The Perse School

Perse students’ success at their first Model United Nations conference

11 Mar 2014

Twenty Perse students from Year 11 and Year 12 took part in their first Model United Nations Conference (MUN) on Saturday 8 March, as part of their Enrichment course. MUN is an international network of hundreds of schools and universities in which young people simulate the work of the United Nations by meeting to discuss pressing political, socioeconomic and humanitarian issues. Each participating school represents a UN member state and puts forward students as ‘delegates’ on various committees such as the Security Council, the Human Rights Committee and the Disarmament Committee, amongst others. Their objective is to pass resolutions that provide viable solutions to global problems or disputes. MUN is thus a fantastic way for students to broaden their understanding of current affairs, critique international events and polish their public speaking skills.

Our current MUN students have been honing their debating and resolution-writing talents since September in preparation for their much-anticipated visit to the annual City of London School MUN conference. We were asked to represent five countries on this occasion: Algeria, Colombia, Germany, Ghana and the Russian Federation, the latter of which earned Arslan Abdullah (Year 11) a much-coveted place on the Security Council. The students arrived having carefully crafted a number of resolutions, the quality of which was indicated by the fact that many of these were chosen by the CLS committee chairs for debate on the day.

Arslan succeeded in getting his resolution on the situation in South Sudan discussed on the Security Council, speaking dozens of times in what is a small and thus quite pressurised environment. Our students were also vocal in other committees and we were delighted to witness all twenty of them speaking at some point during the day, quite an achievement given their lack of experience. Daniel Jackson (L6) impressed with his knowledge of nuclear fission and fusion in the Economic and Social Council, presenting a resolution to extend reactor facilities. Jazmin Stuart (L6) likewise proved a force to be reckoned with on the Environment Committee, aggressively asserting Russia’s oil rights in the Arctic. Throughout the day, all our students succeeded in showcasing their eloquence and astute understanding of current affairs and international relations.

However, special mention must go to two of our students from the esteemed Political Committee; Hamza Wahid (L6) received Honourable Mention for his performance representing Algeria, and Tom Harwood (L6) was Highly Commended for his impassioned speeches on US dominance of global cyber surveillance, only narrowly missing out on the title of Outstanding Delegate. No doubt he will be setting his sights on this accolade next year!

The students proved to be a credit to the School during this maiden venture of the Perse MUN group. We hope it has fed their enthusiasm and that future MUN students will build on the fantastic foundation that this group has built.

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