We got lots of fantastic events this term! Would be great to see you there.
Check out our Michaelmas term card!
This term Cambridge University Amnesty International Society is focusing on the BRAVE campaign. This campaign supports human rights defenders who face harassment, imprisonment and even death for standing up for human rights. Throughout the term we’ll be finding out more about the BRAVE campaign, learning about the most effective ways to campaign and creating our own campaign.
There will be a meeting every week 5-6PM on Sunday and we have a fantastic speakers’ event Protest and Privilege. There will also be lots of opportunities to socialise with a bar quiz and our termly open mic night known as Jamnesty.
Check our our Easter term card for this year!
Syria Relief is a charity providing emergency medical care, food aid and education for those 7.6 million internally displaced by the conflict, thus helping to reduce the mass migration from Syria. Overall, we raised 125.55 pounds.
Every day, we would post a statistic about the refugee crisis, which the UN has determined is the largest since WWII, followed by a link to our fundraising page. These statistics were contributed each by a different member of the university-wide group, and the donations by both members and supporters of the cause. The participation from the entire university, as well as the awareness-raising from those who follow us on social media world-wide, is part of what makes Amnesty an effective organization-by encouraging participation, and through education, we are able to influence opinion and bring light to the issues featured.
The campaign culminated in a candlelight vigil, where members of Amnesty got together and led a procession around Cambridge town center, a visible demonstration of solidarity making use of the well-known Amnesty candle logo. The procession ended at Clare College Chapel, where we were met by musicians and hot drinks. Each participant was invited to read out a statistic to be put in a video (forthcoming) of the entire campaign, a lasting product to commemorate CUAI’s efforts, but more importantly, a permanent artifact to raise awareness of the refugee crisis.
One in five people in Lebanon are refugees.
2 million asylum applications were processed worldwide this year, with Germany receiving the most applications.
Yusra Mardini is a Syrian refugee who swam for 3 hours to push a sinking boat to safety, saving innocent lives. This summer, she competed as a swimmer at the Rio Olympics!
Newnham had a film night at 7pm in the JCR watching Casablanca. This was in line with our awareness raising campaign this term for refugees as the film is centred around the plight of refugees in ww2. Many of the actors in the film were refugees at the time. Eleanor Turnbull, college rep for Newnham, made a brief speech about the film and it’s relevance to amnesty’s campaign, and said where funds raised would be going. We watched the film and people made voluntary donations. At Emma they organised a pub quiz in Emma bar and raised £43. They organised it with the Emma Access Officer during the CUSU shadowing scheme so the shadows got to play for free and see how relaxed/approachable Emma is. Everyone else paid £1 each to participate. The quiz was a mix of Human Rights rounds and more fun rounds like a picture round, a music round, etc.. The general feedback was that everyone really enjoyed themselves and people stuck around for a drink afterwards so it was generally very chilled out. In total the reps have raised £53.01 this term for our chosen charities!
Contributor: Octavia Akoulitchev
I was lucky enough to attend the second day of the 2016 Amnesty Student Conference, which took place at the Human Rights Action Centre, in Shoreditch. Despite the searing rain and cold without, the atmosphere inside was electric. Student groups had gathered from across the country, not only to network, but to discuss the most pressing human rights issues and the best ways of tackling them. There were boards along the walls where you could write what you felt strongly about, but before I had time to write much the first part of the day was announced: ‘good news session’. This was an opportunity for the groups to share some of their greatest successes over the past year, and by the end of the session everyone was more enthusiastic than ever. Afterwards there was a plenary (‘creating rights-respecting communities’) led by the Human Rights Education Team, and then a choice of workshop (I went to the ‘Creative Campaigning workshop’) led by the renowned Dan Jones. The rest of the morning was filled with more networking, STAN elections, and activities.
I found the plenary on human rights in the UK the most inspiring event: Laura Trevelyan spoke brilliantly about Amnesty’s most major key projects of the moment, giving insider knowledge about the Against Hate and Human Rights Act Campaign. She was acerbic and precise: she gave a lot of advice on how best to argue for the two campaigns with respect to their most disputed elements, as well as how to deal with ebullient aggressors in a more general sense. She didn’t spout clichéd abstractions that we’ve all heard a hundred times before – she was pertinent. I came away with a much more concrete understanding not only of the Against Hate and Human Rights Act Campaign, but also how to deal constructively with people against those acts. The day ended with the STAN elections, and I left exhausted but very, very hopeful: the students, speakers, and campaigners there had showed me that all our writing letters, calling MPs, and going on marches, is working.
The term ‘networking’, in Cambridge, immediately conjures up mental images of milling around in business-wear eating canapes and swigging prosecco, provided by some huge multinational in return for that last remaining bit of your soul once you graduate. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
At CUAI’s NGO Networking event on the evening of the 17th of November, representatives from many Cambridge-based charities and campaign groups gathered to exchange contact details, discuss campaigning methods and plan future collaborations. The turnout was impressive, and a wide range of organisations were represented, from both Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin Universities and also the local area. Discussion focussed on what the best methods of encouraging active participation from broadly sympathetic bystanders might be, with demands on the time of busy students often a problem that limits the person-power of student activist groups. Overall, great connections were made and it is hopefully an event that will be repeated in the future.
Contributor Alfie Denness