On Friday 14th October 2016 Calthorpe Park School hosted the 16th annual Model United Nations involving students aged 14 to 18 from various schools and colleges including Court Moor, Collingwood, Cove, Farnborough 6th Form, Fernhill, Bishop Challoner, Guildford and Weydon. Alongside the delegates, special guests such as our local MP Mr Jayawardena and members of Fleet, Farnham and Rushmoor’s Rotary clubs attended the event to speak and listen to the debates. Every team of students had three people and each represented an assigned country. On the evening of Wednesday 12th October delegates were given the chance to present their ideas and resolutions to the other countries' representatives so that they could vote for or against the proposal based on their countries' political interests. The most popular resolutions were chosen to be debated on the Friday. These included topics such as additional taxation on tea consumption, funding research into HIV/AIDS, conservation through poaching reductions and global border controls, all of which are highly relevant topics in today’s society.
One of the more quirky aspects of the event was the chance for students to dress in their countries national dress. Although not everyone dressed up, we have to take the opportunity to congratulate some of the countries for their spectacular effort. These include Jamaica, Somalia, India, Saudi Arabia, Canada and Libya.
During the opening ceremony of the general assembly, Calthorpe’s Year 10 GSCE music group opened proceedings followed by local MP Ranil Jayawardena who spoke about the importance of politics for young people, and the purpose of the UN.
The delegates were all very passionate about their resolutions and the interests of their country as was shown in particular by Israel early on in the debate; after Libya passed that Israel should give 5% of their GDP as foreign aid, the team stormed out of the debate room and expressed to us that Israel was “disgusted that a group could make such an attack on their country”. They felt strongly that “the only cause of action was to leave”. The United Kingdom’s team was also very patriotic; making this clear with their flag waving during their opening statement and throughout the entirety of the event.
Fortunately, we were able to speak to some of our VIP guests about the event and what it means. John Burton from the Rotary club, one of the events sponsors told us “We support MUN because this generation is the future. We do many programs to support young children, but this is the event that we look forward to most”. A representative from another of our sponsors, TAG Farnborough, also commented that "It's important for us to engage with young people in our community" which really highlights what this event is all about. Additionally whilst making a speech at the opening of the event on Friday, MP Mr Jayawardena spoke to the delegates saying, “Politics is about making difficult decisions for your people, for tomorrow” showing how beneficial this event is in the long run. During the day we also received many comments from students. For example a delegate from Court Moor commented “I think that MUN is an amazing opportunity to get students involved in international politics”.
For many years this has been an experience that has provided incredibly valuable experience for so many students. One of these students, Jack Smith, a researcher from Calthorpe, expressed that “It’s a chance for young people to talk about the things that matter to all of us and that’s really important”. The high standard which the event entails has ensured that this opportunity has been enjoyable for the teachers, students and guests taking part which has become very clear from the opinions that have been expressed today.
We should firstly thank the delegates for all the hard work they has been put into this event, it was thanks to this that such a high level of debate was maintained throughout the day. In addition, the security team did a fantastic job at keeping the event running smoothly, and ensuring the delegates and guests were adequately 'protected' throughout the day. Thanks must go to the Gulshan for providing a superb lunch for all participants, the MP Ranil Jayawardena for taking time out of his busy schedule to attend the event, the Rotary Clubs of Fleet, Rushmoor and Farnham and TAG Farnborough for their sponsorship and support during this fabulous event. Finally thank you to all of the staff at Calthorpe Park who have been involved in the running of MUN but special thanks must go to Mrs Collinson and Ms Lonsdale for their fabulous direction and planning!
See this link to the local newspaper coverage.