Theresa Yung, President
BSc International Relations
My commitment to improving human rights across the world is firmly rooted in my commitment to realising civil rights in my home city. Hong Kong is at a political watershed. It has weathered various struggles for human rights. A British colonial past only granted it quasi-democratic institutions, but had idealised western notions of freedom and civil rights. Since the handover to China in 1997, an ironic “decolonising” effort, it has seen a continuous struggle to realise full-fledged versions of the notions of autonomy conceived from the west. In a gradually decolonising world, I have sometimes found myself grappling with an unusual colonial nostalgia: resenting the idea of colonialism, yet frustrated by the political gridlock in a “decolonised” Hong Kong.
My experience of the Hong Kong democratic movement prompted me to join Amnesty International in my first year as Campaign Officer. I campaigned to put the “international” in LSESU Amnesty International, coordinating a campaign week on civil rights in China, Hong Kong and Tibet. I went on to assume the role of Vice President in my second year. Throughout my tenure as VP, I moved on to a more administrative focus to realign LSE Amnesty to the international work of Amnesty International.
As your President this year, I endeavour to create a tight-knit and inclusive community for human rights campaigners at LSE. I want LSE Amnesty to be a platform for students to impactfully campaign on the things they want to campaign on, irrespective of their background or where they are from – where they will find resources, inspiration and like-minded friends.
Clara Rupf, Vice President
BSc History & International Relations
The area of human rights I care most strongly about is that of women’s rights – it’s a cause I have gotten behind from the moment I became politically/socially conscious in my teens. It’s an issue I can identify with, and find extremely promising; I find Amnesty’s role in the push for meaningful steps toward gender equality inspiring. For example, I’m dedicating my summer to working at WONDER, a charity that focuses on uplifting entire communities via the leadership of women. I’d love to pursue this human rights strand through Amnesty campaigns.
This year, I hope to support the President in making Amnesty a more active society; one that is not only activist in nature but that also cultivates the skills and charitable habits of its members. I want to restore the links with the central Amnesty hub that we used to have but have somewhat lost sight of: that’s through resource-sharing, tying our own campaigns to theirs, bringing in external speakers – basically, maintaining a good, working relationship with Amnesty International.
Lauren Darwent, Secretary
I joined Amnesty 5 years ago after taking part in a ‘Write for Rights’ campaign – sending solidarity cards to prisoners of conscience – because I am passionate about protecting and developing the provision of basic rights, freedoms and dignity on a global scale. Since then, I have run my Sixth Form AI society, volunteered with Amnesty UK at their head office and annual conference during my gap years, and finally joined the LSE SU Amnesty committee for the next academic year. Looking across the world today, from abuses in Myanmar and Syria, to setbacks in Hungary and the U.S., it is clear that Amnesty’s work remains unique and invaluable. A current campaign that particularly resonates with me is ‘I Welcome Refugees’; it is necessary to counter populist policies and rhetoric, and help those fleeing conflict and persecution to re-build their lives. During my first year, as Events Coordinator for LSE SU Student Action for Refugees (STAR), I organised a #FamiliesTogether photo stunt and letter-writing session to support the passage of the Refugee Family Reunion Bill and contributed to the ‘Wintegreat @ LSE’ pilot programme for refugees and asylum seekers wanting to progress their UK education and career. Through English Language lessons, but also skills-based activities like debates, article-writing and mentoring, the participants to gained both knowledge and self-confidence. As Secretary this year, I will ensure that we make use of our affiliation to Amnesty UK by fully engaging with their global and priority campaigns. I also hope to encourage more non-executive members to empower and inspire each other, and deepen their involvement in campaigning, fundraising or volunteering efforts.
Sean Chou, Treasurer
From a young age I was instilled with a strong belief in the ‘Golden Rule’: ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. I believe this strongly links to Amnesty’s core values, of universal human rights as essential and to which every human being is entitled regardless of social background. Human rights can also be adapted to the needs of different social groups, as a liberation movement for oppressed peoples across the world. I therefore want to do more for Amnesty, to fight for a world where people are represented and their voices are heard; without solidarity and collective action, we are voiceless as individuals.
As part of this mission, I want to help make LSE Amnesty more inclusive and engaging with the student population. I want LSE Amnesty to be more active, by responding to crises in current affairs, offering training sessions and a sense of student community. As treasurer, I’ll do my best to achieve this by organising accounts and managing resources.
Where people fail to assert themselves, tyranny inserts itself. The biggest tool we have is our voices – let’s use them and fight for our rights!
Anushka Sisodia, Social Secretary
BSc Geography with Economics
Having been introduced to Amnesty International in my secondary school, I went on to lead the society there, creating campaigns to raise awareness for issues ranging from unjustified retention by governments to indigenous people’s rights. The interdependence of human rights matters within social problems makes it difficult to specify a particular aspect of human rights I care about most, but one topic particularly close to heart is international crises in developing countries and persecution against minorities; which is often overlooked by Western media.
I led a campaign last year to raise awareness of the genocide of the Rohingya people in Myanmar which made me realise the impact we can have as a society simply by stimulating thoughts and discussion about topics people may otherwise have been unaware about. My aim this year as social secretary is to ensure that our society feels like a family; a positive and passionate environment which welcomes students at our university to come together to learn about and become involved in human rights awareness.
I believe in raising awareness and campaigning for human rights in order to give a voice to those who may have been disempowered. Any change we can make to someone’s life is an achievement and a step in the right direction. It is our duty to inform ourselves about human rights issues and join movements to bring about progressive change across the world; and I look forward to playing a part in the endeavours of our society this year.
Molly Pugh-Jones, Youth Stop AIDs coordinator
BSc Social Anthropology
I find it really hard to narrow down specific areas of human rights that I care about, as they are all so interconnected. For instance, this year my role in Amnesty Society is focussed specifically on HIV/AIDS which touches on issues of poverty, discrimination, sexuality and the rights to access healthcare.
This year my role is to coordinate liaison with Youth Stop Aids, a charity campaigning to end the worldwide AIDS epidemic. Specifically, we are lobbying for access to medication, prevention of stigma and discrimination, and greater political commitment to ending HIV/AIDS. My aim this year is to engage more people on campus in human rights issues, and to be someone who can help to facilitate others in making positive change. I would also like to educate people on the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS as there are many common misconceptions and stereotypes which are associated with it.