Celebration of United Nations Day at the University of Bedfdordshire, 6 November 2019
Modern Slavery: local context and resolutions

The event staredt with the raising of the UN flag . This was followedby a dynamic programme focused on the theme of Modern Day Slavery: local context and resolutions. There was a range of interactive sessions designed to increase awareness and understanding of the extent and nature of human trafficking and modern day slavery, the related risks and actual or potential approaches adopted by public and private organisations. It was action-oriented, and included a ‘mini-UN’ session, which involved participants working in groups on the task of generating local resolutions for this serious global challenge. Although slavery was officially abolished in the British Empire in 1833, it continues in various less visible forms away from the public gaze and amongst us, within our local communities. Its prevalence is an abhorrence in today’s world but highlights the need for us all to work to uphold and protect the standards of human rights and dignity and to promote justice, equality and peace locally and globally.

The Mandela Mile, 18 July 2019

The United Nations has declared 18 July an international day to honour Nelson Mandela. The United Nations Association-Luton sent out invitations to 'walk the Mandela Mile' in Wardown Park, Luton, to promote Nelson Mandela's inspiring principles of freedom, democracy, equality, justice, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.
Participants gathered at Wardown House at 10.00 and were welcomed by Dr Nazia Khanum OBE DL, Chair of UNA-Luton. Vinod Tailor DL, former High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, spoke about Nelson Mandela and why we are walking a mile. Meryl Dolling, High Sheriff of Bedfordshire and her Consort, Cllr Michael Dolling, led the guests on the walk around the lake and back to Wardown House where they had a discussion over tea and coffee about the life and work of Nelson Mandela and their relevance to our life and times. Cllr Maria Lovell, Deputy Mayor of Luton, was one of the speakers.

Luton Conference on Commonwealth Women, 26 March 2018

Recommendations to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), 16 - 20 April 2018

This conference was organised by UNA-Luton with support from UNA-Harpenden and the University of Bedfordshire. It was held at the University of Bedfordshire Luton campus and attended by over 90 people from diverse backgrounds. Most were women from minority communities who were keen to get women's voices heard. They broke into three workshops for lively discussions about forced marriage, femal education and climate change. The workshops reported back to the plenary session, which agreed the recommendations on building sustainable and resilient societies that they wished to present to Commonwealth leaders. These were submitted to the CHOGM Commonwealth Women's Forum.

UNA-Luton Recommendations to CHOGM 16 - 20 April 2018.pdf
The speakers were:

Bill Rammell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire and Honorary President on UNA-Luton: Welcome address

Professor Gurch Randhawa, DL: Message from Helen Nellis, HM Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, on behalf of HM the Queen

Trevor Evans, Chair, UNA-Harpenden: Message from Dr Carl Wright, UNA-UK, the Commonwealth Heads of Governments’ Meeting

Cllr Ghulam Ayub, Mayor of Luton: Message of support

Cllr Naseem Ayub, Mayoress of Luton: Message from Hazel Simmons, Leader of Luton Borough Council

Dr Diana Pritchard, Centre for Learning and Excellence, University of Bedfordshire

Dr Violet Cuffy, Senior Lecturer in Tourism and Events Management, University of Bedfordshire

Shaista Khan, Marketing Professional, International SDG Consultant-Life Coach-Communications Specialist

Dr Nazia Khanum, OBE DL, Chair of UNA-Luton

Conference on Climate change: negotiations, actions and movements
University of Bedfordshire and UNA-Luton, 6 November 2017

The event included raising the UN flag to celebrate UN Day

This all-day multi-disciplinary event involved simulated and participatory activities to generate effective learning and networking opportunities. An innovative feature of the day was the role-play 'World Climate Negotiations.' This was set up as an international conference on climate change to negotiate carbon emission targets. Participants were assigned to specific countries, fossil fuel lobby groups or environmental NGO groups and given the appropriate negotiating brief.  They were not allowed to choose countries or groups of their own preference and no prior understanding of climate change or sustainable development was needed. Participants reported that they had learned from the experience and found it an exciting approach to the issues. The event was opened by Bill Rammell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire and Honorary President on UNA-Luton.

Celebration of United Nations Day, 18 October 2016, at the University of Bedfordshire

The programme was hosted jointly by UNA-Luton and the University of Bedfordshire and started with the raising of the UN flag.

Celebration of United Nations Day, 22 October 2015, at the University of Bedfordshire:

70th Anniversary of the United Nations Charter
This was was an enlightening and stimulating evening, jointly hosted with the University and the Luton branch of the United Nations Association-UK. The event started with the UN flag raising ceremony at the Postgraduate & CPD Centre, Luton Campus. The discussion was presented by David Jonathan, Luton Council of Faiths and Grassroots.
The speakers were:
Bill Rammell, Vice Chancellor of University of Bedfordshire, Honorary President of UNA-Luton: Welcome address
Dr Nazia Khanum, OBE DL, Chair of UNA-Luton: Human rights and modern slavery
Dr David Cheesman, Secretary of UNA-Luton: 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and 70th anniversary of the UN Charter
Trevor Evans, Chair of UNA-Harpenden: UNA campaigns for UN reform
D Cheesman - Magna Carta & UN Charter 23 Oct 2015.pdf

UNA Luton Literary Awards at Centre for Youth and Community Development, Luton

14 June 2015

To celebrate the achievements of three young authors, published for the first time: Talal Al Zaber, Kaya Hussain and Ihsanul Haque

Celebration of United Nations Day, 31 October 2014, at the University of Bedfordshire

The programme was preceded by a flag-raising ceremony at the University of Bedfordshire on 24 October, attended by the Mayor of Luton, Councillor Farooq Ahmed, Dr Nazia Khanum OBE, Chair of UNA-Luton and Trevor Evans, Chair of UNA-Harpenden and others.

David Jonathan from Luton Council of Faiths and Grassroots presented the event. The programme started with a UN Peace Prayer by Sister Marie from Luton Council of Faiths.  Bill Rammell, Vice-Chancellor of the University and Honorary President of UNA-Luton, welcomed everyone, speaking about the international dimensions of the University of Bedfordshire and the importance of education, peace and cooperation. Dr Nazia Khanum, Chair of UNA-Luton, shared the story of when and how UNA-Luton was set up with its first AGM in 2009 and the official launch in 2010. Luton is a super diverse town whose international population is affected by incidents happening thousands of miles away, while what happens in Luton can have an impact on people in other countries. Local challenges often depend on global solutions.

The keynote speaker, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Chair of the United Nations Association UK, used the UNA-Luton platform to launch the UNA-UK’s 10-point foreign policy manifesto, A force for good. He stressed the 10th point - to enhance the UN’s effectiveness by improving the transparency of its leadership selection. His interesting and erudite speech on ‘Is the UN Working?’ was informed by his experience and insights into geo-politics. He emphasised that the UN is a collection of governments and governmental organisations. As important as it is to have a space for deliberating on the issues confronting our world, what eventually matters is to think globally but act locally. We must remember our identity as global citizens.

Gavin Shuker, MP for Luton South, spoke about his experience as Shadow Minister for International Development. He, Sir Jeremy and Kelvin Hopkins, MP for Luton North, formed a Panel to respond to questions during a lively Q & A session. The issues included: the plight of people in Kashmir; the emergence of ISIS in Syria and its possible aftermath; issues relating to Palestine; growing tensions in the far east between Japan, North Korea  and China; the lack of trust in the political machinery and organisations like UN, to make positive changes nationally or globally.

Some University students were keen to see a students’ branch of the UNA in the University. Dr Khanum said she would do her best to see this happen and also made an appeal to the guests to consider joining UNA-Luton. While concluding the meeting, Trevor Evans, Chair of UNA-Harpenden, hoped that this would become an annual event at the University. The University has put a brief report on their website along with a video of the whole event:

The University website has a  video and brief report of the event 

Seminar on organ donation and transplantation, 24 March 2013, at Dallow Learning Community Centre, Luton

The seminar was held at Dallow Learning Community Centre, Luton. Accessing the best possible healthcare facilities is an important hiuman right. The seminar promoted this objective by raising awareness of the social, cultural and religious issues and traditions that need to be addressed to encourage a wider range of communities to donate organs. The programme included the real-life experiences of donors and recipients with participation from nationally reputed medical consultants. The seminar was presented in liaison with Luton Community Health Forum and wassupported by the UK Donation Ethics Committee and the Institute for Health Research, University of Bedfordshire.

Seminar on Health and Human Rights, 21 September 2011, at the Centre for Youth and Community Development, Luton

Professor Gurch Randhawa, Director of Institute for Health Research at the University of Bedfordshire and Chair of NHS Luton was the keynote speaker. Access to good health facilities is a primary need of all human beings, but the reality is different in developing countries, especially for the poor. Although we live in one of the most developed countries in the world and have a National Health Service, some people still face difficulties in accessing healthcare services when they need them. Patients’ experience of treatment and outcomes indicates that there are serious health inequalities in Luton as in some other parts of this country. It also appears that on average people in the affluent areas of Luton live nearly 10 years longer than those who are living in deprived areas. This is unacceptable.

G Randhawa Health and Human Rights September 2011.pdf

Celebration of United Nations Day, 22 October 2010, at Luton Sixth Form College

Councillor Tom Shaw, the Mayor of Luton, was the keynote speaker. He stressed that peace is critical for the safety and development of the human race across the world. After the devastation of the two world wars in the twentieth century, the United Nations was established on 24 October, 1945 so that all nations on earth can promote peace together. The Preamble to the Charter of the UN statesthat:

We the peoples of the United Nations,

Are determined

·         To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war…

·         To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights ….

·          To establish conditions for maintaining justice and respect for international law..

·         To promote social progress and better standards of life for all …

 To achieve all those we need

·         To practise tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours …

·         To contribute to international peace and security …

·         To ensure that our armed forces are used in the common interest..

·         To employ international machinery for the promotion of economic and social advancement of all peoples …

This inspiring vision brought the world’s nations together in San Francisco 65 years ago. Cllr Shaw said he wanted everyone to remember this and feel inspired to stand up for the rights of the oppressed, the rights of women, the rights of children and other vulnerable individuals and groups and above all to support the United Nations Organization’s aims for promoting peace and tolerance locally, nationally and internationally.


First Annual General Meting of UNA-Luton, 6 December 2009

The first AGM of UNA-Luton was held at St Mary’s Parish Church in Church Street, Luton. Dr Nazia Khanum OBE was re-elected as Chair  and Professor Les Ebdon CBE, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, was elected as Honorary President. Trevor Evans, Chair of UNA-Harpenden delivered the keynote speech on Climate Change, summarising the key international summits which had led up to the UN Conference on climate change which had opened in Copenhagen a few days previously (7-18 December 2009). He also presented UNA-Luton with a large UN flag and a desk-top flag.