Earlier this week in the Whiskey Room of the St Andrews Brew Co, Refugee Action St Andrews (RASA) and Protocol Magazine hosted an informal conversation regarding refugees. The event helped develop participants knowledge, as well as provide them with information on how to provide aid to refugees.
The issue of aid to refugees was made particular apt by the reneging of the Dubs Amendment by the British Government. Refugees have often played front and centre within media and political debate, particularly following many refugees entering Europe from the Middle East and North Africa.
Primarily, the conversations held within Brew Co focused on the growing dissatisfaction with Western government’s actions regarding refugees. As such, both RASA and Protocol Magazine are seeking to expand their tangible impact regarding these issues; through raising awareness and fund raising throughout St Andrews.
Attendees were also especially concerned with the issue of human rights and struck a note of empathy with those refugees stranded in Europe. In particular, one student invoked the American concept of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;” reinforcing that these values applied as much to the refugees as it did to western citizens.
The topic of conversation was not only limited to refugees, but extended to the issue of the growing polarisation of opinion throughout the globe was . One point that was touched upon was the growing separation of identities within western society. In particular, students found that differing members of society were growing more nationalistic, while others increasingly saw themselves as global citizens. This divide can be seen clearly in Brexit and the recent election of Donald Trump.
The diversity of students within the discussion was large; from Cairo to the US as well as varying academic levels. From first year to doctorate levels, the political climate were particularly broad, with some attendees discussing Marx’s influence on European politics.
All in all, the meeting provided an interesting avenue for St Andrews students and faculty to pursue, with many members of community seeking to greater affect change both domestically and abroad.