On December 13, the Aegis’ UK Youth Department hosted this year’s National Campaign Conference. Dozens of participants from seven different universities met to share ideas, coordinate activities and develop a final strategy for the campaign on UN veto restraint.

The campaign will call for the permanent five members of the UN Security Council (P5) to restrain their veto in mass atrocity situations. Despite their responsibility to maintain international peace and security, the P5 have repeatedly used their veto to strike down resolutions that respond to mass atrocities, immobilising the Security Council and undermining its purpose. Yet, despite its international significance the issue is rarely discussed by policy makers or in the public forum.

The student-led campaign is coordinated by the Aegis Trust and will be supported by STAND, Aegis’ US Youth Department, and the Aegis Youth Department in Rwanda. This collaboration between youth in three different continents will truly add to the campaign’s international character.

After listening to inspiring words from the guest speakers, Jake Richards, Aegis’ Parliamentary Officer, and Maddy Crowther from Waging Peace, the students made the most of their chance to get tailored advice on this year’s campaign in the Q&A session. Following this, they broke off into working groups to discuss possible campaign strategies, applying the speakers’ recommendations and incorporating their own ideas.

Founder and CEO of the Aegis Trust, Dr James Smith, later shared motivational thoughts on the impact of the student voice and the importance of the campaign, before the students came together to agree on the final strategy.

“The National Conference was both fascinating and productive.” says Nancy Jones, this year’s student campaign coordinator for Policy and Advocacy. “All the delegates made brilliantly informed contributions to the strategy and we are all very excited to start working on our UN campaign.”