College Students Attend SCHOGM

August 09, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Student Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

37 student delegates from Auckland to Timaru travelled to New Zealand’s political hub, Wellington, on the 5th and 6th of August  to participate in the annual Student Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (SCHOGM) hosted by the Honorable Peter Dunne. Accompanied by Mrs Anitelea, the College sent two teams to the Conference comprising Sarah Bradley and Darryn Ooi representing Australia, and Mabel Ye and Alexi Carlier representing the small Caribbean country Belize. With ‘consultation as its life blood’, the students took on the roles of Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers of their respective nations.

The two day event at the Beehive, which acted as a simulation of the real CHOGM gave students great insight into how this conference works in reality. Both teams successfully debated and passed resolutions. Eloquent diplomacy, compromise and lobbying were vital in order to pass resolutions successfully. Resolutions discussed included the legalisation of a regulated prostitution union in the Commonwealth, global warming, as well as an attempt to expel Australia from the Commonwealth due to its poor human rights record, ironically proposed by the African Union.

The first day was particularly challenging for Australia who were under great scrutiny for their dealing of illegal immigrants. The proposed solution by Australia was to build a charter city in Papua New Guinea for these immigrants. With the theme of the Conference being ‘Opportunity through Enterprise’, delegates debated issues pertaining to the Commonwealth’s role in aid and health, and sport and youth empowerment. Later delegates were addressed by members of the New Zealand Commonwealth, followed by a state dinner in the Banquet Hall of the Beehive.

Day Two saw intense lobbying and a stressful crisis session on the issue of drug trafficking. Combating youth unemployment, HIV/AIDS, and education were also on the agenda. Later that day delegates moved to the House of Representatives public gallery to watch New Zealand’s politicians discuss topical issues regarding Fonterra and the infant formula contamination scare, and the GCSB security issue.

Students attending SCHOGM got out as much as they put in. For those who are politically inclined or have an interest in global issues, this is a brilliant experience in international diplomacy. At SCHOGM you are very likely to meet likeminded people who want to change the world, and as this conference demonstrated as the youths of today we indeed have the power to do so. 

With thanks to student reporters Darryn Ooi and Mabel Ye

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