Secondary students discuss worldwide current issues at the MUN Conference

17 students from Years 11, 12 and 13 participated in the second MUN Conference that took place in the NH Constanza in Barcelona from November 27th to 29th this year.

Supervised by Mr Henderson, Mr Musson, Mr Campbell, Miss Girvan and Ms Dean, our group of students engaged in this international conference which aims to discuss possible solutions to worldwide problems, thus honing a myriad of skills including researching, public speaking, formal debate, lobbying, becoming advocates for causes, consensus building and networking.

The conference had four forums: the General Assembly, Disarmament Commission, Human Rights Commission and the Security Council. So, the delegates had a very busy agenda with a wide range of controversial current issues to discuss:

  • At the General Assembly, they had to debate issues such as the international cooperation against the world drug problem; the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba; the right of peoples to self-determination, and how to roll back malaria in developing countries, particularly in Africa.
  • At the Disarmament Commission, discussion topics ranged from military matters and expenditures to the threat of armed Israeli aggression against the Iranian nuclear installations and its grave consequences for international peace and security; the prohibition of bacteriological and toxin weapons, and the situation in Central America.
  • At the Human Rights Commission, they discussed intolerance, stigmatization, discrimination and violence based on religion or gender; death penalty and torture; human rights for refugees, returnees and displaced persons, and the use of contraceptives, right to abortion and the right to an individual’s own body.
  • At the Security Council, they were asked to reflect on the question of Palestine, and the situation in Somalia and in Ukraine.

All the delegates were nominated as country ambassadors (from a list of 200 countries) and they were assigned one of the four debate forums. This prompted them to research on the country they represented as well as their views on the various aspects of the topics under discussion by their commission. Consequently, they had to make sure to choose reliable sources, gather all the relevant information, abide by policy statements and regulations, and ensure they articulated themselves in a professional and parliamentary manner.

Back at the BSB, the students gathered all their Secondary schoolmates for an assembly at the Theatre in order to share with them their experience and encourage them to take part in this challenging and enriching event, despite the intense hard work and long days.

They all agreed it had been a worth while experience, with loads of work and lots of fun as well. They were all impressed by the amount of effort it implied, the amount of participants and the high skills denoted. They recommended everyone to join the next MUN conference, regardless of future career and ambitions, as a way to improve social skills, show one’s potential, foster research expertise and overcome public-speaking fears.

Cristina, in Year 11, was a representative member of Sweden debating in the Human Rights Commission. She was compelled to participate, because she felt she had opinions she wanted to share in person in a serious and civilised environment, rather than in an online forum. She is planning to pursue higher education in International Relations or Humanities. Therefore, she is very interested in global issues and current affairs. From this experience, she highlighted the opportunity to develop self-confidence, public-speaking skills and improvisation.

Bing, in Year 13, joined the conference because he had heard great things from last year’s and wanted to be part of this sociable event, where he would be able to learn about current affairs, find out more about countries he did not know much about, and get the whole picture of their political, economic and social situation. He joined up with the Côte d’Ivoire group and was enthusiastic about all the learning and about the future repercussion of this opportunity in his UCAS application. Bing would like to study Economics in Holland or in the United Kingdom.

About the MUN Conference

Barcelona Model United Nations is an international Model United Nations (MUN) conference held in Barcelona since 2013. Hosted by the American School of Barcelona, BCNMUN strives to become an exemplary conference both in values and actions.

The 2014 conference counted with the participation of 430 delegates from 25 international schools from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Kenya and the USA. Having attended the first MUN conference, The British School of Barcelona participated with 17 delegates this year.