By Patricia Maresch, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Students from The British School, Rio de Janeiro attended two prestigious debating events in Brazil and abroad: the Model United Nations Conferences in Boston (U.S.) and Bahia (Brazil). The Model UN is a simulation of a decision-making body in which student delegations debate current issues for the countries they represent, giving students a much greater understanding of the world.
Every year, the British School hosts a MUN-conference, with 300 students participating. This year students also attended two other conferences.
“Part of the experience is to get a taste of just how difficult it is to establish consensus among disparity,” explains Dave Williams, Pastoral Director at The British School.
The MUN is an event that school children – ranging in ages from nine right through graduation – participate in around the world. MUN provides an opportunity to practice listening and being exposed to a different perspective. The larger goal of the event is to allow students to practice peaceful solutions to solving disputes.
Towards this goal, a group of 32 students from The British School traveled to the United States to attend the 57th annual MUN conference at Harvard University in Boston. It was the fifth consecutive year students of the British School participated the four-day event.
Over 3,000 of the top college delegates from around the world compete in twenty-seven committees making the Harvard MUN the largest and most competitive college conference in the world.
This year The British School represented Poland in the General Assembly committees and Iraq in the Economic and Social Council. Nicholas Walker, an 18-year-old Student took on a special role as Sir Walter Mildmay, Lord of the Exchequer in a reconstruction of Queen Elizabeth First’s Privy Council.
Walker has participated in several MUN conferences over the years and this was his second visit to Harvard. Walker describes: ”When I first participated in a Model UN Conference I was in Class 7. I was nervous. It’s not easy to stand in front of a committee and speak. Despite my nerves I finally stood up and let out a thirty second peep.“
Not just for Nick Walker, but for all students, the Boston experience provided four days of intellectually stimulating debate with colleagues of the highest caliber. Williams said it was “a memorable trip in which the students showed endless enthusiasm.”
Shortly after Boston, students were leaving for yet another MUN Conference. Thirty students from class 8 to 11 joined 300 delegates from thirteen international schools from Brazil and Argentina at the 9th MUN in Bahia.
The conference was held amidst news developments in Libya and Japan, letting students discuss subjects such as an international plan to aid countries stricken by natural disasters, and the infringement of sovereignty and national intervention.
“That, in itself, shows how relevant the MUN is in the education of young people,” says Guy Smith, Student Voice Coordinator and English Teacher at The British School.
At the end of the conference in Bahia the team work of two British School students in the Security Council, was awarded as the most outstanding delegation in their committee.
* This is a paid advertorial for The British School, Rio de Janeiro.