You are here: UNA Luton Branch celebrates UN Day 2014

UNA-Luton in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire marked United Nations Day in Luton in two parts.  Part 1 was a flag-raising ceremony at the University of Bedfordshire on 24 October, attended by the Mayor of Luton, Councillor Farooq Ahmed, Dr Nazia Khanum OBE, Chair of UNA-Luton and Trevor Evans, Chair of UNA-Harpenden and others.Part 2 was a talk by Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Chairman of UNA-UK, at the University’s Postgraduate Centre on 31 October. It was attended by about 120 guests from Luton and beyond.The programme started with a UN Peace Prayer by Sister Marie from Luton Council of Faiths.  Bill Rammell, Vice-Chancellor of the University, welcomed everyone, speaking about the international dimensions of the University of Bedfordshire and the importance of education, peace and cooperation.Dr Nazia Khanum shared the story of when and how UNA-Luton was set up with its first AGM in 2009 and the official launch in 2010. Luton is a super diverse town whose international population is affected by incidents happening thousands of miles away, while what happens in Luton can have an impact on people in other countries. Local challenges often depend on global solutions.Sir Jeremy used the UNA-Luton platform to launch the UNA-UK’s 10-point foreign policy manifesto, A force for good. He stressed the 10th point - to enhance the UN’s effectiveness by improving the transparency of its leadership selection. His interesting and erudite speech on ‘Is the UN Working?’ was informed by his experience and insights into geo-politics. He emphasised that the UN is a collection of governments and governmental organisations. As important as it is to have a space for deliberating on the issues confronting our world, what eventually matters is to think globally but act locally. We must remember our identity as global citizens.Gavin Shuker, MP for Luton South, spoke about his experience as Shadow Minister for International Development. He, Sir Jeremy and Kelvin Hopkins, MP for Luton North, formed a Panel to respond to questions during a lively Q & A session. The issues included;- the plight of people in Kashmir;- the emergence of ISIS in Syria and its possible aftermath;- issues relating to Palestine;- growing tensions in the far east between Japan, North Korea  and China;- the lack of trust in the political machinery and organisations like UN, to make positive changes nationally or globally.Some University students were keen to see a students’ branch of the UNA in the University. Dr Khanum said she would do her best to see this happen and also made an appeal to the guests to consider joining UNA-Luton. While concluding the meeting, Trevor Evans hoped that this would become an annual event at the University. David Jonathan from Luton Council of Faiths and Grassroots presented the event.The University has put a brief report on their website along with a video of the whole event: