverse backgrounds. Programmes like these can really open people’s minds and bring them together, giving them the chance to discuss their beliefs and faiths, and provide solutions to problems.”