Refugee crisis tops MUN agenda

Nearly 150 pupils from schools across the South-East took part in Brentwood School’s third annual Model United Nations Conference held at the weekend.

The conference, organised and led by Upper Sixth Form students Tom Raffan and Bishka Chand, debated quality topics which centred on the central conference theme of refugees.

The 2015 conference was the largest Brentwood MUN conference to date, hosting students from Brentwood and nine other independent and state schools in Essex, Kent, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and London.

MUN is a student-run, academic simulation of the real United Nations. It helps to develop research, debating and public speaking skills, as well as broadening students' appreciation of other cultures and political systems.

Students were allocated a country, whose views they researched and from whose perspective they argued in the debates. They were also allocated a committee (the committees at Brentwood MUN are Security Council, Economics and Social Council, Human Rights Council, Environment Programme and World Health Assembly).

Participants wrote a resolution to one of the world’s major problems before debating the subject individually within their committees. On the second day, they joined forces with other delegates from their country to continue the debate as a team in the General Assembly. The whole of Sunday was dedicated to the General Assembly debate and included a passionate and controversial emergency debate in the afternoon.

A particular highlight of the conference was the key note speech from his Excellency Mr Teuku Mohammad Hamzah Thayeb, Indonesian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, who talked about his own experience of the United Nations, as well as his thoughts on the current global refugee crisis.

Headmaster Ian Davies praised Tom and Bishka for their hard work in preparing a series of quality topics and debates. He added: “Brentwood School would like to thank all internal and external delegates for making the conference such a success.

“We believe that the MUN helps students to become enterprising learners in an increasingly demanding and competitive world. It is a fantastic event in which to be involved, as it develops students’ research, analytical and debating skills as well as broadening their appreciation for other cultures and political beliefs.”