Loughborough students speak at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

Two Loughborough University students have addressed officials from 53 nations at the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Devika Malik, a PhD student within the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, and Loughborough University London student Paul Ntulila attended the biennial summit meeting last week.

Devika was invited to talk about her experience as a para-athlete and the work she is doing to change the lives of young people with disabilities at the Formal Opening of the CHOGM.

She spoke about the Wheeling Happiness Foundation, a project she co-founded with her mum that aims to give people with disabilities the confidence to take part in sport whilst also equipping them with essential life skills.

Paul Ntulila also attended the meeting’s Commonwealth Youth Forumand presented a speech that addressed the inequality people with hearing impairments and disabilities experience in the UK and many other countries.

Paul – who is a deaf student studying MSc Diplomacy, Statecraft and Foreign Policy at Loughborough University London - discussed how he wanted inequality to be reduced and challenged governments to improve life for all citizens within their countries.

Following the forum, Paul commented: “This event was the best experience of my life. All three days were incredible and it was a hugely significant opportunity for me.

“To be able to go to such a large, high profile international event was a privilege, and strongly aligned with my passion for politics.”

The CHOGM takes place every two years and is attended by Presidents and Prime Ministers from the 53 nations of the Commonwealth, as well as lobbyists, journalists and the royal family.

Key topics discussed at this year’s event included trade, cyber security and ocean conservation.

You can read Devika’s speech at the CHOGM here, and find out more about Paul's story by watching this video and by reading his blog reflection on the event here.