Unicef Symposium: 2016

‘Education, Education, Education’ famously declared ex British Prime Minister, Tony Blair – unknowingly divining the theme for this year’s renown UNICEF Symposium, taking place this weekend. Unicef - in case you have forgotten - stands for the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the proceeds from the symposium will be donated to UNICEF UK. Hosted by Unicef St Andrews, the event consists of a number of interesting and insightful talks, woven together with education as a common theme. Indeed, the principle aim is to increase awareness of the difficult circumstances that children are confronted with around the world.

Education is (supposedly) the heart of why we have all gathered in this quaint little town; it is the unifying thread amongst students from diverse social, geographical, and cultural backgrounds. The theme thus proves relevant to the entire student body, to find out more, here is a link to the Saturday speakers. Topics (and speakers) match the St Andrews’ diversity – including educational development in the UK, the difficulties of education within the Calais refugee camp, and a discussion of the education of women and girls under the Taliban.

This last topic is addressed in the keynote speech, ‘Educating Children in a Conflict Zone’ by Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, the founder of the Afghan Institute for Learning. Click here for the Facebook event!

Dr Yacoobi

The lecture draws on Dr Yacoobi’s personal experiences in refugee camps in Afghanistan, and the education crisis that she encountered within. It will cover both the challenges faced, as well as the successes in establishing community based schools in refugee camps by ascertaining the support of both parents and the local community. The complexity involved in this endeavor, particularly under the influence of the Taliban, is also discussed, along with the creation of 80 underground home school for girls, dispersed throughout Afghanistan in conjunction with Dr Yacoobi’s charity, the Afghan Institute for Learning. Finally, Dr. Yacoobi will consider the areas for change currently required in the education system, and stress the vital need to train teachers in both interactive pedagogy and critical thinking skills. 

So for anyone interested in education, children, or just need a bit of general inspiration, get your hands on some tickets! Click through the link for the fixr page of each event:

Friday March 4thKeynote - Sakena Yacoobi – Educating Children in a Conflict Zone

Saturday March 5thDay PassTalk 1 - Mary Jones – Children of the Jungle – living in an educational wildernessTalk 2 - Sakena Yacoobi – Q & A session

Talk 3 - Yossi Mekelburg – Children’s education: the silent victim of warsTalk 4 - Teach First – A Tale of Two Cities: educational disadvantage in the UK and how to overcome itTalk 5 - SOS Africa – Empowerment through Education

Or, if you can’t deal with technology, or are more of a people person, find the team outside the Union from 11-5 on Wednesday.