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4 October, 2006

Impetus Annual Showcase Celebration 2006

Inspiring young people from around the UK came together yesterday for the Impetus Annual Showcase Celebration in London’s Regent’s College. Primary and Secondary pupils performed dance, movement and song, read poetry and showed art work all inspired by the exploration of human rights and the ethical values that underpin human rights around the world, and the Human Rights Act in the UK.

Run by the Institute for Global Ethics, Impetus is a youth awards programme promoting human rights and shared ethical values in the UK. It celebrates innovative projects in response to contemporary, challenging and contested issues which also reach out to local and, or global communities.

Gerard Diver, Impetus Coordinator for Northern Ireland spoke about the awards scheme saying “We have a duty to help young people foster their full potentials and to become active members of society. The Impetus scheme helps young people to understand human rights and how they are relevant in the world. These projects light a candle of hope within these young people and in their communities.”

Pontarddulais Comprehensive School, Swansea performed a piece about the life and work of Rosa Parks, the ‘Mother of the Civil Rights movement’. When asked what she had learnt from the project by Kathy Ashton, Minister for Human Rights, Becky, one of the participants said “I didn’t know about racial segregation before we started the project and how it wasn’t very long ago. When we found out, we wanted to raise awareness about it. We also learnt that you don’t need to be rich or famous to get your point across or to make a difference.”

Other schools performed pieces about the Pakistan earthquake, factories polluting housing developments and Ghandi. Greenhaw Primary School in Derry/Londonderry spoke about the adventures of Molly and Steve, two teddy bears who had visited other schools and families across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, bringing back stories, poetry and information about how other people lived. The pupils were interested by the differences, but mostly they noted the similarities between themselves and other children, families, schools and communities.

Professorial Research Fellow at the Centre for Human Rights, LSE Francesca Klug, closed the event praising the projects. She said “Human rights are about the things that move the human spirit. These projects today have shown us the importance of empathy, for caring for people you have never met.”

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