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Cathedral Sixth Form Conference Tackles Tough Issues

Thu, 21 November 2013

Cathedral Sixth Form Conference Tackles Tough Issues

Based on the BBC TV programme Question Time, this free event provided students with the opportunity to share in a morning of lively debate in the Nave of the Cathedral, with a diverse guest panel that included Sir Stephen Lander KCB (former Director General of MI5), David Lidington MP (Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office), Nick Raynsford MP, Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith (Bishop of St Albans), Camilla Tominey (Sunday Express Royal Editor) and Stuart Winter (Sunday Express Environment Editor). Award winning journalist Samira Ahmed returned to chair the event.

Questions were put to the panel that included global political issues such as the decision against intervention in Syria and controversial topics such as the banning of the Islamic veil and the Home Office’s recent campaign against illegal immigrants. Students also had an opportunity to quiz the panel on issues closer to home - the increase in tuition fees and the use of unpaid internships which raised some important points about their future lives.

Speaking of the conference, Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith insisted that ‘we need to have [these] honest and blunt exchanges with one another’, while Conservative MP David Lidington urged the student audience to ‘grab [the] responsibility…to change society’ and to not be ‘passive spectators’.

St Albans Cathedral Education Centre will host the conference again next year and hopes that it will continue to go from strength to strength in providing this unique and invaluable opportunity for students.

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