Secondary students excel as world leaders

Delegates proudly display their countries' placards

On Monday the 11th of April all of the world’s problems were solved. Well, in theory they were.  This was when Nayland College hosted the Nelson Model United Nations, an event where secondary students from around the region came together to debate the issues facing the world today and find solutions to some of these problems. The topic for the day was UN Protected where students looked at providing Peacekeeping and Humanitarian aid in areas of conflict.

The Model UN was set up to inspire global citizens and encourage students to learn about issues facing the world today in a fun and safe environment. For Model UN Canterbury Regional President Ashley Stuart, it inspired her to study International Relations and offered her an insight into how countries and the UN work.

Students were asked to prepare by finding out their countries’ views on issues, such as giving financial aid to developing countries. While all countries wanted solutions to these weighty issues, there were lots of different ideas on how best to do it. Challenges such as culture, religion and international relations were all brought to the fore and were carefully considered by countries to bring about unilateral solutions to the issues raised.

Organisers of the event tried to keep it as authentic as possible using the same procedure that is used in the real United Nations. Yielding, speaking to resolutions, and amending resolutions were all skills learnt by students.

Keynote speaker Sylvia Nissen highlighted the difficulty of trying to solve the problems brought up by the day’s events. “They’re such incredibly complex processes that there’s going to be no perfect outcome.” Students began to realise this during the day and had to compromise to get anything done. Delegates were able to work together to solve problems and the second resolution was passed with a majority of countries supporting it. It was decided that all countries would give money towards undeveloped countries for humanitarian aid.

Students left the event with a clearer idea of how countries worked together and a greater knowledge of the challenges facing the world today. As well as a learning experience, Model U.N participant Isabella Lorandi described the event as “fun, interesting and definitely something (she) would do again”.