On 5 June 2013, UNA-UK was delighted to partner again with the University of Birmingham and UNA Central Region to hold the second biennial John & Elnora Ferguson Memorial Lecture.
Created to honour the Fergusons, both of whom were respected philanthropists and humanitarians, as well as dedicated supporters of the United Nations, the lecture series aims to inspire a new generation to greater understanding of the UN and its scope.
This year's lecture was delivered by Sir John Holmes and hosted by the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University, David Eastwood. A distinguished diplomat who served as UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator from 2007 to 2010, Sir John delivered a fascinating lecture on the theme: can the UN ever really be neutral? The full transcript is included below.
Over 150 students and UNA-UK members took part in the lecture, which was followed by a dinner and rountable discussion hosted by the Vice-Chancellor. Representatives of UNA Central Region, including branches and youth branches, took part in both events.
One of these representatives was Edward Sainsbury, President of UNA Youth Birmingham. His reflections on the day are included below.