Oundle pupils joined more than 700 delegates from around the world at the three-day Oxford Model United Nations conference to debate emerging global issues.

The Oxford Model UN Conference is an educational simulation and academic conference in which pupils can learn about diplomacy, international relations and the UN. Pupils represent different country members of the UN, voicing the opinions of that country in order to bring about positive change.

The Oundle delegates represented Japan on different committees that debated a wide range of issues. Among the debates, Ned Sekula’s (C) resolution on the regulation of crypto currencies passed with a significant majority, and earned him an honourable mention as best delegate at the awards ceremony. Ossian Finch (C) sponsored a resolution with Canada and Egypt on the funding and regulation of telecommunications in developing countries, while Tom Caskey’s (L) resolution to tackle the destabilizing accumulation of small arms was passed by a majority of 15, although predictably the clause to entirely suspend small arms trade was cut by the US.

Debate at the Model UN is not just about winning at all costs, it’s about diplomacy and compromise, ensuring that a law is acceptable to as many stakeholders as possible. Typical debate involves persuasive speaking as well as written messages passed between delegates. During the three days, pupils found themselves dealing with emerging crises that interrupted normal routines, and through peace talks and ceasefires, they averted nuclear war and widespread EU protests. Committee members also had the opportunity to listen to visiting speakers who talked about relevant issues.

The conference makes use of some of the most prestigious venues at Oxford, and is facilitated by Oxford University United Nations Association. We were delighted to meet up again with veteran Model UN participant Ed Hodgson (School 2019), now in his first year at Oxford, who chaired one of the committees.