At the end of Term 2, a selection of passionate, engaged Senior School students took part in organizing and running a Model United Nations activity for Secondary School Students, which proved to be a deeply insightful and enriching experience for all involved.
Taking place over a full day, the students were taken through a packed agenda that saw them experiencing first-hand the challenging, important work of the United Nations. They selected and evaluated two politically significant topics – prison abolition and the South China Sea.
Taking on the role of a particular country, students were required to debate from that country’s perspective, which may have differed politically, culturally, or morally from their own. This unique experience provided students with a greater grasp of the function of the United Nations assembly, and insights into how international resolutions are crafted.
“After seeing a great willingness from the student body to participate, I realised that this project would be a fun and educational experience for all involved”Nathan, year 12
When deciding to host this exciting initiative, School Captain Nathan Thiele said, “After seeing a great willingness from the student body to participate, I realised that this project would be a fun and educational experience for all involved. I have attended Model UN activities in the past, which were consistently enjoyable opportunities where I could meet like-minded students and discuss issues of great social importance.”
When debating the first topic – prison abolition – the students were required to develop a deep understanding of all aspects of the prison system. Participant Isabell Ni said, “From solitary confinement to mandatory minimum sentencing and the death penalty, this was a controversial topic that sparked legitimate debate.” Having debated the year prior in the UN National Conference, Isabell was already familiar with the process and the opportunities.
“Model UN trains you in dealing with the unexpected!”elle, year 12
“Our second option was the South China Sea, and this was a bit different,” Isabell said. “We all felt it was extremely relevant to us and our Australian context, and while we didn’t all have a prior understanding of the issue, it was important to be more globally minded citizens.”
While the topics were always going to be highly debatable, they were also surprising. “During our second resolution surrounding the South China Sea, there was an enthusiastic debate about the status of coconut crabs,” recalls Elle Hadiprodjo. “This was very much unexpected, and was received with great debate amongst the students. We ended up passing the resolution surrounding protecting coconut crabs in countries, which was received with great applause. I didn’t see this one coming, but I guess Model UN trains you in dealing with the unexpected!”