Saturday 18th November saw the return of Model United Nations to Queen’s College for our 10th conference. A record 220 students took part from both Queen’s and sixteen other schools and colleges from around the South West.
In preparation for the conference, our students, led fantastically by this year’s Secretaries General, Olivia (Y13) and Will (Y11), prepared a variety of topics to be discussed in the committee sessions. These topics included the provision of insulin, private armies, nuclear disarmament, the monitoring of elections and quantum computing. In addition, we ran a Crisis Committee this year where a variety of fictional yet potential crises occurred and the delegates had to respond according to their country’s views.
The conference began however with a rousing speech from Olivia who welcomed our delegates who, between them, represented 42 UN countries. Delegates were then asked to depart to their committee rooms and began to lobby with each other. Their aim was to garner as much support for the clauses that some had prepared beforehand. These clauses were then debated and voted upon; if passed, the clause was included in the resolution being built through the day to solve the issue being discussed.
The Model United Nations is really a microcosm of the real United Nations in New York. Students prepare, chair and debate as if they were ambassadors to the UN and it is impressive to see students, as young as Year 8, taking part. Queen’s students were exemplary in their role as chairs of the various debates; it is a difficult job to undertake as debaters, by their very nature, are argumentative and strong-willed individuals. Our chairs attracted much praise from visiting staff and students alike who commented on their warm, friendly and inclusive approach where new delegates as well as seasoned ones, felt able to participate.
The day culminated in a General Assembly where all delegates came together, out of their committees, to debate as delegations. The topic this year was the Israel and Palestine conflict. Olivia and Will chaired this debate and felt that we should not shy away from this topic even though it is currently such a raw and emotive subject. The delegates engaged in a sensitive, meaningful and thoughtful debate which was chaired superbly.
Awards were then given by the committee chairs to those delegates who had made special contributions during the day and our Secretaries General then awarded the coveted QUMUN Shield to the best delegation, which this year, went to King Edward’s School in Bath who represented the USA. The quality of their debating, negotiation and lobbying skills stood out to our students and they were rightly crowned Best Delegation.
Thank you to all of the students who attended QUMUN 2023 together with their visiting staff who had made the day possible. Huge thanks and congratulations should also go to the Queen’s students who prepared the conference and chaired on the day. They were a pleasure to work with and excelled themselves in their delivery of the debates.