Unity 2018 1200 DSC 0168Students from Afghanistan, Eritrea, ‘Kurdistan’, Somalia, Syria, Egypt and Vietnam gave compelling presentations about their countries of origin to peers who have grown up in the UK, as part of the Unity 2018 event.

They talked about the unique histories and cultures of their homelands, from human rights issues such as fair elections and whether girls as well as boys are allowed to go to school, to the right to free speech and the consequences of civil conflict, to religious festivals, and the most beautiful scenery and tastiest dishes. They also shared that despite there being an estimated 35 million Kurds living on the borders of Iraq, Iran, and Turkey where the countries meet, Kurdistan is not recognised as a permanent nation state.

The ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students also proved they could teach as well as learn by getting the audience to say words such as ‘hello’ in their own languages.

The group gave their speeches using the information boards they had created, which featured important landmarks, food and facts, and were displayed in the LRC at Uxbridge College in Hayes.

Unity at Uxbridge College is an annual event which brings together students from all backgrounds to learn more about each other’s cultures and experiences of life, and to promote British values. This year Unity ran for four days with a series of class groups visiting the exhibition to hear the talks.

Claire Beale, Course Team Leader - ELT - Young Learners, said: “Unity is a fantastic opportunity for both students and staff to find out more about each other’s cultures - I certainly learned a lot! For those who have been raised in the UK and grown up in peacetime with rights like a democratic vote, access to education regardless of gender, and laws to protect everyone’s human rights, it can be a real eye-opener to find out that there are so many people of their age who have not been able to take these things for granted. And it was great to see English speakers learning foreign languages as well as the reverse!”

Ofsted, which requires British values to be promoted as part of spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) education at schools and colleges, defines them as relating to: democratic process; the rule of law; separation of power between the executive and the judiciary; freedom to choose a faith and tolerance of other faiths and beliefs, and combatting discrimination.

For more photos from the event see https://bit.ly/2IZSVdL