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Conference gives Lowestoft Sixth Form College students detailed insight into counter terrorism

PUBLISHED: 16:14 15 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:47 16 November 2017

The panel in the Take Your Place against Terrorism conference at the Lowestoft Sixth Form College, from left, Ivan Humble, former regional organiser of the English Defence League; Professor Nicholas Caldwell, Information Systems Engineering; Akinyemi Oyawale, PhD student in politics and international security; and Laura Davies, higher education champion, neaco. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The panel in the Take Your Place against Terrorism conference at the Lowestoft Sixth Form College, from left, Ivan Humble, former regional organiser of the English Defence League; Professor Nicholas Caldwell, Information Systems Engineering; Akinyemi Oyawale, PhD student in politics and international security; and Laura Davies, higher education champion, neaco. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

It is a topic that appears in newspapers and on televisions across the globe - but one many do not have succinct understanding of.

The panel in the Take Your Place against Terrorism conference at the Lowestoft Sixth Form College, from left, Ivan Humble, former regional organiser of the English Defence League; Professor Nicholas Caldwell, Information Systems Engineering; Akinyemi Oyawale, PhD student in politics and international security; and Laura Davies, higher education champion, neaco. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The panel in the Take Your Place against Terrorism conference at the Lowestoft Sixth Form College, from left, Ivan Humble, former regional organiser of the English Defence League; Professor Nicholas Caldwell, Information Systems Engineering; Akinyemi Oyawale, PhD student in politics and international security; and Laura Davies, higher education champion, neaco. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

However students at a Lowestoft Sixth Form College now have a better understanding of the word terrorism, after a full day of debate, discussion and talks around it.

Year 12 students at the college have taken part in a conference arranged in collaboration with the Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach (neaco) called Take Your Place Against terrorism.

The panel in the Take Your Place against Terrorism conference at the Lowestoft Sixth Form College, from left, Ivan Humble, former regional organiser of the English Defence League; Professor Nicholas Caldwell, Information Systems Engineering; Akinyemi Oyawale, PhD student in politics and international security; and Laura Davies, higher education champion, neaco. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The panel in the Take Your Place against Terrorism conference at the Lowestoft Sixth Form College, from left, Ivan Humble, former regional organiser of the English Defence League; Professor Nicholas Caldwell, Information Systems Engineering; Akinyemi Oyawale, PhD student in politics and international security; and Laura Davies, higher education champion, neaco. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The conference saw students take part in a variety of workshops and discussions designed to dispel misconceptions and educate around the controversial matter.

It also saw a wide range of guest speakers take part in question and answer sessions and a panel, including Muslim scholar and former jihadist Manwar Ali and former English Defence League organiser Ivan Humble.

Lowestoft Sixth Form College students, Hayley Chambers, 18, left, and Ellie Harper, 16, who are taking part in the Take Your Place against Terrorism conference. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Lowestoft Sixth Form College students, Hayley Chambers, 18, left, and Ellie Harper, 16, who are taking part in the Take Your Place against Terrorism conference. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

David Gartland, college vice principal said: “The event was all about educating and breaking down preconceptions students may have about terrorism and raise awareness of the different forms it can take.

“We were lucky enough to have some really insightful speakers with extremely interesting perspectives, making it quite the eye-opening experience for our students.”

UEA student ambassador, Alex Smith, leads a breakout group in the Take Your Place against Terrorism conference at the Lowestoft Sixth Form College. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY UEA student ambassador, Alex Smith, leads a breakout group in the Take Your Place against Terrorism conference at the Lowestoft Sixth Form College. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Also among the speakers were Nicholas Caldwell - a lecturer from the University of Suffolk who discussed cyberterrorism - and University of East Anglia researcher Akinyeme Oyawale who discussed what terrorism is and its placement in politics.

Hayley Chambers, an 18-year-old student from Wrentham, said: “Before today when I heard the word terrorism, all I really thought of was suicide bombers, but now I feel I really understand that it can be so much more than just that.”

Students at the Lowestoft Sixth Form College take part in a breakout session from the Take Your Place against Terrorism conference. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Students at the Lowestoft Sixth Form College take part in a breakout session from the Take Your Place against Terrorism conference. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Fellow student Ellie Harper, 16 of Lowestoft, added: “I have learned people who have bad thoughts can have the capacity to change them into something positive.”

Laura Davies, a neaco higher education champion, said: “We were delighted to have helped organise such a diverse event. I hope it gave a great taste of some alternative areas of study to pursue at higher education level whilst discussing topics relevant to the world today.”

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