Model United Nations is an academic activity which aims to allow youths to simulate the functioning of the United Nations in order to improve their debating and oratory skills as well as allowing them to fully engage with current affairs. Some members of the current Y12 had the chance to attend one of the multiple European conferences set up by the organisation this month of January in the Colegio Ayalde in Bilbao.
Each student who took part in the conference had the task of representing a different country in a wide range of committees such as Human Rights, Sustainable Development Goals or Disarmament and International Security. Before their arrival to the conference, the delegates had to prepare position papers exploring their designated country’s stance on the issues discussed in each committee such as the question of access to healthcare in prison or the prevention of arms race in outer space.
Upon arrival to Bilbao, the students attended the opening ceremony in which those acting as Ambassadors for their country gave a short speech outlining their interests and goals for the conference (Runnymede has several ambassadors such as ambassadors for North Korea and China). The students were able to meet people from international schools during the mixer organised after the ceremony and exchanged impressions and initial comments about the issues discussed.
Three days of intense debating ensued during which the delegates attempted to find other countries who shared similar opinions on the subjects discussed in order to get resolutions approved aligned with their designated countries’ interests. The resolutions submitted were presented in front of the committee and debated by all participants who were able to propose amendments in order to alter the resolutions. After a series of amendments the resolutions were voted on by the committee, with those passed being selected to be discussed at the General Assembly on the final day of the conference. The students were also able to explore the centre of Bilbao in the evenings, taking the opportunity to enjoy the local food as well as admiring the city’s impressive architecture such as the Guggenheim.
Several students from the school were honoured to receive awards during the conference such as best position paper (…)The experience was extremely rewarding for students who were able to expand their knowledge of current affairs and improve their public speaking while meeting people who share their same interests. Moreover, they also had the chance to listen to some speakers who took part in the conference such as Mr Evan Wesley, the Vice-president for student activation of Thirst Project, an organisation that aims to build freshwater wells in developing communities as well as Kudzai Mukaratirwa a consultant for the United Nations office for Drugs and Crime who started exploring international affairs through MUN.
By Angélica O, Year 12