Students From Around the World Unite on Queen Street

Over 140 16-18 year old Atlantic College students from around the world took to the streets of Cardiff on Saturday 17th November to take part in street theatre performances in order to raise awareness of global human rights abuses. The students marched from Cardiff Central Station to Queen Street, dressed as monks in red and orange costumes. Their aim was to raise awareness and collect signatures to protest against the atrocities that have recently been occurring in Burma.

Atlantic College student and organiser of the street theatre event, Izzat Shamroukh a refugee from Palestine was thrilled with the performances.

It was a great day! Organising 140 students took quite a lot of work but it all went really well and we created a lot of awareness about the situation in Burma. The big news is that we collected more than 4000 signatures on our petitions which we will be sending, via Amnesty International to the Burmese Foreign Minister. It is great that we can all come together to hopefully make a difference in the world

What makes the performances of the Atlantic College students so unique is that many of them have been witness to and can explain first hand the human rights abuses that have taken place in their home countries. Within the student body of approximately 360 there are over 76 nationalities represented which provides a vast cultural melting pot of perspectives and world views. The educational programme at Atlantic College aims to help students develop and fulfil their own potential while recognising and responding to the needs of others. Daily College life presents opportunities for students to experience the benefits of ‘positive’ action so that they can grow educationally, both for their own benefit and for the benefit of their communities.

Nick Lush, Vice Principal of Atlantic College explains

Students are expected to develop an understanding of current world events and common challenges such as global and regional conflict and insecurity, environmental degradation, inequality and their underlying issues. In addition, students are given opportunities to develop tools to become influential members of their communities in the future.

He added

We are very proud of the fact that over a third of the entire College community went to Cardiff to demonstrate for something about which they feel strongly; namely the human rights abuses in Burma. Thankfully the students were praised by the South Wales Police for the peaceful yet effective means by which they protested.

The students are part of an Amnesty International Activity at the College. They regularly carry out awareness events during the course of the term. Last year saw the students raised awareness of prisoners illegally detained in Guantanamo Bay, and so dressed up in boiler suits and chained themselves together sitting in cages. Other performances the group carried out include the students expressing their outrage at the ongoing construction of Israel’s West Bank wall on Palestinian land: The Palestinian students from Atlantic College described their own experiences of living with the ‘Wall’ and then gathered fellow students to re-create a wall in Queen Street with dramatic consequences. This year proved to be equally as attention grabbing and eye catching with the students campaigning for monks in Burma.

– United World College Student Magazine –

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