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‘Fear is a universal language’, but it shouldn’t be a language that children all over the world are forced to learn

  • UNICEF
  • Hannah Scott
  • MUN

For the second day of the Model United Nations at the 2018 Global Goals Student Summit, Nord Anglia students continued to debate resolutions in committees. We engaged in debate to determine whether the resolutions presented to the committee should be passed, and the delegates’ presentations displayed their passion, tenacity and eagerness to find solutions that would benefit the world we all live in.

It was admirable to see such dedication from the delegates when presenting speeches and asking questions. I believe that a lesson can be learned from all the students here: that if you want to change the world, there’s no time like the present. The voices of the world’s youth are getting stronger every day. Young people are speaking out for what they believe in, being advocates and agents of change for current world issues and fighting for a better world.

Lucy Watson, from British International School, Abu Dhabi, mentioned how, “Too many young people overlook the chance and privilege to take part in global politics, but there are opportunities to have your say and to voice your opinions.”

As the MUN session drew to a close, the students had a quick lunch before starting the journey to the UNICEF headquarters. Along the way, students and staff paused for a brief moment outside the Headquarters of the United Nations to snap a group picture, and everyone made the most of the prestigious scenery and the sunny weather.

For the afternoon activity, students split up into different groups, each with a different guest speaker to discuss issues that UNICEF are trying to tackle. In my group, we attended a talk on ending child violence which was presented by Rudina Vojvoda. We were told about UNICEF’s aim to end violence against children in partnership with a number of other top organisations such as UNESCO, the UN and the British

Government.

We discussed what we, as students, believed to be the cause of violence and bullying in schools, and possible measures to counteract these problems. One in three children experience bullying at some point in their school lives, reinforcing the idea that something needs to change in our global education system. Ideas such as support groups, improving student body representation within schools, and further education on empathy, tolerance and awareness were all ideas that were put on the table.

Ms. Vojvoda listened to all our points and opinions with interest, because UNICEF believes that to eradicate violence within schools, and said, “Young people have to tell us what they need and want.”

Then we moved on to a discussion about the introduction of a Global Youth Manifesto, an action plan targeted towards helping children all over the world feel safe, allowing them to take away knowledge and understanding from their schools, not fear.

Ms. Vojvoda spoke to our group about a video that is currently in production, which will help create connections between students all over the world that have suffered violence, as “fear is a universal language.”

UNICEF also hopes this video will be embraced by the public sphere, inspiring them to take action against what is disappointingly but unsurprisingly still a major global issue, as “Every seven minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent is killed by an act of violence.”

When our discussion was over, we thanked Ms. Vojvoda and headed back to the hotel, with plenty to reflect on after another busy day in New York.

 

By Hannah Scott, student at Nord Anglia International School, Shanghai Pudong