It has been an excellent year for Loreto students at Model United Nations conferences across the North West and beyond. Over forty students have attended one or more event, honing their diplomatic and negotiation skills in a range of debates.
The biggest MUN of the year was without a doubt the annual Sixth Form College Model UN at Joseph Chamberlain College, Birmingham. Running over three days in March, Loreto students represented France, Israel and Thailand in debates on topics as diverse as piracy, euthanasia, Tibet and cloning. On the first day, the students lobbied other delegates to support their proposals; on the second and third days, they took part in debates where they had to defend their proposed resolutions, often against fierce opposition. At all times, students have to faithfully advocate not their own personal opinions, but the views of the country they represent. Nathan Meades, who was part of the Security Council and represented France, described the experience as ‘quite simply a brilliant experience, and a fabulous thing to be part of. Not only did it boost my confidence in public speaking by tenfold, it also enlightened me as to the chagrins of world diplomacy, and helped me to think on my feet in very stressful situations, not least having to answer questions on the Spratly Islands in front of over 200 people!’ We were delighted that the French delegation won the award for best overall delegation, and many other students won individual prizes for persuasive speaking and resolution writing.
Other MUNs during the year included MUN-CH at Cheadle Hulme School in October, where students had to deal with an unexpected ‘crisis’ situation involving riots, terrorism and cyber-warfare. MUNHIGH, held at Manchester High School for Girls, saw fourteen beginners throwing themselves in wholeheartedly, representing Cuba and Egypt – both fascinating and challenging countries! In the summer, seventeen students also attended WiMUN at Withington Girls’ School, a one day conference which allowed many students to try out the experience for the first time, and for others with more experience to hone their skills in one of the more challenging roles. As you will see from the photographs, one thing all MUN conferences have in common is that they require not only sharp arguments but also sharp dressing, with smart dress codes mandatory!
All in all, it has been a great year for international relations, and the lower sixth are now busy preparing for their next conference in October. In the words of Haneen Zeglam ‘MUN in general, to put it simply, is just amazing. Getting involved in MUN is so different to anything else you’d do at college. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone!’