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Surval Blog: The first MUN Conference of the year

08 October 2019

Our new Vice Principal, Mr Smale, has taken on the role of MUN Coordinator for Surval, leading the club in their weekly meetings and, this weekend, taking the students to the first MUN Conference of the year at Haut Lac International School. The girls weren’t the only ones feeling a bit nervous…

Read on to have the weekend brought to life in wonderfully vivid detail by Mr Smale himself.

"MUN teaches us a huge amount about the world, about other people and about ourselves..."

Driving up to the gates of Haut Lac for their MUN conference, I have to admit I was full of nerves. It was my first MUN Conference.  It was my first team being put to the test.  Having gotten lost, and driving around in circles for several minutes, we burst through the doors and sat down to listen to the keynote speaker from Medair.  The speaker appealed to the MUN delegates for support; he wanted UN intervention and we were all immediately hit by the sense that the Model United Nations movement considers real world issues and hits real world politics.

After the applause had settled from the keynote speech, the conference was opened and delegates were called to their committees. Each committee has delegates representing countries from all over the world, allowing individuals to garner a real sense of diversity. The UN Women’s Council contained three of our four Surval representatives and the first topic on the agenda were reproductive rights in the 21st century.  

Each delegate had to stand and deliver an opening speech, explaining their country’s position on the matter.  Our three, Soledad, Mayela and Sophie, were representing Sweden, the Republic of Ireland and Japan.  This was the first time these three girls had to deliver a speech in this fashion and they were incredible. Articulate, intelligent, well-researched. I couldn’t help but be proud and, for me, the nerves disappeared. I realised, thanks to the outstanding qualities of each girl, that this was under control; they were naturals, and this was going to be a great conference.  

In the Security Council Surval was representing the United Kingdom, a country that has the right to veto any resolution, discussing the persecution of Uighur Muslims. In an engaging and oft heated exchange, I was once again impressed with the calm and composed manner in which Eksha delivered her thoughtful points of view. As the day progressed and resolutions were agreed, the young delegates in the room showed the power of a united approach to world conflict. They had the opportunity to encourage countries to overcome their differences, to communicate and to work collaboratively.

We arrived on the second day ready for action. The UN Women`s Council had FGM on the agenda and the Security Council was considering the Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon. The maturity in which these topics were tackled was outstanding. Our girls delighted in having their resolutions passed by significant majorities and stood to defend their points of view in front of their committee members. After dealing with challenges and after challenging the other delegates the confidence of the girls was sky high and it was clear that our students were in their element. 

However, as we sat down to eat lunch, a rumour hit the ears of the teaching staff: there was a crisis. Both committees had to come together to discuss the crisis, create resolutions and move beyond any political differences that may have existed previously. Each and every single delegate felt the thrill and excitement of having to think on their feet and deliver to a room full of people. An incredible experience.

As the dust settled on the final day, the closing ceremony brought reminders about the power of countries working peacefully together.  In the room delegates who had been arguing only moments ago shared moments of laughter, reminded each other about tricky points in the debate and shared a bond of mutual respect. MUN teaches us a huge amount about the world, about other people and about ourselves and I cannot recommend the club highly enough. To top it all off, Soledad, who had resolutely represented the views of Sweden, walked away with the award for Best Delegate, no mean feat in a room full of experienced MUNers.

What a weekend!  And so, for me and my nerves… looking at the incredible qualities of our girls, and how they conducted themselves, I don’t think I’ll ever need to be nervous again. I might, however, not listen to their directions when driving in the future though.

Find out more about MUN at Surval at the following links:

MUN as part of Global Perspectives at Surval

The MUN Conference Surval attended in the Netherlands earlier this year

An interview with Soledad about how she found the experience of her first MUN Conference