Plan-UK Releases Educational Materials About Forced Marriages

Anti-Early-marriage campaign posterAn organization in the United Kingdom, Plan-UK, is partnering with thousands of schools in the country to educate students about an issue that is affecting young girls around the world: early and forced marriage. Plan has created an animated film and learning plan called “The Right to Say No,” which can be used to help educate students about this issue.

“Forced marriage is an abuse of human rights, a form of domestic abuse and, where it affects children and young people, child abuse,” said Lynne Featherstone, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Equalities and Criminal Information. “The government is already taking action, both in the UK and abroad, to raise awareness of the issue and protect those at risk. …I welcome the involvement of NGOs like Plan UK, whose new school resources pack is an example of the valuable work a number of charities are doing to provide information and support to local communities.”

Around the world, ten million girls who are under the age of 18 are forced to marry every year. This is 27,397 girls every day, or 19 girls every minute. In England, there were 1,735 cases of forced marriage last year. The holiday season is when many of these girls are forced into marrying a man who lives in another country and could be three times as old as them.

In order to draw attention to this problem, many schools will begin using “The Right to Say No” education materials before the end of the term. “The Right to Say No,” is based on the experiences of one 16-year old British girl who was forced into an early marriage in Pakistan.

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Princess Beatrice Graduates from Goldsmiths College

Princess Beatrice, perhaps best known for the eccentric hat she wore to cousin Prince William’s wedding day, graduated from Goldsmiths College on Friday, Sept. 9. She left her unusual head wear at home, and graced her diploma day in traditional cap and gown.

The princess, who is fifth in line to the thrown, earned a two-for-one degree in history and history of ideas from the university, located in London. Her three years in college were spent studying the classic writings of Plato, Aristotle, Confucius and Freud.

“I have had the most amazing university experience. Goldsmiths College is a wonderful place to study,” Beatrice said. “I am so lucky to have had the support of the incredible tutors and staff. I am so excited about my results. I wish everyone graduating today congratulations as well.”

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Study Abroad Programs React to UK Rioting

Masked Rioters in the United Kindom, August 2011The rioting that started in London a few days ago has made a serious impact on the way the city is perceived abroad. Those living outside of the United Kingdom have had mixed responses to the unrest, but any parent of students studying in London or the other cites affected by the violence are bound to feel concerned for the safety of their children.

Thus far, it appears that the day-to-day lives of students studying abroad in the UK have not been much affected. In Oxford, just north of London, students from American universities were asked to stay inside housing at Trinity College, according to Red and Black, a student newspaper from the University of Georgia. The students were participants in study abroad programs run by the University of Georgia, Georgetown, University of Massachusetts and St. Bonaventure University.

Many summer programs are currently ending, and US students will be returning as scheduled. Syracuse University has 31 students participating in a short-term program who were scheduled to return on August 11th. “The areas currently affected are ones where students are unlikely to go, and bystanders do not at present seem to be at great risk,” states the University’s website. Similarly, 17 Indiana University students are scheduled to return to the states this week.

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Tuition Hikes Spark Riot in London [VIDEO]

UPDATE [12/9/10]: Parliament is expected to vote on the tuition increase this evening. The largest protest to rally around the issue is also planned, with authorities prepared for more potential outbreaks of violence (see video below).

SECOND UPDATE [12/9/10]: The parliament passed the higher cap on tuition fees, and protests have taken a destructive turn. Several policemen have been injured and a royal car carrying Price William and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, was attacked by protesters. William and Camilla are unhurt. The new measure must be approved by the House of Lords and receive the Queen’s signature before it is considered law.

American students aren’t the only ones facing an increase in education costs. The British government has taken action that will triple the cost of tuition after 2012. It’s empowering to report that approximately 50,000 people took a stand against these policies during a demonstration. Unfortunately, after only one hour of peaceful protesting, about 200 bad-apples ruined the bunch. A riot began and many people were injured during the course of it. Through the darkness of such violent acts, the light of the issue was lost.

The demonstration was organized by Britain’s National Union of Students (NUS) and they have clearly stated their disapproval of the riot. NUS president, Aaron Porter tweeted, “Disgusted that the actions of a minority of idiots are trying to undermine 50,000 who came to make a peaceful protest.” Read the rest of this entry »


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