Peace Day Interview with NUS President Liam Burns
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Following the launch of an historic partnership between Peace One Day and the National Union of Students (NUS), TNS talks to NUS National President Liam Burns on student coalitions, sustainability, and the possibility of world peace. TNS: How did the NUS become involved in a partnership with Peace One Day and the Global Truce 2012 campaign? Liam Burns: It all started when Jeremy Gilley came and spoke at our conference last July. Up until that point, we had actually been relentlessly focused for years on encouraging Students’ Unions to focus on ‘student’ issues like ensuring access to quality education; in fact, our stock phrase was ‘we’re not here to solve world peace.’ But then Jeremy comes, speaks, and it’s like a light-bulb moment- suddenly all of our members are demanding world peace. It was clear to us that we needed to adopt a more global outlook in order to better reflect the interests and needs of our students. TNS: There are so many campaigns similar to this one that try to tackle famine, poverty, war, these huge global issues. Why do you think that the Global Truce 2012 campaign has been so successful? LB: I think it is because as a campaign it is able to stay true to this huge ideal, ‘world peace’, but delivers it in a way that is actually quite achievable. It also helps that there is proof behind it. When you can talk about the Taliban agreeing to a ceasefire in order to allow 1.4 million children to be inoculated against polio on a single day, then that is a quantifiable figure that validates the efforts of people across the world. TNS: Jeremy Gilley is emphasising the importance of forming a global coalition between students. How are the NUS working with similar organisations across the globe to spread the message of the campaign?
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