On Thursday 6th October, a group of 7 ISL students (Year 10, Year 11, IBDP1 and IBDP2 students) taking the high school MUN activity every Tuesday afternoon, flew to Johannesburg with Ms Vignard and Mr Bush to attend JoMUN XIV, the Johannesburg Model United Nations Conference. ISL students represented the following countries: the Syrian Arab Republic and New Zealand in the Security Council, the Republic of Yemen and The United States of America in the Human Rights commission, the Republic of Uganda in the Environment commission, the Arab Republic of Egypt in the Disarmament commission and the Republic of Sudan in the Advisory Panel.
The students first attended the Opening ceremony and had the opportunity to listen to inspiring speeches on this year’s conference theme “Transforming Africa”: despite the fact that 7 of the 13 fastest growing economies in the world from 2014-2016 are located in Africa, many African countries are still facing wars, natural disasters, or poor government policies that have the potential of undermining any gains. Students were also able to focus on global issues, such as the crisis in Syria and the militarization of space. They thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the various debates, making amendments to give strength to resolutions, speaking and voting for or against those resolutions. Although some of them were a bit shy to start with, they were encouraged by the Chairs to raise their country placard to request the “Floor” or state a “Point of Information”. On the last day, in the Security Council, a simulation crisis took place and one of our students suddenly became the new President of Syria!
While the days were busy with the conference, we were able to enjoy some quality time in the evenings and have dinner in restaurants at Monte Casino and Nelson Mandela Square. The conference was excellent practice for the students who are now chairing our very own Middle School Model United Nations at ISL this week. Mr Bush and Ms Vignard were impressed with the organisation and the quality of the conference. The students’ feedback was very positive and we are hoping to take another group to Johannesburg next year for JoMUN XV as well as attending other outside conferences.
Nathalie Vignard, IBDP Coordinator