Model UN Holiday Workshop
28 Apr 22 by Ben Smith
Reflections on the recent Model UN holiday workshop
On the second Thursday of the recent school holidays, some 30 Cranbrook and Kambala Model UN students across Years 9-12 spent a day with UN Youth Australia facilitators in the Cranbrook Library discussing, deliberating, debating and deciding the fate of the global community.
While their decisions around climate induced conflict and the international war on drugs might not become global policy overnight, the students gained invaluable experience of how the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council operate as well as how resolutions are formed and presented within these political bodies.
Initially teamed with a friend or peer for the morning round, the second half of the day saw teams made up of both schools – a chance to learn from new minds and to make new acquaintances in a more casual environment to the usual competitive ones experienced by politics students, debaters and public speakers.
The facilitator team from UN Youth Australia commented positively on the keenness, strength and quality of all speakers on the day, which ended with a robust and good-humoured set of concluding speeches around compelling large, veto-wielding states to submit to the same rules as everyone else.
Captain of Model UN, Debating and Politics Club, Jack Zheng, wrote of the experience:
“Solving climate-induced conflict and the illegal drug trade in one day, the Cranbrook and Kambala Model UN started and finished with action-packed, oscar-nominated speeches and interrogations. Future politicians and ambassadors from all senior years called nations to arms and unity.”?
Other Cranbrookians involved with the day commented further on the enjoyment of joint-school and student led activities:
“I really enjoyed being able to have the proper experience of a MUN. The formality of the session was uplifted by Kambala and I think it was more fun when doing the MUN with another school.” – Rick Honda, Year 12
“I really enjoyed my first MUN experience. I found the workshop engaging and interesting as I was able to discuss important international issues that I am interested in, particularly climate policy, in a formal manner. I liked how the activities were student driven as we debated and asked our own questions, and I also liked how we were given a quick briefing at the beginning to help us be able to drive the debates.” – Oscar Green, Year 11
“I really enjoyed the teamwork component and working with other groups in activities like the real debate when we worked to collect signatures and debate the amendments.” – Max Eibl, Year 11
“I really enjoyed how the workshop particularly catered for people who had never done a previous UN workshop and really explained the whole process in detail. I feel like the topics were interesting and as well as staying relevant.” – Harry Bazzan, Year 9
We look forward to organising similar style special event days and opportunities to converse with Kambala and other schools in the future.
Weekly Model UN sessions begin next week
Weekly Model UN lunchtime sessions begin next Wednesday 4th May (Years 9 and 10) and Thursday 5th May (Years 11 and 12). These sessions – which will run each week during term time – are being led by UN Youth Australia facilitators and will provide students opportunities to hone their research, negotiation and communication skills.
This term’s focus is on Statehood and Intervention, with students engaging with issues such as the current Russia-Ukraine conflict, Israeli and Palestinian relations, as well as the role of the United States of America and western interventionism.
Model UN Evatt Competition
This year, Cranbrook will be fielding a record seven teams in the annual NSW Evatt Competition – an event that invites Years 9-12 students interested in global politics and diplomacy to compete against other schools in a mock United Nations format.
Applications for the competition have now closed. However, there will be additional inter-school competitive opportunities later in the year – details will be released through the new International Club TEAMS channel and general debating communications.
Guest speaker enrichment programme
While students will gain knowledge and skills relevant to participating in events and competitions from the UN Youth facilitators, ongoing conversations with individuals involved in the diplomacy world will form an integral part of the programme. There will be opportunities to learn about the life of diplomats, how diplomatic relations work, the art of effective negotiation and decision making, and much more.
Our first guest speaker is federal MP for Wentworth, Mr Dave Sharma, who has led an incredible career in Foreign Affairs prior to entering Parliament. He is speaking to students this Thursday lunchtime.
We are keen to include a diversity of voices relevant to the international-mindedness and diplomacy focus of the programme. This is a call out to our wonderfully accomplished parent community: if you have experience in relevant fields or know of friends or family who might be interested in speaking with our students at some point in the year, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.