On 10th March five Saint Francis Xavier students travelled to Birmingham to represent the college at the annual Model United Nations (MUN) conference – the largest MUN in Britain – which was taking place across the weekend, hosted by Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College. Over 300 students from colleges and sixth forms across the UK took part, with each college being given a country to represent within the MUN discussions and debates. The SFX team were given the Republic of the Sudan (North Sudan).
Students had to research and prepare for the MUN discussions – which parallel the work of the United Nations – producing and presenting formal resolutions for some difficult topics, including “the question of humanitarian aid to warzones”, “the question of cross-border tax avoidance by multi-national corporations”, “the question of refugees in Europe” and more (see the full list of Agenda items below). UN Secretary-Generals have spoken at previous conferences, resulting in them agreeing to take MUN resolutions to full United Nations meetings in New York and Geneva.
Two members of the SFX team – Obi and Molly – won the award for “Most professionally dressed”, with Molly also winning the award for “Most persuasive delegate”.
The students have returned inspired; Emmanuel said “I enjoyed seeing how passionate some delegates were in discussions and it’s inspired me to move out of my comfort zone and develop my public speaking skills.” Discussing what they had learnt from taking part in the MUN, Molly said “this experience taught me the importance of compromise and negotiation but also how to defend personal and national interests in a professional and respectful manner”, while Jubril found the preparation benefitted him; “it has really helped me conduct independent research and write analytically and I now appreciate the importance of writing in a concise way”. Obi feels he now has “a better understanding of the world of politics and how United Nations debates are carried out” and Khadijah reflected “I enjoyed debating global issues and gaining confidence in public speaking”. The SFX delegates have all said they are keen to support future delegates from SFX in preparing for the MUN conference next year.