Student Journeys

Developing Critical Thinking and Communication

On the 12th and 13th of May, I had a fantastic opportunity to attend two conferences – ‘Towards an Anti-Racist University Conference’ and ‘DEN International Conference’. I listened to interesting speakers, meaningful talks, and wonderful people who were happy to share their thoughts and provided important suggestions.

The – ‘Towards an Anti-Racist University Conference’ included speakers from different universities, academics, and professionals, who shared their opinion on the decolonization of education in the UK and worldwide. So many important ideas were mentioned there, like “education is still a privilege, which is seen on the visualization of academic staff’s demographics” and “racism crackles like electricity”. In general, I enjoyed the variety of speakers and topics for discussion that were raised there, as it is significant to put a light on the problems with such importance.
The ‘DEN International Conference’ was the day after. I chaired a meeting, and I presented a paper. I had an opportunity to speak on the question – “To what extent has global security been privatized?” The panel where I presented my paper was “International security in contemporary international relations.” Apart from me, three other students delivered their papers.
It was interesting to listen to my colleagues, as well as to take part in the discussions after each of the presentations. All the presentations were engaging, and I gained a lot of new knowledge, as every participant had a different perspective on different topics of a global matter.

There were presenters from all over the world, including students from Vietnam, the US, Russia, and Peru. Also, some speakers are working in global corporations, which made their papers interesting. They provided us with useful insight from their workplace, listened to their experience, and received advice that I could potentially use in the future to achieve my career goals.
I also had a chance to chair a meeting on the topic of “A frail balance: contemporary shifts in power polarity and democracy”. It was a significant part of the conference, presented by three speakers – all University of Westminster students studying in the School of Social Sciences. There were many questions from the audience at the end of the presentations. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to listen to all of them. However, attendees had an excellent opportunity to ask whatever they wanted during the coffee breaks.
In conclusion, I enjoyed the whole experience and would also love to attend these conferences next year. I would also recommend attending such conferences to other students, as it would help you gain new skills and knowledge. One of the most important skills I have developed is critical thinking and communication skills because presenting in front of a diverse audience helps you to boost confidence and public speaking.

Alexandra Bukhareva, Politics and International Relations.

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