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Model United Nations goes virtual

Every year, some of our students, together with their peer from other schools in our Nord Anglia Education family of schools, attend Model United Nations (MUN), a popular activity for those interested in learning more about how the UN operates. 

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MUN is an academic simulation, which helps students to learn about diplomacy, international relations and decision-making. Students play the role of delegates representing a country and debate to solve real world issues. It helps students develop critical thinking, writing, researching, public speaking and team building skills.  The United Nations state that “hundreds of thousands of students worldwide take part every year at all educational levels.” In fact, they say, “Many of today’s leaders in law, government, business and the arts – including at the UN itself – participated in Model UN as students.”

Usually, MUN conferences are hosted in schools, and students participate by invite. In fact, LCIS hosted a very successful MUN conference in 2019 (enjoy the video below). This year, our students participated in the NAE Regional European MUN conference, hosted virtually by The British International School of Budapest. The main theme of the conference focused on the 13th United Nations Sustainable Development Goal “Climate Action”. Together with other students of Nord Anglia Education European schools, our students were focusing on how to combat the issues arising from climate change in six different committees.

Here, Year 9 student Clara tells us all about her experience: 

"Model United Nations (MUN) is essentially an academic simulation of the United Nations (UN). In essence, it’s an excellent practice for those who are interested in world politics, international relations including the agenda of the UN or even simply to practice the skills of diplomacy and debating.  

Every year, a Nord Anglia Regional European conference is organised by a NAE school, and students from different schools and countries are invited to attend. The conference was virtual this year and hosted online by the British International School of Budapest. It was held very professionally with multiple sessions of constructive and fruitful debates in which many schools from the Nord Anglia group participated. 

I was in the Security Council, and the topic was about the current civil war and conflict in South Sudan. Series of unfortunate events propagated by climate change, drought, famine, and economic woes have led to an approximate 2.24 million people who have been forced out of their homes and in potential poverty. Each student in the Security Council represented a country, mine was Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 

Overall, I think I learnt a lot from this experience, including how online conferences work as well as generally learning more about the world and politics around me. Naturally, I was first disappointed about the fact that it was virtual because I was looking forward to the experience of traveling and meeting other students. However, I was glad to see that the format of the conference was maintained. For example, in order to maintain diplomacy and show respect for the nations that we were representing and the UN, the dress code was business attire. Furthermore, we must not use personal pronouns and we should always state the opinion of our country rather than our own personal opinion.   

I feel confident in saying that online conferences still allow us to work closely and share ideas efficiently, to form bonds and create long term connections with the other participants. A positive aspect of a virtual conference is the straightforwardness and the easier organization, as well as the availability of the internet and therefore the access to quick information. 

The MUN gives students the opportunity to learn interesting topics, to improve skills in research and speaking. And most importantly, it helps students to develop critical thinking, the ability to work in teams, leadership and cooperation skills."

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