Scottish Borders MSYP meets Scotland’s First Minister

Four people standing looking at the camera, two female and two males

Published: Thursday, 14th December 2017

Scottish Borders MSYP and Youth Voice member, Sanna Aziz has met with Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon to talk about taking part in the Jo Cox Memorial Exchange programme in August.

Jo Cox Memorial Exchange

Inspired by and in memory of the late MP who was murdered in West Yorkshire in 2016, the programme aims to continue Mrs Cox’s determination to resolve conflict in the UK and around the world. The exchange is an opportunity for young people aged 16-24 to share ideas on how communities in the UK and the United States can work together to promote hope and inclusion while standing up to hate and extremism.

Sanna (aged 17 from Galashiels) was one of hundreds of young people from across the country who were invited to apply because of their active engagement in promoting social cohesion in their local communities. She was delighted and honoured to be selected to be part of the programme.

Visit to the United States

While in the United States, Sanna and her fellow participants spent time in a range of diverse communities, experiencing the contrast between vibrant urban communities as well as those which are struggling with the loss of employment in traditional industries. There were site visits, discussions, workshops and professional appointments as well as time to enjoy cultural and social activities.

Sanna Aziz, Scottish Borders MSYP and Youth Voice member

“I was humbled to be given this amazing opportunity and to be able to expand my knowledge of the world and how it works. Since returning home, I have been sharing what I learned to try and make the Scottish Borders a more inclusive place.

“The group of young people I went on the trip with were all different and yet united in their fight for the one common goal – fighting for equality. Everyone wanted to learn from the experience and from each other. We had been given this great opportunity and wanted to ensure we made the best of it. I came back clear that I have work to do - I have a 12 month plan of things I want to achieve before I head off to university. But I will always continue to do my best in the fight for equality.”

On meeting Nicola Sturgeon, Sanna added: “I was very happy to discuss the Jo Cox Memorial exchange trip with the First Minister. She was very interested in the exchange and what our projects are going to be in our communities.”

Councillor Scott Hamilton, Children and Young People’s Champion

“This was an amazing opportunity for Sanna and I have no doubt that she made the most of her experience. The visit to Holyrood was organised because it was felt that this should be shared at the highest level in Scotland so that the First Minister is aware of the amazing young people who reside within her country.”

More information

Image is available on our Flickr page.