Student Journeys

Space to Demonstrate our Views and Interests 

This year I participated in the Fifth Democratic Education Network (DEN) Conference, titled ‘Power and Contestations in Global Worlds: Identities, Conflicts, and Developmental Challenges’. Although I took part in both organizing and presenting at the conference last year, I enjoyed the experience I had this year. As students, we must do coursework, whether an essay, a presentation, a policy briefing or a learning portfolio. In addition, we are motivated to do our best to receive high marks in coursework. When we have to present a topic in front of other colleagues that a tutor does not mark, we get the space to demonstrate our views and interests at a better level. 

           This year’s conference encompassed a range of topics, including British Politics, Identity crisis, development challenges or democracy, and liberalism. Due to this, I believe that we learn a lot more and get more space to share our views. My presentation focused on international institutions and whether they can maintain peace and security in contemporary politics. Through my presentation, I shared my opinions about a specific topic of my interest. How is that different from coursework, one may think? There were no criteria to be followed, it was not marked, and there were no restrictions to ideas and thoughts. I was free to share my views and have a discussion with the audience. The questions posed by the audience showed genuine interest in my opinions and ideas rather than discussing the literature of other scholars and analyzing it. 

           Throughout the conference, I mostly enjoyed the wide range of topics and ideas that other students discussed and how they presented them in their preferred way. I learned about different aspects of different places worldwide that may otherwise be ignored. This helped develop various skills within me, such as communication, presentation, research, collaboration, imitative and planning, and self-management. More importantly, participation in such fruitful events develops one’s confidence. Although there is freedom and space regarding the choice of topic and presentation style, it is not simple to stand up and present to an audience. This significantly develops confidence within us as students and learners, which is very useful at a graduate level. 

           Overall, being part of the Democratic Education Network has made me ready to participate in and organize such successful events. Through this, I have engaged with different people and built a network with a range of people from various fields and with different experiences. I am grateful to be part of such a diverse community and participate in such events.

Zohra Shamim, BA Politics and International Relations

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