Sam Macartney Award/Lecture – Fri 23 Feb

Sam Macartney Award for International Solidarity

Award & Commemoration Lecture

Friday 23 Feb

7pm prompt, (doors open 6.30pm)

Glasgow City UNISON office

Eventbrite booking details below


Join us to honour this year’s Sam Macartney Award recipient Stephen Smellie and to hear about solidarity work with Kurdistan.

We are also pleased to announce that the annual Palestine solidarity Lecture in Sam’s name, will be given by Mohammed Alazraq, from the Lajee Centre Project, in Aida Refugee Camp, in the West Bank.

There will be a Kurdish buffet (served at 7pm prompt, doors open 6.30pm) and music. (A glass of wine/a beer/soft drink will be served with the food, but for the rest of the evening it’s a Bring Your Own Bottle BYOB event.) Address: 84 Bell Street, Glasgow G1 1LQ.

Register for your free place on Eventbrite here.

Stephen is pictured above, right, being presented with the award at our Scottish Council in December by International Committee Co-Chair Tony Caleary.

Tony said Stephen, who is UNISON Scotland’s depute Convener, was being honoured for his outstanding international solidarity work over many years, but particularly for his focus on Turkey and Kurdistan. This has included building solidarity with progressive trade unions and highlighting the attack on democracy and human rights and the persecution of democratic trade unions under President Erdogan’s regime.

(Read more about the nomination, by Stephen’s South Lanarkshire branch, in Scotland in UNISON here, incl on campaigning work with KESK and DISK and solidarity with Kurdistan )

After the presentation of the award, Stephen will introduce speakers Uger and Emine from the Scottish Kurdish Community Centre, followed by a short discussion.

Mohammed will then give the Sam Macartney Commemoration Lecture. He is pictured here speaking at last year’s joint regional UNISON international seminar in Glasgow, with Patricia McKeown, Regional Secretary from UNISON in Northern Ireland, who have been working with the Lajee Centre.

He will speak about the project’s work, as well as discussing the horrific situation for Palestinians still undergoing intense Israeli bombardment in Gaza, despite widespread calls for a ceasefire and last month’s ruling from the International Court of Justice in The Hague on South Africa’s genocide case against Israel.

Sam Macartney is much missed. He was Chair, later Co-Chair, of the UNISON Scotland International Committee. Solidarity with Palestine was one of Sam’s passions. See this report about the inaugural award in November 2022. The picture shows Sam, 2nd from left in front row, in Ramallah in 2016, meeting the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions as part of a UNISON delegation.

The award includes a financial award to the recipient’s nominated organisation and this year will also include a donation to Medical Aid for Palestinians, matching fundraising Tony Caleary organised, pic below, selling ‘Stand Up for Gaza/Stop the Killing’ and ‘Stand with Palestine’ coasters at UNISON events.


Thanks to all UNISON branches who generously funded this award to help celebrate Sam’s dedication and commitment to international solidarity. And thanks to everyone who bought the coasters! As you know, UNISON Scotland and many branches and UNISON at UK level have all been donating to MAP, needed now more than ever.

UNISON is urging support for MAP and the Red Cross – details here.