June 02, 2016 at 3:32 PM
With thanks to student reporter, Kenya Ashcroft
As world-renowned inventor Alexander Graham Bell once said, ‘As one door closes, another opens.’ Whether or not this applies to the shutting of the car door as I stepped out onto the bitter winter Auckland Domain side streets, the warmth of Auckland Girls’ Grammar’s beckoned me inside. Little did I know of the inspiring weekend to come and the truly thought-provoking challenges that arise when attending to the pressing issues of the world.
Dressed with a sense of humour as the delegates of Sweden, Singapore, Slovakia, Mali and France, a group of 18 politically minded and willing College seniors began their experience with an early morning breakfast, shared with numerous schools across Auckland for the annual 2016 Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA). Organised by Rotary, the event encouraged us to meet and form ‘strategic partners’ with other like-minded students, to debate with delegations that held opposite political opinion and to learn more about international relations.
The Assembly ran for 17 hours over the final weekend in May, where over 130 countries (teams of 3) were transformed from regular students into persuasive delegates ready to debate and change Earth’s current affairs. Six major remits were debated; including topics over the Zita Virus, Syrian Refugees, Trade between North Korea and China, the position of Kosovo and Palestine in the UN and the reality of the dangers that come with Global Warming. The Year 13 girls representing France were fortunate enough to take on the roles of members of the UN Security Council, as well both the Year 12 boys on behalf of Sweden and Year 13 boys of Slovakia accepting the challenge of being ‘Bloc’ leaders. All speeches were high quality and the highlights included dubious allegations made by Afghanistan, North Korea and the hilarious raps of Malaysia. It was particularly interesting to hear the variety of opinions of each country and their ideas to amend each problem - especially when Brazil announced they would reduce their Palm oil trade. Overall, it was an incredible opportunity to meet new peers, test our public speaking skills and develop our problem-solving abilities.
The stimulating two days drew to a close with a captivating speech from MP David Shearer about the positives behind politics and his experience representing New Zealand in the United Nations, which demonstrated how prominent our small country is as a member of the UN’s Security Council. His words of wisdom and the shared sing-along to ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon was a reminder that when young people unite, the doors to making a difference will be forever open. A very huge thanks to Mrs Wilson who organised Saint Kentigern’s contribution to the event and for giving up her weekend to support us!
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