I Have a Dream Says First Black President (of the Oxford Union); Breaking Down Barriers: Lewis Iwu Hailed Barack Obama's Symbolic Achievement in a Debate Last Night. Obama, Left, Was the First Black President at the Harvard Law School. Iwu Went from Newham to the Dreaming Spires of Oxford, Below

The Evening Standard (London, England), November 11, 2008 | Go to article overview

I Have a Dream Says First Black President (of the Oxford Union); Breaking Down Barriers: Lewis Iwu Hailed Barack Obama's Symbolic Achievement in a Debate Last Night. Obama, Left, Was the First Black President at the Harvard Law School. Iwu Went from Newham to the Dreaming Spires of Oxford, Below


Byline: AMAR SINGH

THE FIRST black president of Oxford University's Student Union has said Britain needs its own Barack Obama to help remove barriers and give young people a role model they can relate to.

Lewis Iwu, a 22-year-old from Forest Gate, east London who aspires to have a political career of his own, said: "A black British prime minister would bridge a huge gap and help young people realise that they can achieve success in public life.

"It's not impossible that we could see one in the coming years there are some really talented kids out there and who knows how many future political stars out there?" Mr Iwu's was contradicting the head of the Equality Commission, Trevor Phillips, who believes institutionalised racism would not allow the rise of a British Barack Obama.

Mr Iwu added: "My philosophy is that if you are good enough at something then nothing can stop you. There are barriers but that should not stop you from going for it. I think Obama is a massively inspirational man and last week gave us all an incredibly symbolic moment. A lot of people were moved by it in Britain, but to have a success like that over here would really give the country a massive boost for generations to come." Mr Iwu was speaking at the City Hall launch of Debate Mate, a mentoring scheme in which university students help pupils from inner- city schools develop debating skills. The initiative helps young people refine their verbal intelligence and thus improve their career prospects.

Mr Iwu went to St Bonaventure's in Forest Gate, a boy's comprehensive with one of the best records in London for getting black pupils into university, before studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford the course seen as a vital step on the ladder for many aspiring political leaders.

Past Oxford PPE students include David Cameron, Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper, Ruth Kelly, David Miliband, William Hague and James Purnell.

Earlier this year Mr Iwu became the student union's first black president after winning 39 per cent of votes against three other candidates.

Like Mr Obama, Mr Iwu was commended for his charismatic public speaking and ability to appeal to a vast electorate during his campaign. Last year his team won the World Debating Championship in Thailand, beating teams from Cambridge, Yale and Harvard. …

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I Have a Dream Says First Black President (of the Oxford Union); Breaking Down Barriers: Lewis Iwu Hailed Barack Obama's Symbolic Achievement in a Debate Last Night. Obama, Left, Was the First Black President at the Harvard Law School. Iwu Went from Newham to the Dreaming Spires of Oxford, Below
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