Nine Oundle pupils attended the ninth Model United Nations (MUN) conference at Felsted School, along with 25 schools from across the UK and overseas. The conference theme was “Empowering women and girls to achieve global equality”.
The Model UN Conference is an educational simulation and academic conference in which students can learn about diplomacy, international relations and the United Nations. Pupils represented different country members of the UN, voicing the opinions of that country in order to bring about positive change. Delegates conducted research before the conference and formulated positions that they then debated with their fellow delegates in the committee, staying true to the actual position of the member country they represented.
The delegates from Oundle were split between representation for Saudi Arabia and France. They were then divided into five different committees that mirrored UN committees, and over two days they debated topics ranging from preservation of women’s rights in war torn countries, gender pay gap, healthcare and clean energy in a style of debate nearly identical to that used by the United Nations.
In a general committee session, the delegation for Saudi Arabia successfully debated their opposition to the proposed introduction of a burqa-ban backed by countries including Oundle’s France. At smaller committee level the delegates vigorously put forward their country’s positions (despite any opposing personal opinions). In the Environmental and Ecological Committee, Ed Hodgson (Sc), representing Saudi Arabia, argued against the move from fossil fuels, while Jerri Li (F), representing France, argued the opposition. In the Human Rights Committee, Joseph Meisner (L), of Saudi Arabia, managed to fend off criticism of his country with ease, and in the Security Council, Rufus Lee-Brown (S), from France, managed to get some legislation past the veto-holding Russian and Chinese heavyweights in the room.
One of the key elements to success at MUN is being able to reach out to other countries through private, persuasive dialogue, and pupils enjoyed the opportunity to practice their written and verbal debating skills. They gained an appreciation for different viewpoints, learned how to deal with other positions, and emerged from the conference with a genuine and far reaching understanding of how the United Nations is able to pass meaningful legislation on a global scale.
On the 16th to 18th March a new delegation of keen debaters will be at Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School for what promises to be an even larger and equally exciting Model UN conference.
Ed Hodgson (Sc)