A group of 11 upper school pupils from Dauntsey’s has recently attended the 24th Bath International Schools’ Model United Nations (MUN) Conference.
Some 650 students from a range of schools took part, representing 124 member states of the UN in two days of debate on a range of issues facing the global community today, including the situation in Syria, climate change, the rights of the disabled, weapons of mass destruction and internet freedom.
Alistair Blackburn, Secretary General for this year's conference, focused on the challenge posed by extremism, and the practical steps we can all take to ensure the voices of moderation are always heard. Saturday saw the conference participants break up into their separate specialist committees, before, on Sunday, the conference climaxed with the emergency scenarios, where the delegates were asked to respond to an unexpected international crisis; this year these ranged from genocide in Africa to the imminent threat of war between Russia and the Ukraine.
A Dauntsey’s pupil who attended the conference said:
“One of the toughest parts of the conference was lobbying other people about the resolutions proposed. The aim is to find your allies and work together to put forward resolutions for debate in the Committees held on Sunday.
“The debating can get quite intense at times with carefully worded diplomatic insults being traded in speeches. The emergency debates on Sunday really challenge delegates to think on their feet and this is the time when it becomes clear who really knows their country’s geo-political stance. It was an amazing experience and I learnt such a lot about debating and public speaking by taking part.”
Julian Holland, Head of Religious Studies, Dauntsey’s said:
“The MUN programme is a such a valuable worldwide initiative. It provides a wonderful opportunity for students interested in politics, public speaking, history and geography to develop an appreciation of world affairs and how resolutions should be developed and debated.
“Participating in the Bath International Schools’ conference gave us all a valuable insight into the world of diplomacy and international relations. There was much food for thought for us all.”