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Queen Mary academics shape youth policies at an international conference

Academics from Queen Mary, University of London came together to shape future policy on youth and wellbeing this month, at the international ‘Careif Conference’.

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Careif (the Centre for Applied Research and Evaluation International Foundation) is led by Kamaldeep Bhui, Professor of Cultural Psychiatry and Epidemiology at Queen Mary’s Centre for Psychiatry. Their aim is to explore and promote mental and physical health, wellbeing and positive identities for young people through sport, education and cultural practice.

Professor Bhui explains: “Careif takes special interest in young people and their wellbeing; this conference is part of a series of actions we are working on to build a health legacy from the 2012 London Olympics.

“The focus on young people’s wellbeing goes beyond physical health - it also includes mental health, social and environmental factors. This includes how to live healthily and ensure that working practices and services are suited to different cultures and societies around the world.”

Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe MP attended the event and acknowledged that health and fitness was very high on the political agenda. He warned that by 2050, 60 per cent of the population in the UK would be clinically obese, hence Government plans to get 2m more people into sport. “Sport has the power to ignite people,” he said. “I want sport and physical activity to be at the heart of everything we achieve.”

Professor Paul Heritage, from the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary, spoke to delegates about a new cultural programme between Brazil and the UK, which is being run in association with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). He commented: “This is a series of performances, workshops, seminars and trainings which explore the skills and approaches that we need in the UK if we are to create arts and cultural projects that provide opportunities for young people to transform their lives.”

Among the other presenters and audience at the conference were a group of young people from various youth organisations around the UK. The conference was delivered in partnership with Africa Mental Health Foundation, People’s Palace Projects, Barbican Centre, Visit London, and various children’s charities.

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