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Model United Nations sparks discussion on the importance of young minds in our global future

By Lucy Watson, a student at The British International School Abu Dhabi, from the 2018 Global Goals Student Summit in New York City.

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Today marks the first day of the Nord Anglia Model United Nations, which is taking place at the Global Goal Student Summit in New York, USA.

The day kicked off with a talk from Shannon O'Shea, UNICEF’s Partnerships Manager and Team leader for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Her speech inspired students not only to take part in advocating for all 17 of the social development goals, but to have a more sustainable and forward-thinking attitude in our daily lives.

As the first day progressed, students began the Model United Nations. They moved into three committees for discussion: the Economic and Social Council, Habitat, and the Environment.

For the Economic and Social Council, discussion centered on the issue of fracking; for the Habitat group, the topic was slums; and for the Environment group, they discussed waste management. There were around 20-25 students in each group, all assigned to countries with some conflicting and contrasting opinions.

Students read opening speeches to present their countries’ stances on the topics to inform other delegates on who to ally with. Once countries began to group up, resolution papers were drafted in the format of clauses, including possible solutions. These were presented to the chair and other countries to address the issues.

Seeing all the students become increasingly involved in discussions, and noticing the effects of our actions, was enlightening. Each delegate had persistent and strong opinions on their topics. The amount of knowledge in each presentation was undeniable. Many questions were raised on how we, as students, can change our world for the better.

In my mind, young adults truly are the future. Many would be astounded by the knowledge and compassion students possess. In order for change to happen, not just in 2030 but beyond, the stigma of age and therefore ability to have political and social opinions would need to be abolished in society.

Witnessing the amiable and open-minded standpoints of Nord Anglia students, we were reminded that some countries may not hold these values. They could learn from projects like this, where important issues in our societies are discussed and resolutions are examined.

This atmosphere of scholarship prevailed throughout the activity and even in general conversations outside of the conferences. This is the true nature of the students at the Nord Anglia summit at NAIS New York. Our students from around the world have inquisitive, forward-thinking minds and, when their voices are listened to, they have the true power to create change.