Student Journeys

Westminster Conferences: Collaborating, Organising and Delivering

As a second-year student, I was honoured to learn about the opportunity to participate in the Conference of May 12th. Thanks to that, I was able to understand what efforts must be made and the difficulties that need to be overcome in order to build an anti-racist university.

The conference was articulated via multiple panels: decolonizing university; anti-racist projects; understanding genetics to counter racial discrimination; black and minority ethnic discrimination experienced in higher education; social justice, inclusion and white privilege; how does whiteness ‘do’ racial trauma in institutions; personal experiences and open discussion.

All the aforementioned panels were extremely interesting and engaging, and they were also able to underline the fact that it is not so easy to transform and build a completely non-racist university. However, it was nice to hear that in all the universities taken into account and represented by multiple professors, racism is not condoned.

Particularly interesting in my opinion was the presentation about the role played by genetics in the understanding of racism. In fact, thanks to DNA reconstruction and historical events, the students and academics involved were able to understand the root of some racial claims of superiority used throughout history.

The many ideas and opinions shared at the conference have been fundamental for my understanding of the dynamics of racism in every little environment. I believe we will witness important changes within university dynamics in the future, nevertheless bigger changes on the wider scale – such as institutions – will be seen only when people will start acting as a collective, giving importance to others’ struggles every day.

On 13 May, on the other hand, we as students involved in DEN were able to speak up about the topics that were important to us, also in collaboration with the students from the Universities of Hanoi and Peru. As students, we were in fact the ones who chaired the various meetings and presented the cases we care about.

I personally considered this opportunity as the perfect ending for my academic year, in fact, I felt like I was part of something bigger and more important, that can actually help to make a better world. There were many panels involved in multiple conversations including climate, security, secularisation, development, geopolitics, democracy, British politics and so on.

I would say that the overall experience was able to open a window of opportunities for me and helped me realise that there is no such activity that can be considered ‘little’. At the same time, it helped me to boost my speaking in public skills within an academic environment.

It was a fantastic experience, extremely interesting to collaborate with my colleagues and friend and to hear their presentations.

Michelle Ceruti, BA (Hons), Politics and International Relations


 [KN1]Is it called the University of Peru?

 [KN2]Add university

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