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Model United Nations Conference 2018

Posted on: 13th February 2018 | Category: Boarding life, Clubs and societies, Commitment to communities, School Life, Trips and excursions

The Model United Nations club (MUN) is an extra-curricular activity that students can take part in each week at Surval Montreux. Around the world there are hundreds of MUN clubs in which students take an active role debating current affairs and possible solutions to global issues. They take on the role of a delegate from a specific country, must research what stance their country takes on the issue, lobby other nations for support and create resolutions to solve problems. Pretty serious for students aged 14-18 years!

The MUN club is a student-led activity. Students must take the responsibility to research each country themselves, this will not be taught by the MUN director. The MUN directors are there to guide students, set the topics and lead the direction of the debates whilst giving advice on what solutions have worked in the past, or why some suggestions may be more difficult to enforce than others. 

On Thursday, 18th January, 2018, six students from Surval traveled to Lyon in France for the school's first time as a participant at an MUN conference. A couple of months earlier, the Surval "delegation" had received their assigned countries, committees and their research reports on each issue to be debated at the joint International Schools of Lyon MUN (ILYMUN) conference. Each week in the club, they had debated different issues, taking on different roles and thinking of responses to arguments on the spot. It was good preparation, but some of the girls still felt worried upon arrival, quickly realising the large scale of the event and the nerves soon kicked in as they broke off into their separate committees. It was in these moments of needing to 'hold one another's hand' that the girls really felt like a family, one student even saying that they felt "united as Surval sisters".

After the first afternoon session of lobbying and debating how to make cities safer from terrorist threats, the students gathered in the assembly hall to watch the opening ceremony. This included excellent choirs from the host schools, speeches from the general-secretaries of ILYMUN as well as from the director of Interpol, who addressed the importance of the event and the assigned topics. The girls were immediately impressed and interesting conversations were flowing over delicious Mexican food at dinner that night. 

The next two days, the event consisted of guest speakers in the committees and formal debates. Students had to write clauses, lobby others for support and present their stance publicly in their committees, whilst being open for questions or challenges from other delegates. This can be quite scary for those that are nervous speaking in front of others, or the language of the debate itself can also be a challenge as a lot of the delegates were not native English speakers. The Surval girls all tackled this challenge with grace and all took something away from this. Whether it was feeling more confident speaking in front of others, talking to strangers, improving their vocabulary, writing clauses, defending or challenging perspectives or simply learning more about a life in diplomacy, the Surval girls all made the most of this great opportunity. 

They were treated to a party organised by the hosts on the final evening of ILYMUN. There was a DJ, snacks and lots of dancing! The girls were exhausted by the end of the conference, but truly enjoyed this amazing learning experience. They were fantastic delegates of their assigned nations, and also as ambassadors of Surval Montreux. Well done to all involved, and who knows, perhaps the Model United Nations Club will be the first step for one of our girls to begin a life in politics and international relations! 

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