students on stage

Queen’s Hosts Model United Nations Conference

Queen’s Hosts Model United Nations Conference

Posted: 23rd March 2023

building with a flag

Model United Nations at Queen’s

Model United Nations is a re-enactment of the United Nations for students where the premise is that the students themselves organise, run and chair the event.  The various committees look at world issues and delegates debate these issues from the viewpoint of the countries which have been allocated to them.  This of course may mean that students (delegates) have to adopt views they may not share themselves personally.

The idea is that a resolution is built by the committee; clauses are submitted and debated by the delegates and then the resolution is debated as a whole.  It will then pass or fail and replicates the process undertaken by the United Nations.  The last event of the day is the General Assembly; a fictional emergency scenario (which is loosely based on possible real world events) is placed before the delegates and again, the countries try to build a resolution to resolve that situation.

The day began with the Opening Ceremony and a guest speaker, Chris Mackmurdo, who had previously worked at the United Nations and the Foreign Office.  He spoke eloquently about the purpose and need for a continued United Nations and how young people with fresh and innovative ideas need to infiltrate these organisations so that their invaluable work continues.  This work will need to change in order to manage and meet the changing demands of a world increasingly dominated by social media and how this affects international relations.  

Delegates then were moved to their committees to debate the chosen issues.  QUMUN ran this year with the dedication of our Chairs; these were students who drafted briefing papers on a variety of issues and then chaired the debates.  Issues ranged from the Territorial Dispute in the South China Sea to the issue of Antibiotic Resisitivity to the Human Effect of Sanctions.  These, together with the three other current world issues, are highly technical subjects which required much research and work from our Chairs so that they could manage and run the debates successfully and knowledgably.  They did this admirably.

The group of delegates were made up of over 100 students from a variety of different schools and colleges from the South West and Wales together with 10 of our own students.  The day was full of intellectual and fruitful debate which culminated in a lively General Assembly on the fictional scenario of North Korea landing a missile in South Korea.  All of the material was drafted and chaired by our own Queen’s students, the quality of which was commented on by visiting staff and students alike.

We were thrilled that QUMUN is back on the MUN map and that students from across the South West, including an increasing number from Queen’s itself, are enjoying the opportunity to lobby, debate and speak publicly about the issues that will ultimately shape their world in years to come.

MUN from the Perspective of Pupils Elizabeth , Olivia and Josh

 We had an amazing turnout last weekend of over 100 people! The atmosphere of the event and the various committees was very professional and we were very pleased with how all delegates presented themselves. The opening ceremony was an incredible experience and our guest speaker, Dr Chris McMurdo gave a fantastic speech about his life in diplomacy. Afterwards, we split into our different committees: SPECPOL, ECOSOC, WHO, Human Rights and the Security Council. 

SPECPOL or otherwise known as the Special Political and Decolonization Committee was chaired by Elizabeth and had the issue of the territorial claims in the South China Sea to debate. The topic was very interesting and it was intriguing to see the delegates debate on it from their country’s perspective especially because of its slightly controversial nature. The delegates were commendable in their debating skills but some did stand out compared to others in their ability to debate and accurately convey their country’s point of view. 

ECOSOC or the Economical and Social Committee was chaired by Josh and discussed the possibility of injecting sulphur into the atmosphere to try and reverse the effects of climate change. Just over 15 Delegates gave their all into debating this topic and were particularly commendable due to the infancy of the theoretical technology. A lot of fun was had in this committee and a resolution was successfully created out of it which is always a positive result. 

WHO or the World Health Organization was chaired by Liv  and debated the issue of antimicrobial resistance. With the largest committee of over 25 delegates, most of them being first-timers, it was amazing to see everyone carry themselves with such respect, knowledge and professionalism. A final resolution was passed and 7 delegates were awarded for their commendable participation.

The Security Council was chaired by Tadhg – our Co-Secretary General – and had a great day of debate talking about the humanitarian effect of sanctions and despite a few vetoes here and there a resolution was eventually passed. Delegates in the Security Council were particularly admirable for getting involved with a high level of enthusiasm.

The Human Rights Committee was chaired by Alec and they had a very lively, impassioned debate on LGBTQ+ rights.  There were some stand out delegates in this committee who conveyed the views of their allocated country with vigour.  A detailed resolution was also passed in this committee, demonstrating the quality of debate that had occurred.

The General Assembly saw delegates trying to solve a crisis that had been kept secret from them until just before the debate. The topic, decided and kept confidential by the Chairs, consisted of North Korea attacking South Korea. All delegates got their heads down and quickly wrote down their own solutions to this issue – the best of which were debated in front of all participants. Tadhg and Alec were Co-Secretary Generals and led the debate with the team of Head Chairs making sure it was running smoothly. 

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