Updated: Jul 8, 2022
In today’s ever-changing and increasingly interconnected world, how shall we come together and deal with the international challenges? How shall we educate the next generation to be more responsible citizens, both nationally and globally?
At UN House Scotland, we believe that Model United Nations (MUN), a simulation activity of the UN, is an inspiring and rewarding educational practice. We have been rolling out MUN activities for Scottish schools since 2012. Our recent focus is on Primary 7 students, and we had successfully organised conferences both in-person and online.
This year 2022 marks the second year that we ran an online conference for P7 on Microsoft Teams. On 15thJune, 9 children from two schools from Highlands, Poolewe and Bualnaluib Primary, joined us in a debate about Food Production and Security. Following COP26 in November 2021 in Glasgow, we are sure that pupils are building more awareness about climate change, and we encourage them to think about how climate change will influence food production, how we can promote sustainable farming, and how to address the inequality issues therein.
The day started with an introduction from Secretary General Yuemiao, leading us through the topic and arrangement of the day. After that, children went into breakout groups of three countries, Bangladesh, Brazil and Spain, to have further discussion about the country’s position, led by their country mentors. All the country mentors – Mary, Chunhua, Ameena, Georgie, Michael and Margaret – exhibited their excellent organising skills and care when working with children, guiding them to discuss and write amendments to a pre-written Draft Resolution. In between country breakouts, children also had opportunities to lobby with their peers in their classroom. We were amazed by how engaging and wonderful they are!
After a few country and lobbying sessions, we came to the end of the conference – voting on their amendments. All children were firstly invited to give speeches about their amendments and/or their country’s position on the Draft Resolution. They were well-prepared, courageous, respectful and empathetic towards other countries and the topic. They suggested setting up a worldwide fund to secure gender equality in food production, to make sure that women have equal status in workforce and salary. The voting session at the end was also appealing. It levelled up the excitement of the whole conference when finally their resolution passed!
At the beginning of the day, you can see that even though children have made great preparation to debate on the topic, they were a bit hesitant to speak. But at the end of the conference, their mood was gradually lifted and everyone was so confident to give a speech in front all the people. MUN is no doubt a comprehensive and multi-dimensional educational activity. Children develop skills, make friends, learn about how the UN works, and how their countries react to international problems. Even though such knowledge can be taught in classrooms, MUN enables students to engage with it on a wholly different level, through participating and experiencing. One student said, “It made my determination to be prime minister stronger”, and we are so looking forward to their engagement in the future world!
As suggested by Curriculum for Excellence, the purpose of education is encapsulated in four expressions - to enable every child to be ‘successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens, and effective contributors’, and MUN can contribute to all four aspects. Today everyone has a role to play in dealing with global issues, and MUN helps us reflect on our responsibilities as a global citizen – rather than simply a citizen from a city or a country – and to build up concern and respect for all people throughout the world.
Finally, a huge thank you also to Gari, Giselle, Andy and Marc for supporting along the way (especially the tech). Having said that, we MUN team at UNHS are keen to continue taking this forward, with an aim to include all Scottish schools in MUN.
If you are interested in participating or to learn more, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are keen to support Scottish children in participating in MUNs, please make a donation here.
 https://www.unhscotland.org.uk/post/2017/12/01/model-united-nations-mun-firstforfife-report-5-things-we-can-all-learn-from-11-year-olds  https://www.unhscotland.org.uk/post/un-house-scotland-model-un-on-9-6-2021