If there was ever a university that you would expect to have a United Nations Association, St. Andrews must be near, if not the top of the list. Globally renowned for both its International Relations program and the geographical diversity of its student population, this small town in East Fife has become a hub of politically and social debate. And yet, there has not been a UN Association for some time, despite other universities like Aberdeen, Dundee, and Edinburgh all having dynamic organizations. Until now, when a small group of dedicated students came together to resurrect the United Nations Association of St. Andrews.
In the midst of Storm Ali’s gusty winds, the inside of the Byre Theatre provided a cozy setting to host the launch party. Almost forty people had squeezed in between the main bar and staircase to listen to the committee speak as I wandered inside. The event was highlighted by with the brilliance of the Other Guys performing live, as well as Kasper and JazzWorks. In between the performances, the founding members said a bit about the organization and then offered some free time to socialize and get drinks from the bar. There was a queue to buy membership and participate in the raffle for some pretty sweet prizes. Asking one girl in line why she had attended, she answered that she was excited of the potential job opportunities and internships the UN House of Scotland could provide to her as an International Relations major. Asking another participant why a UN association at St. Andrews was important, he replied that with the amount of political engagement at St. Andrews, it seemed crazy that there has not been an organized and dedicated forum to discuss some of these issues and current events.
Finally, I got a chance to speak to Jurin, one of the founding members. While interviewing her, what came across right away was the passion and commitment to making this society successful. With the Persian classic Sultan-e Galb-am playing in the background we spoke from everything from her background to the hopes for the society.
They are planning a whole host of events in the future. On October 7th, the society will host a social entrepreneurship competition with ENACTUS, with the winner receiving funding to start their venture. In November they are partnering with the Sanskriti society to host a South-Asian themed symposium with talks from politicians and professors specializing in the region. Jurin’s goal is to host an event every month, and while the committee is small at the moment and each member has taken on a significant amount of work, she hopes to grow the committee and engage with more parts of the St. Andrews community.
In her own words, the St. Andrews community ‘deserves to be working closely to the United Nations’, and hopefully this launch event is only the start of a dynamic relationship with them and an important addition to our university.
You can find out more about the UN Association on Facebook. You can contact Alexander at email@example.com