On Saturday, April 23, seventeen delegates from our Grade 6-8 attended the 11th annual Model United Nations (MUN) Conference at Appleby College (also known as the ACMUN conference) in Oakville, representing seventeen different countries in seven different committees. Students discussed topics ranging from health care in prisons in the World Health Organization committee, to invoking Article 5 in the NATO council (i.e. obligation of members to defend other member countries) to access to education in the Committee on the Rights of a Child.
Once again, Rowntree Montessori School students excelled in their debates with their public speaking and debating skills; two of our students were recognized with awards. Congratulations to Brianna M. on her Honorable Delegate award (3rd place), and to Dante P. on his Outstanding Delegate award (2nd place). Jobs well done!
One of the highlights of this year’s conference was the keynote speaker. We have a very special relationship with the person chosen to speak at ACMUN XI – Craig Kielburger, the founder of Free the Children and Me to We. As you know, RMS has been working with their Adopt a Village initiative for the last two years.
Craig was an inspiring speaker, and drew from his own experiences as a twelve-year-old trying to make change in the world. He also spoke about meeting the Dalai Lama when he was 15, and working with teen-aged education activist Malala to build schools in Africa – illustrating that you can never be too young to make a difference in the world. For this reason, Free the Children works almost exclusively with students and young people.
Craig’s incredible work over the past 20 years has changed the lives of not only hundreds of thousands of people in developing countries but also the youth empowered by working with his organization. Hearing Craig speak about his sustainable development model motivated us at RMS to continue to our work with Free the Children. Craig’s message was that changing the world isn’t about charity; it’s about partnership and working with communities to create sustainable economic development.
More About Model United Nations
Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an educational simulation and/or academic competition in which students learn about diplomacy, International relations, and the United Nations. MUN involves and teaches public speaking, debating, negotiating, and writing skills, in addition to critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership abilities. Usually an extracurricular activity, some schools also offer Model UN as a class.
Participants in Model UN conferences, referred to as delegates, are placed in committees and assigned countries, or occasionally other organizations or political figures, to represent. They are presented with their assignments in advance, along with a topic or topics that their committee will discuss. Delegates conduct research before conferences and formulate positions that they will then debate with their fellow delegates in committee. At the end of a conference, the best-performing delegates in each committee are recognized with awards.
Model UN participants include students at the middle school, high school, and college/University levels, with most conferences catering to just one of these three levels (high school and college conferences being most common). Delegates usually attend conferences together as delegations sent by their respective schools’ or universities’ Model UN clubs, though some delegates attend conferences independently.
Most conferences are hosted by high school and college MUN clubs. As of 2014, there were about 400 MUN conferences worldwide. (Wikipedia, The Online Encyclopedia)