Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Heart of STAR 1994 - Andy Davies

In celebration of STAR’s 25th birthday, we took the time to reconnect and share the stories of the people who made it possible for STAR to be where it is today. These are The Hearts of STAR, these are the change-makers, who through the decades strived to positively impact the lives of refugees and create a welcoming society in the UK and we are proud to share their stories with you on this Refugee Week 2020.

Andy Davies

1994 – 1996 [although started pitching the idea of STAR in 1992]
The Founder of the first-ever STAR group, Nottingham STAR
Current job: Correspondent, Channel 4 News

How and why did you get involved in STAR?

In 1992 I was glancing through the July edition of UNHCR’s ‘Refugees’ publication and was staggered by the statistics of displaced people around the world. It struck me that within the UK’s myriad student societies, not one was devoted exclusively to this subject area. I wrote to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva pitching the idea of a network of student societies specifically aimed at refugee issues. They replied: ‘We like your idea. A lot’. 18 months later STAR first appeared at a Nottingham University Freshers Fayre – I’d been asked to set it up as a pilot scheme.

What impact did you see STAR have on your community?

a. At university
The concept of a group like STAR just seemed to strike a chord with so many students. The response I had when I set up the first stall, seeking members, was remarkable. There was huge enthusiasm for the idea and that brought a wonderful energy to the whole project.

b. Locally
One of my central ambitions for STAR was that it provided a means to help make refugees and asylum-seekers feel welcome in a community. To that end, the support of STAR members in teaching English to some in the community felt like a very important and tangible part of the STAR project.

What is your favourite thing about STAR?

The joy I’ve seen it bring to all those involved.

What impact did STAR have on your life or on what you do now?

It introduced me to some wonderful people & transformed my time as a postgraduate student in Nottingham.

What message would you like to give the current STAR students?

Joining STAR will be one of the best decisions you will ever make as a student – you are as important to STAR now as any of us were in that first year. Thank you for being a part of it.

An inspirational quote from the heart of STAR

If you have a good idea, trust your instincts, and don’t ever doubt it’s worth pursuing.

Posted by STAR team on 17/06/2020 at 04:40 PM