Aston student hosts UN conference

Hassnain UN conference

25th September 2014

A United Nations conference held at Aston University was organised and hosted by one of the institution’s own undergraduate students.

Hassnain Safdar co-ordinated the United Nations Association of the UK (UNA-UK) Central Region annual general meeting, the first UN event to be held at Aston in the University’s near 50-year history.

The UNA-UK is a grassroots offshoot of the UN, dedicated to building a fairer, more sustainable world and connecting people to the values of the UN. Delegates from the organisation’s other regional branches travelled to be at the Central Region event, which took place this month.

At the conference, Hassnain chaired discussions on the success of the UN’s Millennium Development Agenda, a series of goals ranging from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015. He then led those in attendance in a debate about the organisation’s targets and ambitions after the deadline next year has passed and the forthcoming Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The second-year Optometry student also announced the UNA-UK’s intention of teaming up with the Birmingham Rugby Partnership (BRP) in advance of the Rugby World Cup 2015. The Partnership aims to develop the profile of Birmingham as a major rugby city and the UNA Central Region, through international links and experience, has offered to help them realise their ambition. BRP aims to leave a rugby legacy beyond 2015 in European countries new to the game. The UN believes that sport has a unique power to attract, mobilise and inspire in pursuit of development and peace.

Peter Grace, Chairman of BRP, spoke passionately at the conference about further spreading the love of sport, and specifically rugby, throughout the UK. Junior male and female players from Aston Old Edwardians and Sutton Coldfield RFCwere also invited to talk at the event by Barrie Oxtoby, Co-Chair of the Central Region UNA-UK.

Hassnain, Captain of the University’s Model United Nations Society, said:“It was a great honour and a fantastic challenge to be able to host a meeting of such importance. It was exciting to be present as decisions were debated and made and relationships with new partners formed. I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop and come to fruition over the coming months and years.”

Earlier this year, 19-year-old Hassnain was given several awards and an honourable mention for his excellent debating skills and persuasive arguments at a series of  International Model United Nations conferences.


For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or