First UNICEF symposium is not set to be a sell out

Photo credit: Wikicommons

Only 100 tickets were sold last week outside of the library for the UNICEF symposium, but sales will continue this week, organisers have said.

Their original fundraising target of £1000 has been met, however, and the committee told The Saint: “We are looking forward to announcing our final fundraising figure after our event. “We’re all extremely fortunate to be here in one of the best universities in the world, however we sometimes fear that the majority of the student body is too apathetic regarding those in less fortunate circumstances. It is easy to forget how fortunate we are.”

UNICEF On Campus St Andrews will host their inaugural humanitarian symposium entitled Childhood In Conflict this weekend, from 6 to 8 March. The symposium will include a variety of events, including speeches, round table discussions and an art exhibition.

The UNICEF committee told The Saint: “The wide range of events means that everyone can get involved. People may not want to sit through a talk but would be happy to go to an art exhibition. We are trying to engage with all members of the community.”

Speakers for the event include Tobias Jung, Alasdair Gordon and Blaine Bookey, an Adjunct Professor at UC Hastings and CoChair of the Board of Directors for the international women’s rights organisation MADRE. Work by Kate Holt, a photojournalist based in East Africa, will also be on show.

Emmanuel Ja will give the keynote speech. For five years, Emmanuel Ja fought as a child soldier in the Sudan. An aid worker rescued him and he has become an international hip-hop star and an activist for children in war zones. He will be talking about his experiences as well as giving a performance at the symposium.

Despite this line up and although ticket prices range from as low as £3, there does not seem to be a great deal of interest from the St Andrews student body. The UNICEF on campus committee told The Saint:” The symposium is a chance for students to learn from first-hand experiences and to collaborate with humanitarian leaders from around the world. Tickets start at £3, cheaper than some coffees. We hope as many students
as possible will take advantage of this opportunity.”

Ticket prices have been kept low thanks to sponsorship from Dover Cooperation and the Union. The president of UNICEF on campus said: “We are widening access through cheaper tickets.”

This symposium is actually a transition phase. As of next year the UN would like to implement a humanitarian symposium at the University; this 2015 symposium is gathering interest for the ones to follow.

After the symposium there will be an after-party in order to help raise more money. The UNICEF committee explained that this was “in order to be inclusive and to make sure that everyone can take part in something.”

Additionally, the UNICEF committee told The Saint: “The symposium is also fortunate to have received incredibly generous funding from our sponsors and the Students’ Association. This means that there is no over-head to cover. Indeed, one hundred percent of the ticket price goes directly to UNICEF UK. We have already surpassed our fundraising target for the event and look forward to announcing final figures after this inaugural event.”


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