Bronagh CHAIR

Bronagh Hughes, 17, Northern Ireland Seat: Chair of the Youth Select Committee

Bronagh is an A-Level student from Northern Ireland, with a keen interest in politics, youth participation, and debating. She hopes to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics at University.

Her interest in the areas of racial and religious discrimination stem, in part, from her upbringing in the religiously polarised region of Northern Ireland, where discrimination and segregation along religious lines remains a major issue for her generation, and has been involved for a number of years in the work of the NI Youth Forum.

In early 2016 Bronagh was selected for TABU, a conflict resolution programme in Chicago, where she met with the Anti-Defamation League to discuss their work in fighting anti semitism, and the captain of the 1st Chicago police district, with whom she talked about the fallout of the Black Lives Matter protests, and deaths in police custody. She was also selected as a winner of the Rotary Ireland Youth Leadership Development Competition, and subsequently travelled to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, where she represented Ireland in the Euroscola European debating event, and was elected as both spokesperson for team Ireland, and the chair of the Youth Employment Committee.

Bronagh also has a successful debating record, her team have twice been Ulster champions of the Debating Science Issues competition, she has twice represented her school in a mock session of the European Council held in the NI Assembly senate chamber, and she was selected to speak in a debate in the NI Assembly Chamber in a debate tabled by the Speaker of the Assembly. She was also successful in the NI finals of this year's European Youth Parliament debating competition, and will be taking part in the UK final this year.

Bronagh applied for a position on the committee in order to see young people given a voice on an issue which affects so many, as without a vote, young people are often denied a voice. She hopes, that as chair of the committee, she can help to be a part of that voice.

 

Elif VICE CHAIR

Elif Emma True, 17, Youth Council Seat, Vice Chair of the Youth Select Committee

Elif True is an A level student in Newcastle upon Tyne and has been involved in youth projects since 2014. Her first campaign success was the manifesto launch of Poverty Ends Now, a youth led campaign about dealing with the mammoth issue of poverty in the UK. Since the House of Commons manifesto launch in late 2014, Elif has been inspired by the impact that young people can make if they are determined to and she is now involved in several projects with the common theme of emphasising the importance of young people's voices not being left behind in democracy. Elif is passionate about this year's youth select committee issue because of the tremendous mandate it has with 95,520 Make Your Mark votes across the UK, clearly identifying the need to investigate the issue of religious and racial discrimination and for the voices of often forgotten young people's voices to be heard.

 

Rhys B

Rhys Barnes, 18, Member of Barnet Youth Board, Other Representative Seat

Rhys is a six form student studying politics and intends to go onto study politics at university. He is also a keen musician having studied at Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is taking his diploma on the viola, having gained Distinction at Grade 8 in both viola and singing. He been a member of the Barnet Youth Board for a number of years and was on the panel that interviewed candidates for the position of Health Commissioner. Rhys' involvement on the Youth Board has allowed him to be a part of the planning committee organising a youth convention to establish Barnet's first ever charter for children and young people. He has had work experience with both Stephen Twigg MP and Clare Perry MP and he discovered during his work experience at The Peabody Trust, how much more was related to a housing association than just the provision and upkeep of buildings. The relationship between a social enterprise and local and national government is a difficult one to manage, but is essential, especially now that housing is so oversubscribed.

Rhys lives in a highly diverse community but still wants to broaden his understanding of racial issues across society by meeting with other young people, politicians and interest groups who are passionate about similar issues. He hopes that through the work on the committee there will be a real impact on the lives of young people from across the UK.

 

Otis 

Otis Skitch, 17, Member of Youth Parliament Seat, Member of Youth Parliament for Torbay

Otis is a keen advocate of Youth Voice and he represents this by taking part and encouraging others to take part in debates and politics at school. He also recently helped set up his local Youth Forum to allow others to get their voices heard; and this is where Otis realised that racism and religious discrimination wasn't just affecting him in his local area, and region - the South West. Otis works on a racism and religious discrimination campaign as part of his role as MYP but has also done so with his Youth Forum to get a wider range of opinions on the subject matter.

In the past Otis has debated at County Halls and at schools where he helps advocate Youth Voice. Recently Otis has partaken in European Youth Parliament Debates, campaigns and projects on both mental health and bullying; more currently he is working with his local Development Agency on designing and creating a job website for u18s.

He hopes these experiences and skills will help him be a valuable asset to the Youth Select Committee as well as his hands on experience with the issue. This is an issue very close to Otis' heart so he hopes he can do his area and the Committee proud.

 

Opprah

Opprah Manyika, 19, Other Representative Seat

Opprah is a student at Blythe Bridge sixth form in the West Midlands. She hopes to study aerospace engineering at Kingston University.  

The choice of topic for this year seemed very intriguing because it is something that young people and many other people have a little understanding of, particularly when defining racial discrimination. Opprah sees her participation in the 2016 youth select committee as a brilliant idea to broaden her knowledge of such a topic. 

She hopes to share her experience and expertise that she has gained from everyday life and from studying sociology at A level, to come up with a sound and feasible report that is sustainable for  future generations. 

The idea of knowing that she is involved in making a change keeps her motivated - I she is involved in politics for the thrill. 

In November 2015 she took part in a local democracy week, representing young people in Stoke on Trent and speaking up about why it is important for young people to get involved in politics.

Together with politics she also enjoys flying and watching crime thrillers. 

 

Neil

Neil Kotre,17, Other Representative Seat

Infamously described as "a Novocastrian in disguise," Neil Kotre was first elected to the Newcastle Youth Council in 2012, becoming the highest-polled candidate to date and subsequently the longest-serving Chairman of the 2012-14 Council. In this capacity, he was at the spearhead of initiatives to raise awareness of City Council cuts, tackle the teaching of PSHE and promote a positive image of young people.

In 2014, he was unanimously elected as a Member of the UK Youth Parliament, for which he was selected as a runner-up for the 2014-15 Lord Glenamara Memorial Prize for academic excellence and dedication to the service of others. He is currently studying for five AS-Levels and hopes to read History or Politics at university.

Neil recognises that the chosen topic of Racism and Religious Discrimination covers some of the most significant and difficult issues facing young people in modern Britain, and hopes that his input will enable the Youth Select Committee to create a unique, constructive report which is accessible to all.


Namir

Namir Rahim Chowdhury, 18, Other Representative Seat

Namir's journey as a Youth Voice representative began in March 2015 when he was elected as a Member of Youth Parliament for Walsall, his focus was to campaign against bullying, to raise awareness around mental health and tackle discrimination.

This deep passion around the issue of discrimination arose because of a series of social challenges that he had to overcome based on his religion, especially remarks that were so ingrained in society that they seemed commonplace. He is now inspired to ensure young people no longer have to endure this isolation.

Namir's local work has involved organising a successful debate in the Council Chambers in which local secondary school students attended to debate how to approach the issue of bullying. Furthermore, through his role as a Youth Crime Commissioner, he has championed local community cohesion through communication forums via the police. This was exemplified when he played an integral part in bridging the gap between young people and the force through his campaign: the YES Forum. He has also helped to develop a mental health panel model which could be emulated in a variety of local schools. After being elected as a UK Youth Parliament Procedures Group representative, he now helps to deliver the campaign on tackling discrimination, Don't Hate Educate.

The next milestone on Namir's journey is the Youth Select Committee, where he will help to compile a report on an issue that his passion around is only paralleled by his curiosity as to why it remains such a prevalent yet elusive problem in our society. He is profoundly excited that this project will lead to tangible impacts which will make society more inclusive, more tolerant, and more empowering for all, regardless of racial and religious background. 


Martin

Martin Gallacher, 17, Scottish Seat: Member of Scottish Youth Parliament for Glasgow Cathcart

Martin Gallacher lives in the Southside of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. Martin has always been a passionate and engaged young person who strives to make a positive change to the lives of young people. His passion to be a driver of change enabled him to be democratically elected as a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Glasgow Cathcart in March 2015, allowing him to represent the community he has lived in all of his life. As well as being elected to Scotland's Youth Parliament, he was elected as the Convenor of their 'Health and Wellbeing' Committee in June 2015, and then as the Chairperson of the Glasgow Youth Council in September 2015. Martin has a keen interest in racism and religious discrimination through his personal experience, and work that he has done within his school community to bring together people of many different races and religions. Martin hopes that through the Youth Select Committee he will be able to create a positive and lasting change for the lives of young people across the UK.

 

Jonathan

Jonathan Quin, 16, Young Mayor Seat: Young Mayor of Surrey Heath from Camberley

As Young Mayor of Surrey Heath, member of the Youth Collective  and in his position as Youth Councillor in a multi-cultural community, Jonathan has always had a passionate interest in, and campaigned for, equality and non-discrimination. Jonathan has represented young people in meetings with Michael Gove and Jeremy Corbyn, as well as chairing a Youth Question Time event where local parliamentary candidates debated these issues. He has played an active role in international on-line debates promoting the rights of young people regardless of race or faith. Jonathan is a good listener and facilitator and has had considerable experience of public speaking. His leadership qualities were recently recognised at an awards ceremony hosted by the Mayor of Surrey Heath.

Jonathan is looking forward to his experience on the Youth Select Committee and to representing young people's views on the issues of racism and religious Discrimination. He feels very privileged to be able to do this and to play a part in achieving a more tolerant and respectful community. 


Brahmpreet

Brahmpreet Kaur Gulati, 15, Member of Youth Parliament Seat: Member of Youth Parliament for Leicester

Brahmpreet is  from Leicester city and belongs to a "fairly multi cultural city" - which makes researching on racial discrimination even more interesting 

In the past she has been an anti bullying ambassador for the Princess Diana award and has effectively demonstrated this role in practise at school and in her community. Brahmpreet has also been a Member of UK Youth Parliament  for 3 years after being re-elected this year. Currently she  is running her own project called voices4change which focuses around the impact of young people's voices in the city and how they can be acted upon; one of the workshops was an icebreaker in which police officers and young people both challenged the stereotypes of each other.  Brahmpreet has also been involved in charity work such as food drives with the local Masjid and Sikh community. She has also worked with the local news agency Citizen Eye on homelessness and other impacts around the city.


Emily

Emily Jones, 14, Welsh Seat: Caerphilly Youth Forum, Wales

Emily is on the Caerphilly Youth Forum Cabinet as the media representative. She has been actively involved with the Youth forum since she was 11. Emily attends Pontllanfraith Comprehensive School in South Wales. Emily was a member of funky Dragon (Youth Assembly for Wales) for 2 years and represented Caerphilly on a national basis. Emily is trained as a young inspector, where she has inspected a variety of youth settings to see if they are meeting the 7 participation standards. Emily is also on the Gwent Police Commissioner Youth Forum, where young people advise the police commissioner on how to engage with young people and improve relationships with the police and regularly talk about discrimination and hate crime with young people. She is looking forward to taking part in this year's youth select committee and to improving society for young people.

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