Updated: Jun 25, 2021
Hosting a Model UN (MUN) is always a challenging and extremely rewarding occasion, but even more so when it is the first ever Edinburgh Primary Schools MUN on a virtual platform! And it worked - everyone ended the day smiling, exhausted but smiling!
Our 60 delegates, from two Edinburgh schools, represented six countries: China, Guatemala, New Zealand, Sudan, Sweden and USA. Having had a short time to research and prepare country responses to a ''UN Resolution on the Pandemic", the delegates arrived on Teams to be welcomed by Secretary General Giselle and Deputy SecGen Albert. Both Giselle and Albert, being part of the University of Edinburgh Teach MUN community, were exceptionally well-versed in UN protocol and diplomacy.
Giselle welcomed everyone at a General Assembly then off we went to Country Committees. With the superb assistance of Andy, a Teams specialist, we were able to move between Committee Rooms, Country Lobbying Rooms and General Assemblies.
Having discussed the Resolution and proposed amendments, with expert guidance from six amazing mentors, delegates entered into lobbying rooms to garner support for rewording or additional wording. Time was also spent in real-life discussions in the delegates classrooms. There was also space for much-needed real-life lunches!
When everyone returned for the final General Assembly, SecGens Giselle and Albert had the Resolution on screen as each amendment was duly spoken to (and against) before a vote was taken. The fact that the technology worked was great; the fact that the 11 and 12 year old delegates were still wide-eyed, enthusiastic and top of their game at 3pm was truly amazing!!
To conclude the day's event, we thanked Bruce Adamson, Commissioner of Children and Young People Scotland, for his support and attendance and welcomed a representative from the UNHCR. James Bulmer gave an overview of the work of the office of the High Commission for Refugees and noted how very impressed he was with the quality of discussions, debates and presentations he'd listened to during the day. 'They were much better, more disciplined and productive than many I've heard at the UN', he added.
We sincerely thank the teachers from Sciennes and Prestonfield Primary Schools for their empathetic support and commitment to the project. Now we have managed one Virtual MUN, the world of MUNs is our oyster!
"We have to realise how lucky we are to have a home" - Hanna
"Refugees are running away from their country and other countries need to help them" - Muhaymin
"It's not fair that people don't have the right to education, it's only fair that they get the chance to read and write, not work on the farm constantly." - Alexander
"We want to have our debt cancelled as we are a poor country with a lot of war and refugees to support" - Sara
"Countries will need to support those who need it the most to make sure COVID isn't still around. Anyone can implement a COVID tax." - Diarmuid
"Refugees definitely need hotels as housing just to get back on their feet." - Eddie
"We will help other countries in need to progress their vaccine. The USA made big mistakes when COVID began. If we are vaccinated, that means less stress for the world." - Mya