By Nicole Froio, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The pupils of The British School, Rio de Janeiro will be traveling to Salvador, Bahia this month to take part in a national Model United Nations (MUN) event. The Brazilian Model United Nations (BRAMUN) receives students from all over the country to have a practical experience in international relations in the form of a simulation of the United Nations’ procedures.
The MUN conferences allow students to discuss and seek solutions to problems ranging from human rights abuses, conflicts between nations and environmental issues. Participation in these events enables students to develop a better understanding and appreciation of current global affairs.
Students at The British School have been traveling all over the world to participate in these events for thirteen years. It all started in 2000 when six pupils went to Minas Gerais, Brazil to participate in an event at the university PUC Minas. The small group of students came back to Rio with two honorable mentions and a Best Delegate Award.
With the success of this first venture, geography teacher Dave Williams felt encouraged to make the school’s involvement in MUN events bigger. Just three years later, in 2003, the BSRJ MUN was launched where 26 delegates took part.
Since then, there has been a conference every year and in 2012 the number of delegates surpassed 300 for the fourth year in a row – 250 participants were students from The British School and the rest from all over the world, including St. Georges North in Buenos Aires, Argentina; San Silvestre in Lima, Peru; Northlands, BA and in 2004, even some pupils from Glenunga International School in Australia.
Alumni Sophie Crockett 2008 was a prominent part of the MUN community in her time at The British School. She says her experience in public speaking, organizing events and overall experience with international relations has helped her get a job in one of the biggest IR organizations in Rio.
“I believe that having a Model UN program at school is extremely important so that young students get the opportunity to experience what international relations is all about. From personal experience, if I hadn’t had the opportunity to participate in MUNs at school I would have never developed such a deep interest in international affairs and as a result, wouldn’t have had the motivation to organize MUN conferences and other events both at school and at University,” Ms. Crockett explained.
“These extra-curricular experiences I had were what got me my internship at the Brazilian Mission to the United Nations in Geneva and my current job at the Brazilian Center for International Relations in Rio.”
In 2010 and 2005, The British School was recognized for its efforts in this area of education by having the honor of hosting the Latin American Heads Conference (LAHC), both conferences boasted over sixty students from more than twenty LAHC schools in both conferences.
Since 2005 pupils have been traveling to Harvard to speak as delegates in their conference. In 2011, the school participated in Yale MUN, and from 2006 to 2011 students went to Bahia for the Salvador MUN.
This year’s BSRJ MUN will take place in March. Then, in October 2013 the students will be heading to the Dominican Republic MUN for the first time. Over 1,500 delegates will participate from all over the world, with The British School hoping to continue to triumph in international relations conferences.
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