On Monday April 10th a large group of youth came together like actual world leaders trying to solve international problems.
These secondary school students came from around the region to Nayland College to discuss current global issues at the annual Nelson Model United Nations. The theme for the day was UN+ Represented which gave students the opportunity to debate ideas about women’s representation in government and the freedom of the media.
The Model UN aims to educate students about international issues and encourage them to think from a different perspective than their own. “They have to present a viewpoint that is very different and it teaches them about respect of different cultures and different values,” Regional President for Canterbury UN Youth Ashley Stuart said.
Each student was randomly assigned a country to represent. They had to research background information about that country, its values and viewpoints on the topics that would be discussed. The day’s proceedings were organised in a proper manner, emulating the process of an actual United Nations conference. Students were encouraged to present resolutions to issues, debate them by making speeches, answer questions and vote for or against different amendments.
One of the guest speakers for the day was Mayor Rachel Reese. She spoke to the students about her experience being a female in local governance. “Where are the women leaders?” Reese questioned as she encouraged other girls in the room to take up more leadership roles. “We have to take a leap of faith,” she said.
Students found the day interesting and enjoyable. They left with a greater understanding of the viewpoints held by different countries and how they cooperated. “The biggest thing I learnt was how the countries worked together and often didn’t work together,” United States of America representative Fynn Sawyer said. “There are so many ways that the [amendment] process can be sabotaged almost by one country.”
For Russia’s representative Indigo Levett, the day was a learning curve as she did not agree with a lot of her designated country’s views. She had to take on a different point of view than her own for the event. “You take yourself out of your own perspective and think about what your actual country would represent rather than what you represent.”
By student reporter Emma Nell