ShrewsMUN | Sixth Form Students Explore New Enrichment Opportunity

Sunday 7th February saw the first-ever online format of the Shrewsbury Model United Nations Conference which was hosted by Shrewsbury School. It was a successful virtual event conducted through Zoom and attended by over 200 delegates from across 11 different schools. A group of Sixth Form students from Sir John Talbot’s School had the opportunity to take part and join in with the lively debates.

Sir John Talbot’s Sixth Form students, Holly Gilbert, Betsy Holmes and Zara Leary have reported on their experience; “After working closely with Shrewsbury School for a number of weeks as delegates in their weekly virtual Model UN debates. We had already attended many Zoom conference calls within which we debated a range of topics and really got a feel for what Model UN was all about. This then enabled us as Sir John Talbot’s students, to represent Sweden as delegates of various committees, such as Health, Environment and ECOSOC within the large conference attended by both UK and international delegates.

“The Environment Committee debated clauses over the issue of plastic pollution and the topic of food and water insecurity in less economically developed countries and how the United Nations as a whole can provide better long-term solutions to food and water insecurity, in line with sustainable development goals.

“The Health Committee debated the support that the United Nations can provide to Africa to deal with HIV and the global issue of obesity. Our group put forward amendments to both resolutions and debated these as well as the issues as a whole to come up with some of the best solutions we thought possible to deal with both issues. Both resolutions covered a broad range of long and short-term solutions as well as considering the effect of factors such as mental wellbeing, religion, community etc. It was very interesting to hear the many different perspectives of the issues and how basic things such as infrastructure can intricately link into wider health issues. We posed ‘points of information’ and counterarguments to the delegates posing opinions on the debate and it was a brilliant opportunity to improve (virtual) public speaking skills and knowledge of these global issues.

“The ECOSOC Committee debated ways the UN can reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how the UN can support LEDCs in their recovery. The committee also discussed how the world can make the switch towards electric/hybrid model cars in the most economically sustainable way possible. Both topics prompted compelling debate and the delegates worked to come up with solutions that both followed the UN’s SDGs and developed cooperation between nations, especially during these unprecedented times. We found the experience particularly beneficial in developing critical thinking and debate skills and we learned a lot from some of the more experienced members of the committee and are now looking forward to returning to our Model UN meetings with newfound confidence and experience. Overall, the day was a great opportunity and we look forward to being able to attend a conference in person in the future.”

Michelle Jones, Educational Improvement Director of The Marches Academy Trust Sixth Forms commented; “Model United Nations is a new enrichment activity this year for students at Sir John Talbot’s Sixth Form, as we strengthen our partnership work with Shrewsbury School. The experience offers the opportunity to build confidence, develop an awareness of global issues and is a valuable way of improving speaking skills through the formal debate. My thanks to Year 12 students Holly Gilbert, Betsy Holmes and Zara Leary for sharing their experience and I thank Shrewsbury School for running this virtual event.”

At Sir John Talbot’s Sixth Form, Model UN meetings occur every Wednesday via Zoom at 15:15-14:00. All students are welcome to join and observe future meetings to find out what Model UN is all about. Please email Mrs Jones – for further details.

Posted by marchesadmin on 11th February 2021, under SJT

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