TWS is running Cambridge’s first Global Health Policy Conference. Gabriel Lambert writes about what it hopes to achieve, and why you should get involved.
In May 2013 a group of policy authors responsible for the Wilberforce Society paper on using a marketing approach to prevent Non-Communicable Diseases in the developing world presented their work to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Global Health at the House of Lords. It was very well received, to the extent that both Lord Kakkar and Lord Crisp contributed a Forward to the paper for its publication. It served as a simple but powerful reminder that a group of motivated and intelligent students can create a meaningful contribution to public policy.
This episode was one of the motivating factors behind wanting to organise the Global Health Policy Conference. Its primary aim is to follow in the footsteps of previous Wilberforce Society authors and create a whole body of well-researched policy papers that we hope will have an impact on some of the central global health debates of recent years. By working with Medsin Cambridge, it is hoped that some of these papers will form the basis for future campaigning work.
It will seek to reinforce the idea that students can and should be providing fresh ideas for policy-makers – it is rare for politicians to have either the extended length of time in which to engage with a single issue or the ideological freedom to come up with novel approaches to old problems. This is where groups like the Wilberforce Society can excel. Finally, it should demonstrate to students that as well as traditional engagement with the ‘Third Sector’ involving fundraising and awareness-raising, they should be critically engaging with the issues they are campaigning about to come up with practical policy solutions themselves.
We have a wide range of positions available for the conference – we need a committee to handle the logistics leading up to and on the day of the conference itself as well as a large group of authors and editors to work on our policy papers. Absolutely no experience in policy-writing is necessary – almost all of the Wilberforce Society’s authors have never written a policy paper before. All we look for is enthusiasm about the subject of global health policy.
We expect the conference authors, as well as the satisfaction of pitching and publishing their policy ideas, will gain a good understanding of what makes a persuasive paper.This valuable experience would assist in any future job offers to the development, public health or charitable sectors in particular. As for the conference committee, you will be instrumental in securing the success of the conference whether it be by selecting and managing the right venue, fundraising, or creating our promotional materials. The process of helping to manage such a large project should again, provide useful experience whatever future work one wanted to pursue.
You can find out more about the roles available, some provisional themes we may explore, and how to apply on our Facebook page: