On Saturday 19th November, the school sent its first ever teams (delegations) to a Model United Nations Conference. This was hosted superbly by Malvern St James School who had clearly put months of hard work into it.
There were eight girls from St Mary’s, four representing Yemen and four representing South Africa – Alexandra, Diana, Ally, Coco, Anna, Hannah, Maiya and Jemima. The girls acquitted themselves admirably, managing to speak in their committees (Political, Human Rights, Economic and Health and Disarmament) and Hannah even speaking up on a point in the General Assembly in front of more than 250 people. As ever, the girls did themselves and the school proud and were commended by all who met them for their politeness and engagement with all they met.
They are already looking forward to the next Conference in March at Kingswood School.
Below are some comments from the girls on their experiences of the day:
Anna and I represented the Health and Disarmament Committee on Saturday. We discussed topics of Zika Virus and Bioterrorism. In Spite of heated debates, both delegates and Chairs were very open and friendly. They supported the new delegations, like ours, throughout the whole day. The thing that we liked the most is that they managed to maintain the serious aspects of this meeting while making it funny and more enjoyable by allowing delegates to ‘bribe’ Chairs with sweets.
Coco and I represented the Economic and Environment Committee at the MUN Conference. Firstly, we discussed overpopulation and the slightly outrageous suggestion by DPRK (North Korea) to euthanise babies! In the afternoon we discussed China's resolution on Youth Unemployment ,which was chosen as a result of China's bribe of a packet of Oreos! I really enjoyed the day as I felt very much like I was in an actual UN Conference and the people I met were really nice. I also got the opportunity to oppose China's resolution which, although frightening, was really exciting.
This was the first MUN Conference I had attended and I must say it was much more fun and exciting than expected; the experience was definitely worth the early rise! I was representing the Political Committee for South Africa and had to discuss issues on internet censorship, as well as foreign aid, with other delegates of member states. Despite having written a resolution, I had no idea about what would happen on the day. It was quite terrifying to see people so eager to deliver a speech with confidence and enthusiasm in front of the whole room - something I had not managed to do this time. Nevertheless, the debate surrounding various issues was very interesting as everyone was representing a different country and acting in their country's interest. I was quite happy that I had managed to raise a point of information to the delegate of France regarding trade and also acted on behalf of South Africa.
Although none of the resolutions in the Political Committee passed through, the experience itself was invaluable and also very enjoyable. I even proposed an amendment at the close of the day and, had it gone through the Chairs, I would have had to give a speech to the whole room. The highlight of the day was when, at the end of the debate, Ukraine and Japan were evicted from the room - those were the only two motions that all delegates agreed on.
I found MUN particularly interesting because it is an active way to find out about current political issues and also how history has affected the current situation in different countries. If I participate in another conference, I would most certainly take more time to not only look into my country but also to research how it had interacted with other countries in the past in order to have a better understanding of the general situation.
Overall, I had a great time at the conference and would definitely like to do it again.
Maiya and I enjoyed the MUN experience immensely - the debates were thought-provoking and full of energy. We were in the Human Rights Committee, where we debated the topics of euthanasia and gun control from the perspective of our allocated country, South Africa. It was very exciting to talk to people who had more experience in MUN, and we became more familiar with how the conferences function and the resolution writing process. This greatly expanded our cultural awareness and critical thinking skills - we would definitely recommend MUN to passionate individuals who seek to gain greater knowledge of the world and would like to improve their public speaking skills!