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Young Fabians to affiliate to Young European Socialists

November 23, 2015
Contact: Luke John Davies
07713 176 233

The Young Fabians has always been an organisation dedicated to internationalism and to positive engagement with the community of Socialists outside the borders of the United Kingdom.

The Young Fabians International Network has in the almost 12 months since its inauguration on 10th January 2015 been dedicated to making the Young Fabians more connected, more relevant and more involved on the international stage, in particular in cooperation with our sister organisations on the left. Indeed, it was a stated aim when the Young Fabians International Network was being founded to facilitate the organisation to be a more outward facing, internationalist group for the benefit of its members. As part of that the network applied on behalf of the Young Fabians as a whole to be considered as a candidate organisation to affiliate to the Young European Socialists.

On November 21st, 2015, as the Young Fabians were holding their AGM in London, the YES Bureau met in Luxembourg and approved that application. This is a historic moment for the Young Fabians, representing an unrivalled opportunity to engage with the Young European Socialists both to broaden the cooperation between the Young Fabians and its international comrades but also to demonstrate a commitment to internationalism and solidarity, particularly in light of the upcoming UK referendum on EU membership.


Fabian Society are Recruiting a Head of Partnerships and Events

November 17, 2015

The Fabian Society

The Fabian Society is a leading left of centre think tank and political society, committed to creating the political ideas and policy debates which can shape the future of progressive politics.

We are recruiting for the senior post of Head of Partnerships and Events, to lead the Society’s events and partnerships strategy and deliver an events programme, which includes some of the highest-profile events in British politics.

The Society has a staff team of 11 people, based in our offices in Westminster (near St James’s Park Underground Station and within walking distance of Victoria). The Society is unique among think-tanks in being a thriving, democratically-constituted membership organisation, affiliated to the Labour Party while being organisationally, editorially and financially independent. With over 300 Fabian MPs, MEPs, Peers, MSPs and AMs among our national membership of over 7,000, the Society plays an unparalleled role in linking vigorous grassroots debate with the ability to influence policy debates at the highest level.

About the Post


The role of the Head of Partnerships and Events is to coordinate and build the society’s relationships with funders and partners; and successfully lead and deliver an events programme which maximises the Society’s political and policy influence and public profile and contributes to the Society’s income.

The Fabian Society’s income includes sponsorship and grants from companies, non-profit organisations and trade unions. We have three teams, each with their own fundraising budget, and this role is responsible for coordinating the development of funding partnerships across them all, including cultivating new contacts and maintaining strong, professional relationships. 

Through our events, we seek to develop new political and public policy ideas and proposals, informing public and policy debate so as to promote progressive change, with leading decision-makers, thinkers and opinion formers addressing key issues from a centre left perspective.

Fabian events range from major public conferences, lectures and pamphlet launches to small-scale expert policy seminars. The Fabian New Year Conference is the highest profile think-tank public conference in the UK, attended by 1,000 people each January, and the Fabian Society has a high-profile presence at the Autumn party conferences. Our events programme also includes seminars which regularly bring together key policymakers, politicians and professionals to discuss detailed policy challenges.


This is a full-time post, managing an events team of one full-time Events Assistant, plus freelancers and volunteers. The Head of Partnerships will have responsibility for the programme and for securing a budget of £160,000 to £200,000 per annum from a wide range of partner organisations, including corporations, trade unions, NGOs, charitable trusts and others.

The job involves playing a key role in planning and delivering the development of partner relations, including internal co-ordination and face-to-face relationship building. It also includes all aspects of the commissioning, planning, delivery and dissemination of a successful think-tank events programme: from contributing to the events strategy and developing ideas and themes for events; building relationships with speakers, funders, participants and others; overseeing the effective delivery of events and managing the work of the staff team; and ensuring we communicate effectively about our events through the media and to other key audiences. The post-holder will also have the opportunity to contribute to the Fabian Society’s broader public and organisational strategy.

The ideal candidate would have experience in a policy/political environment or be able to demonstrate equivalent knowledge; aptitude for building external relationships and securing sponsorship; experience of events delivery and management; strong relevant networks and relationships; experience of managing people and budgets; and a strong understanding of and engagement with the Fabian Society’s objectives and values.

Principal Duties

To lead, manage and deliver a successful Fabian events programme which contributes to the political and policy impact of the Society and ensures Fabian events contribute to the Society’s key relationships, public profile and budget.

To co-ordinate the society’s work in identifying and securing sponsorship for Fabian activity, by building external relationships and developing sponsored packages of activity (involving teams across the society), working with the General Secretary and other managers.

To manage the events team budget, including securing income for events (sponsorship, ticket sales etc) and controlling costs.

To deliver the society’s events programme, and particular events within it, sometimes with the support of assistants, contractors and volunteers.

To take lead responsibility in planning and delivering ‘flagship’ Fabian events, to ensure they meet the society’s aspirations and objectives (eg New Year Conference; Party Conferences fringe programme).

To play a central role in marketing and publicising Fabian events - through the media, marketing databases, digital communications and other dissemination channels – working with the Editorial and Communications manager.

To identify and build relationships with speakers and key participants in Fabian events, and to identify and manage relationships with event venues and with other key suppliers (eg designers, caterers, etc)

To represent the Society publicly where appropriate – for example in chairing and speaking at Fabian and other events - and in particular to play a lead ambassadorial role with key external stakeholders for the events programme (including speakers, funders and other event participants)

To line manage an Events and Office Assistant, providing appropriate direction, support and challenge (including career development support), and also occasionally to manage contractors and volunteers.

To act as a member of the society’s management team, supporting the General Secretary in the overall direction and strategy of the society, and undertaking other cross-organisation tasks or duties as required, where appropriate.

 

Conditions


The salary scale for Head of Partnerships and Events is £30,000 to £35,000 pa. The starting salary would dependent on relevant skills and experience. The remuneration package includes a contribution towards a personal pension plan of 7% of gross salary, and 30 days holiday.

We work a 35 hour week with contracted hours from 10am to 6pm – the role involves regular evening and weekend commitments for which time off in lieu is given. Two month's notice of termination of contract is required.

The Society has an equal opportunities policy and aspires to be an equal opportunity employer. We strongly encourage applications from people under-represented in politics and at the Fabian Society, including women, disabled people, and people from a low-income or ethnic minority background.

Please note that the Society has the primary right to the professional services of its staff. No outside activities affecting or concerning the Society may be undertaken without the explicit agreement of the General Secretary.

The post is based in the Society’s offices in , central . These are non-smoking.

 

To Apply

Applicants should send a copy of their CV and a covering letter setting out

(1) how their skills and experience meet the person specification for the post

(2) their reasons for applying.

Your application should arrive no later than 5pm on 26 November 2015

We plan to hold interviews during the week commencing 30th of November 2015. Please indicate your availability for interview on these dates when you apply.

Please apply by email with the subject line ‘Recruitment: Head of Partnerships and Events’ to: phil.mutero@fabian-society.org.uk

Website: www.fabians.org.uk


MARTIN EDOBOR OUR NEW CHAIR

November 07, 2015

At a meeting of the Young Fabian Executive for 2015/16, Martin Edobor was elected Chair of the Young Fabians for the year ahead. Topping the ballot of this year’s elections, Martin was previously the Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Social Officer  and Chair of the Health Network at the Young Fabians.

Ria Bernard was elected Vice Chair; Unsa Chaudri, Treasurer; Ben West, Secretary and Ellie Groves, Anticipation Editor

These constitutional roles will formally be approved at the AGM on 21th November. Positions for the seven other elected members will be decided at the executive strategy meetings.


RESOLUTIONS SUBMITTED FOR CONSIDERATION AT THE AGM 2015

November 02, 2015
Contact: Ben West
+447915978681

The following resolutions/motions have been submitted in accordance with the rules set out by the Young Fabian constitution. They will be voted on at the Young Fabian Annual General Meeting on 21st November.

If voted on and adopted at the AGM, the motions below that are being proposed would become incorporated into the current constitution. The constitution as it currently stands can be accessed here.

Preliminary Vote

Motion A as submitted is a composite of a number of proposed amendments to the Constitution. Motions B-F contain some but not all of the changes contained in the new constitution, and are split across multiple motions so that each amendment can be discussed and voted on separately.

At the start of business, a preliminary vote will be taken on whether to discuss and vote on Motion A (the proposed new constitution as a whole), or whether to proceed to B-F so that each amendment can be discussed and voted on separately.

If AGM votes to discuss Motion A and it subsequently fails to pass, motions B-F will be deemed to have also failed, and will not be considered.

Motion A - Proposed new Young Fabian constitution

Proposer: Luke John (LJ) Davies Seconders: Martin Edobor, Ria Bernard, Nathaneal Amos-Sansam, Jun Bo Chan, Oana Olaru, Mohammed Ahmed, Rebecca Carpenter, Amrita Rose and Ian Kugler.
(If adopted, will this motion would replace the parts of the existing constitution specified at the link below)

The Young Fabians were founded in 1960 and we have a long and rich history. However periodically our governing documents need to be renewed and modernised for a future that promises to be just as vibrant. Over the last six months we have been consulting with many members on how our constitution can be updated to better reflect how the Young Fabians now operates and to refocus it more on the member-led approach the organisation now embodies.

Background notes on the proposed constitution | Read the proposed new constitution in full 

Motion B - Gender parity on the Executive Committee

Proposer: Paulina Jakubec Seconder: Ellie Groves
(If adopted, will become a subset of current clause 5)

The Executive Committee of the Young Fabians should have gender parity. The candidate with the highest vote in the elections shall be the first elected the executive committee. The candidate of the opposite gender with the highest votes shall be second. Positions on the executive committee will then be filled by alternating between genders until all committee members are elected and half of them are female. 

No ballots shall go out to the membership until at least half of candidates needed to create a full executive committee of each gender have been nominated. 

Should a member of the executive committee resign or be removed by the membership they shall be replaced by the candidate with the next highest votes tally of the same gender. 

The Executive Committee must also ensure gender parity amongst the four most senior roles on the Committee: Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Secretary. 

Motion C - Data protection policy

Proposer: Paulina Jakubec Seconder: Ellie Groves
(If adopted, will form part of current clause 6)

The Executive Committee shall maintain and publish a data protection policy for the organisation. The Executive Committee shall nominate two Data Controllers, one of which shall be the Chair, and are responsible to the Executive Committee and Data Controller at the Fabian Society.

Motion D - Networks

Proposer: Paulina Jakubec Seconder: Ellie Groves
(If adopted, will form new clause 16)

Networks are sub-sections of the group devoted to and responsible for a specified policy area. The creation of or winding up of a network must be proposed to the Annual General Meeting which shall then vote on the matter. 

Membership of Networks shall be open to any full member of the Young Fabians who notifies the Chair and/or Secretary of the Network that they wish to be a member of the Network.

Additionally the Networks shall have discretion to recruit members from outside the Young Fabians who have experience of or a professional or personal interest in the area the network is devoted to.

Only full members of the Young Fabians may sit on or vote for the members of the network's steering committee. 

Any member of a network who is also a full member of the Young Fabians may sit on the network's steering committee. Each network must hold an AGM within three months of the Young Fabian's AGM at which they will elect a Chair, Secretary and at least two others to form the network Steering Committee. The committee may decide other roles as it deems appropriate.

Members who wish to sit on the steering committee may do so after the AGM. To do so they must notify the network's secretary in writing of their intention and attend two steering committee meetings as an ordinary member of the network. At the second meeting an election shall be held to approve of their accession to the steering committee by its existing members.

The steering committee must meet a minimum of once every three months and meetings shall be open to all members of the network. Members shall have the right to speak and propose motions at all meetings, but only the steering committee proper may vote on motions.

The time and place of all meetings must be advertised a minimum of fourteen (14) days before the meeting is held.

Networks shall be responsible for the running of events, publications, discussions, delegations and other member-led activities within the policy area to which they are devoted.

Motion E - Honorary positions

Proposer: Paulina Jakubec Seconder: Ellie Groves
(If adopted, will form new clause 17)

The organisation may choose to have an Honorary President and Honorary Vice Presidents of the Group. 

The Honorary President and Honorary Vice Presidents of the Group, if any, may be elected at an annual or extraordinary general meeting on the nomination of the Executive Committee.

Motion F - Removal of officers

Proposer: Paulina Jakubec Seconder: Ellie Groves
(If adopted, will form part of current clause 18)

Executive Committee Officers may only be removed by an Extraordinary General Meeting called in accordance with clause 10 of the current constitution or by a vote of simple majority of elected members at any General Meeting of the Group. 

On the same basis, a Vote of No Confidence in the Chair can be proposed at any General Meeting of the Group and pass with immediate effect, by a vote of simple majority of elected members. 

 

 


Young Fabians Election Results 2015 - 2016

October 29, 2015

Your elected executive for 2015 - 2016 are below with vote numbers.

 

Name                         Vote Number
Martin Edobor  162
Ria Bernard 126
Ellie Groves 116
Ben West 116
Unsa Chaudri 109
Miriam Mirwitch 108
Bradly Marshall 107
Andrea Campos-Vigouroux 99
Ade Adeyemi 94
Amrita Rose 86
Babatunde Williams 76
Kyalo Burt-Fulcher 71

 

Thank you to all those who put themselves forward and commiserations to the candidates who were not elected. The total number of votes cast were 285 a record number, the new executive will now meet next week to elect constitutional officers and will officially be voted in at the AGM on 21st November.  To see the full results please click here.                   


AGM Motion to Propose an Updated Young Fabians Constitution.

October 27, 2015
Contact: Young Fabians International Network

The Young Fabians were founded in 1960 and we have a long and rich history. However periodically our governing documents need to be renewed and modernised for a future that promises to be just as vibrant. Over the last six months we have been consulting with many members on how our constitution can be updated to better reflect how the Young Fabians now operates and to refocus it more on the member-led approach the organisation now embodies. The new document has been drafted by Luke John Davies, founder and Chair of the Young Fabians International Network, who will be proposing the motion to adopt it at the Young Fabians Annual General Meeting on 21st November. The motion is being seconded by Martin Edobor, Ria Bernard, Ben West, Nathaneal Amos-Sansam, Jun Bo Chan, Oana Olaru, Mohammed Ahmed, Rebecca Carpenter, Amrita Rose and Ian Kugler.

The majority of the change has simply been to reorder the existing constitution so that similar clauses are now linked together as sub-clauses under main headings. This makes the document clearer and easier to understand.

There have however been some major changes, which are outlined below with the reasons why they are proposed.

Executive Committee Changes:

The Executive is to be gender balanced, Co-Options are to be scrapped and the Executive Committee is increased from 12 to 14 members.

The main changes proposed are to the way in which the Executive Committee is structured. The current constitution mandates that a minimum of four women be elected to the Executive Committee of 12 members, supported by up to five co-optees. The feeling amongst the members consulted was very strongly in favour of a balanced Executive Committee with a fifty/fifty split of male and female members. As a principled and renowned left-wing organisation the Young Fabians should be a place of gender equality and the Executive Committee should embody these ideals.

The model for ensuring gender balance is a “zipper” system based on similar models used by the Swedish SSU and London Young Labour. The person elected with the highest votes is elected first. The person with the highest vote total of the opposite gender is then elected second. This then alternates between genders until a total of 14, being 7 of each gender, are elected. In order to ensure this, no ballots can be sent out until a minimum of 7 candidates of each gender have been nominated.

There was a similar feeling amongst the members that the Chair appointing Co-Optees who have not been selected in a vote of the membership was undemocratic and against the principles of elected officers serving on the Executive Committee. As such it is proposed to scrap Co-Options to the Executive Committee. However the reason for introducing co-option in the first place was to increase the manpower on the Committee. As such it was felt the committee should expand from 12 to 14 elected members to provide them with the capacity necessary for the good governance of the organisation and broader spectrum of ideas.

Basic Governance Procedures.

Procedures for the resignation or removal of Executive Committee members. 

The current constitution includes no procedures for internal governance in the situation that one or more members of the Executive Committee resigns, or if it is thought desirable for their removal. The proposed new constitution provides a clear and transparent mechanism for this, whereby an officer can resign and be replaced by the first “runner-up” in the elections. It also provides procedures for either nine members of the Executive Committee or 3% of the membership to call an Extraordinary General Meeting for the removal of an officer. These are basic governance procedures which allow for transparency and openness in the case of a resignation or if it is felt an Executive Committee member should be removed.

 Networks and Alumni Relations

Networks are included and codified and the EC is mandated to ensure good relations with the Alumni.

Luke John Davies, Chair of the International Network, and Jun Bo Chan, Chair of the Education Network, have codified the practices by which networks run and these are included in the constitution for the first time, in order to reflect the way in which the Young Fabians now operate and the manner in which the majority of members now interact with the organisation.

Additionally the Executive Committee is now mandated to ensure the Young Fabians retain good relationships with the organisation's alumni, who are one of our biggest resources. The manner in which this is to be done is left open as this is likely to adapt and evolve over time and it was felt that there should be flexibility in this.

Opportunities to propose and vote for amendments will be available on the day of the AGM.  

You can download and read through the proposed new constitution here. You can also download and have a read a copy of the current constitution here.

If you have any questions regarding the new constitution please contact us. You can contact Luke John Davies on internationalnetwork@youngfabians.org.uk or Martin Edobor on medobor@youngfabians.org.uk.


Final #YFChina delegation blog

October 21, 2015
Contact: paulina jakubec

The final day of the Young Fabians International Network delegation to China started off with a meeting with the All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU).  Zhang Guoxian, head of International Development, briefly summarized the roles and functions of the ACFTU that are aimed at creating a ‘harmonious’ workers- employers relationship.  These included compensation and protection over health, travel and legal issues that are paid through the membership.  Jessica Toale, Young Fabians Executive Member, then presented the history of the Trade Union movement in the UK before questions were exchanged. It was interesting to note the similar trends that both countries faced with membership sign ups.  The rise of SMEs and self-employment has challenged the traditional purpose of trade unions and the demographics of membership indicate issues with reaching out to young people.  Another noteworthy question asked by the ACFTU was around legal aid and the recent changes.  Victoria Desmond, Co-Founder of Labour Campaign for Mental Health, provided her insights into the repercussions of Conservative policy changes to workers’ rights of representation.

Our second meeting of the day was with the Publicity Department of the Communist Youth League. The raison d’etre of the department is to reach out to the Chinese youth via social media platforms through campaigns and broadcasts.  One such campaign was to get the Chinese flag trending on the Weibo platform, another patriotic campaign on Wechat had 89million take part in celebrating ‘martyrs and heroes’ of WWII.  Regular broadcasts of state messages are also sent via social media such as warning young people about the dangers of smoking and food waste.  It should be noted that they state having editorial independence mainly out of the party being too busy to micromanage all of their activities. The department staff members were interested in our thoughts in how they could best export a positive view of China to the world, although both sides also realised that this would be difficult as there is a divergence to the tone as well as the different use of social media platforms (with Facebook and Twitter blocked in China but predominately used in Western nations).

The final meeting of the delegation was with social entrepreneurs at the China Youth Daily (CYD). Xu Ge, the Editor of CYD, introduced the recent impetus on social entrepreneurship from Premier Li Keqiang to be seen as a path of ‘friendship and communication China and the UK’.  Wei Heping, Secretary of CYD, raised the point that despite extensive research from 150 social entrepreneurs from 22 provinces , China can learn from the model of social companies in the UK.  There was also an interest in Fabian ‘gradualism’ as a means to cultivate the desired culture and pioneering services.

The Young Fabians delegation was aptly timed before the arrival of President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UK this week as part of a Europe tour.  As a follow up to his visit and the Young Fabian delegation, the Young Fabians will host an event on the 26th of October with Liam Byrne MP to discuss the subsequent steps for the UK-China relationship.  To mark the end of an 18 month programme, delegates and contributors of the “ China-Ready: Equipping Britain for an Asian Future" pamphlet will provide their opinions alongside audience participation into what the two nations can learn from their relationship.

I would personally like to thank the Fabian Society, the Young Fabians, Jessica Toale for leading the delegation, Joel Mullan for initiating the programme, as well as fellow delegates, Fabian members and contributors to the Young Fabian China Programme.

 By Junaed Khan

 

 

 


#YFChina Day 4: A Golden Era?

October 16, 2015
Contact: paulina jakubec
2015 has been described as a “Golden Year” in UK-China relations. Prince William, David Cameron and George Osborne – and now the Young Fabians International Network – have all visited China this year. Next week President Xi Jinping will visit the UK. This is also the first ever UK-China Year of Culture.
 
Much of the focus of this burgeoning relationship has been on trade and investment between the UK and China. In fact, the UK embassy in Beijing is now our largest and is dominated by its economic and trade section.
 
Despite China’s recent economic slowdown, GDP growth still registers at around 7.5%. Given the size of the Chinese economy this meant that in 2013-14, China effectively added an economy the size of the Netherlands to its GDP.
 
Much of the slowdown in the Chinese economy has come from a decrease in industrial activity and fixed asset investment – investment in property, manufacturing, and resources – as China tries to build a more consumer and service driven economy. This is described as the “new normal”.
 
Today our delegation visited the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC), an organisation focused on helping to develop a strong economic relationship between the UK and China and on harnessing China’s desire to “go global”. They told us that there has been a concerted effort by the Chinese government to increase outbound investment, and that in 2015 for the first time the volume of outbound investment surpassed that of inbound. Chinese investment abroad went from $2bn in 2004 to $116bn in 2012, bucking all international trends.
 
The UK has been a beneficiary of this drive. From 2010-2014 the UK went from being the 21st largest recipient of Chinese direct investment to the fourth.
 
China’s drive to increase its outward economic power can be embodied in the One Belt, One Road – or New Silk Road – initiative, in which the UK is an investor through the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. This will essentially provide the hardware across China and Central Asia for China to increase its trade capacity and connection to Europe.
 
A big theme of this delegation so far has been mutual learning and innovation. China’s move to look outward is being driven by not only by the need to access new markets but also, importantly for the UK-China relationship, by the desire to harness technology transfer and learn from international practice.
 
On a domestic level the Chinese have been increasing investment in R&D and been implementing measures to increase indigenous innovation. This includes major public investment into incubator spaces and procurement rules which exclude foreign technology companies. Internationally this means an increasing amount of investment into UK tech companies. The CBBC told us about a number of joint initiatives to increase partnership and innovation between our two countries including the Launchpad, Newton Fund and the upcoming UK-China Tech Hub, which will support UK companies into Chinese incubators.
 
On this theme, we also visited Beijing Goldenway Biotech (BGB), the largest food waste treatment plant in the world. This company secured the patents for all its hardware and processes from the UK and uses European product quality standards. It was explained that this was because the UK has a strong technology influence around the world and it gave them a strong base from which to promote their innovation. They were also looking to expand their collaborations with universities in the UK and hoped to expand their operations to the UK. While much is made of the barriers to doing business in China, which the CBBC described as overblown, BGB explained that they were frustrated by their inability to easily locate information on UK planning regulations and subsidies on the gov.uk website.
 
Many of our Chinese hosts have expressed a strong desire to enhance global working practices to solve problems and promote peace. Their emphasis has been on finding common ground and putting to one side our differences.
 
The significant progress on the economic and trade relationship between our two countries is a prime example of this common ground. However, we also heard that the UK Government’s recent decision to put aside human rights in favour of focusing on our economic relationship has damaged its reputation with the Chinese Government and the rest of the Western diplomatic community.  
 
This will certainly do some harm to the UK’s standing not only with China but also in other contexts and must be something that should be carefully considered by the Government. Building a strong diplomatic relationship based on mutual trust and respect with China will require strong economic and political exchange if we are to truly usher in a golden era of UK-China relations.
 
By Jessica Toale, Young Fabians International Network Steering Committee

#YFChina: Policy & Ping Pong in Peking

October 15, 2015
Contact: paulina jakubec

The third day of the Young Fabians delegation took us to the Chinese Youth University of Political Studies. We started the day with Professor Hou Xin, Vice Dean of the University’s School of Social Work and Junaed Khan, Young Fabians, speaking about social work. The former gave an insight into the marginalised communities in China and in particular the 'floating population' (economic migrants) and the latter gave the case for social work in the UK.

Hou Xin mentioned that social work was a recent development in China as it has only come into being in the last 30 years. It was interesting to note the community emphasis China base around social care, committing to a bold aspiration of having 1.4m social workers by 2020. Other policy ideas also emerged, such as having one social worker per street.

This is a prime example of differences between Western culture and Chinese culture as the UK model of social work is focused on the individual, whereas policies such as this come from the communal perspective.

Hon Xin also highlighted the many different cultures within China, the challenges this poses in ensuring everyone has adequate support and the difference in economic prosperity between Western China and the major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. She explained that people, much like in the UK, head for the cities for better opportunities.

We also learn about the 55m 'leftover' children, who are left to be looked after by their grandparents whilst their own parents leave their home to find employment elsewhere.

Victoria Desmond, Young Fabian and founder of Labour Campaign for Mental Health, asked what policies were in place for people who suffer from severe mental health issues. It became apparent that, much like other countries, the stigma around mental health is still prevalent in China and most people we spoke with seemed hesitant to engage with discussion on mental health, highlighting again potential similarities with the UK.

Dr Song Yanhui, who specialises in Youth Study and I, Unsa Chaudri, led the afternoon session on Generation Y (people born between 1980 and early 1990s) and Young Development.

Culture and personal identity were recurring themes and we were surprised to learn that the ice bucket challenge, Gangnam Style and Downton Abbey were so popular in both countries.

We learnt we had much in common with the young people in China and one of the students made a rather poignant remark about the perception older people tend to have. He said that Generation Y are not lazy or self-centred we just have different opinions to our parents, we value different things - but that does not mean we are any less.

The discussion soon moved on to the political involvement young people have and after describing the potential ways to become involved in the UK, the Chinese students wondered if they too can actually have an influence on policy.

Participation in politics for young people in China resonated with the thoughts many of us have in the UK. Young people were statistically more likely to take part if it was online, we are, after all, known as the technology generation.

We were then able to glimpse into the future of Chinese technology and social media through visiting New Space, an exciting innovation hub.

The day came to a close with a dinner with many influential guests including Madam Deng Yaping, six time Wolrd Champion and four time Olympic Champion table tennis player and a leading figure in the All China Women's Federation, Wu Jiasong the President of the Youth Federation and Wang Shengjiang, CEO of New Space.

We were all very thankful for our invite and it is safe to say everyone enjoyed a very delicious (hen hao chi) meal. 

By Unsa Chaudri is a Young Fabians member.

 

 

 

 


Day 2 China delegation

October 14, 2015
Contact: paulina jakubec

Day 2- An Oriental Conference- Swapping Brighton for Beijing.

The Second Day of the Young Fabians in China saw the beginning of our official conference with the Chinese Youth University of Political Studies, a premier institute in China specialising in a broad range of social science topics, with a specific focus on youth engagement and participation- finely complementing the broad aims and aspirations of the Young Fabians. 

The initial theme of discussion- “Sino-British Relations” saw Dr Chai Baoyang, Dean of Public Administration, and yours truly, Rishi Patel, Young Fabians, speak on how best we can achieve mutual trust and co-operation, fostering enhanced economic, cultural and human exchange.

Dr Chai’s realist take on the relationship rested on the idea that there is neither such a thing as an eternal friendship, or eternal enmity; and that like every relationship respect and tolerance are key. He welcomed the UK’s efforts to invest and dialogue with China, but stressed that for the relationship to be successful, the UK would be wise to put aside hang-ups about sovereignty, human rights and how to “handle” a multi-ethnic society.

Given Dr Chai’s views, I was hesitant to engage too openly about my own uneasiness with regards to the Tibet and Hong Kong issues. It’s clear that these are a complex issues intertwined in this nation’s price and psyche, and so I focused, perhaps chicken-heartedly, on investment opportunities and cross-cultural exchange, before looking at prospects and challenges for the future. We talked Brexit- I’m increasingly beginning to hear that the Chinese do view Britain as a good soft landing point for the European Union, and leaving would create more challenges than opportunities for us. Dr Chai’s final remarks were pertinent- the relationship will only improve through people to people dialogue, and it was reassuring to see his enthusiasm about the Young Fabians’ visit, as a key example of just that.

Our international relations morning moved to economic reform, and an insightful session with Mr Li Minghzi, Director of the Chinese Communist Party’s Economic Office, and how to prevent China from falling into a “middle-income trap.” Mr Minghzi described the almost neo-liberal stance China is increasingly taking with regards to removing public sector control of assets and industries. We touched on our own experiences and aspirations for the UK, and talked about the contemporary will for a responsible capitalism benefitting all sections of society, as well as alleviating inequalities. I think the overarching aim for the Communist party is to create an economic balance- between consumption and production, state and markets.

The final session looked at a subject close to all our hearts- opportunities for young people in both China and the UK. Again we are perhaps depressingly, faced with the same common challenges and themes. A chronic skills misalignment between the jobs available, and what young people are encouraged and qualified to do. Stereotypes from birth based on gender and prestige, where certain jobs are reserved subconsciously for certain members of society, and certain jobs are prized whilst others sneered at, showed the hurdles both China and the UK still face, when attempting to create a more equal society. 

A silver lining was perhaps to hear about the innovative policies China is rolling out, such as encouraging and funding paid work for graduates in underdeveloped Western China, for example work allowing young people to use their digital skills to empower marginalised and rural communities to connect with China’s boom, through technology. 

What really stuck with me however was a discussion we had with a bright Chinese student contemplating further study in the UK. She perplexedly asked, why don’t British people want people like me to put my skills and training  into practice, at work? Lamenting recent crackdowns to the post study working visas, we replied with equal frustration, at the policy’s short-sightedness. This case of a bright student wavering in her choice to choose the UK for higher education demonstrates the profound implications this Government’s immigration policy has for the UK’s future economic prosperity, especially as the role foreign students developing cross-border enterprise and exchange relationships gathers increasing importance. 

 

By Rishi Patel, Young Fabians


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