Kate Reynolds, 3rd Year History student
This year I am taking part in the Three Faiths Forum’s Parliamentors scheme, which is a UN award-winning leadership programme. As a Parliamentor I work with a team of 5 students from Queen Mary who all have different faith and cultural backgrounds. We are working on a social action project centred in our local community, whilst being mentored by a local MP, Stephen Timms.
I applied for the programme because I was excited by the prospect of creating change in my local community and building my team work and leadership skills. I was also interested to be mentored by an MP as I have a keen interest in politics. Alongside being a Parliamentor, I am the co-chair of Queen Mary Labour Society, and a Beaver Scout Leader at my local Scout group. Parliamentors has offered me the opportunity to work with people of varying faiths and political alignments.
Parliamentors kicks off with a training residential in September, which gives you the chance to meet the other Parliamentors both from your university and from across the country. It was a massive learning opportunity as we received training in everything from public speaking, engaging with your community and an introduction to Westminster politics. The range of people and faiths represented meant that everybody could to learn from each other. But the training doesn’t stop there – the Parliamentors team offer continued training and support throughout the year.
My team decided we wanted our social action project to focus on building interfaith relations on campus at Queen Mary. We felt that there are tensions that exist between different faiths on campus, and we wanted to do a project that would address this and bring about greater interfaith dialogue. My team are in the process of planning an interfaith gardening project focused on an onsite allotment. We believe that by bringing people of different faiths together through this allotment, we can break down barriers and challenge student’s assumptions about people of different faiths.