UN Youth Unlimited Fun in the UN for Model Students

(PR.co.nz) The national New Zealand Model United Nations (NZMUN) consists of three action packed days where students simulate a real UN assembly amidst some of the most motivated young global citizens New Zealand has to offer. Kicking off with an official Parliamentary opening, it is an event filled with leading keynote speakers and politicians including the Prime Minister, the Human Rights Commissioner and directors of notable NGO’s. Students are also absorbed in workshops with a recently launched ‘Outreach’ programme focused on community development, engaging debate and negotiation and most importantly an awesome social atmosphere culminating in a final ball at the St James theatre.

The theme of this year’s national conference, The UN Today will prompt students to question the past, present and future dynamic of the UN and how it relates to them and the country they will represent as a delegate. The concept will aim to ignite criticism on the international machine that is the UN and will put the spotlight on how the institution works, who drives it, and who pays for it. A diverse range of speakers will regale the students, from former diplomats to those from the NGO sector, governmental representatives and academics. Each will share their knowledge and discuss their relationship with the UN, offering diverging views on the UN’s unique dynamic.

The theme also hopes to reflect how the UN today operates on a ground level. The values and principles of the new Outreach programme are part of this, and it is those values which UN Youth want delegates to embrace. By looking at the UN Today, the organisation is helping prepare the leaders of Tomorrow to fix the mistakes of Yesterday.

The thematic emphasis on change and progression is particularly apt in light of the organisation’s recent brand re-launch which has seen UN Youth become a fresh identity, highly engaged with a network of youth around the country.

Model United Nations conferences have been taking place for many years and are the flagship events for high school students in relation to the organisation. UN Youth hosts regional events around the country in the lead up to the national conference that serve as the perfect platform for students to hone their diplomatic skills before rising to the challenge of the national MUN.

The Canterbury Model UN, scheduled to be held at the Town Hall will unfortunately not be proceeding this year however students from the quake affected region have ample opportunity to get involved in the national forum.

This year’s conference coordinator, Scott Summerfield, is incredibly excited about this year’s theme and what this conference means for the organisation, “This will definitely be the best conference we have run so far. This year we are taking lots of new initiatives to increase the educational value of the conference, by allowing students to critique the UN and its processes through our theme: ‘The UN Today’ as well as bringing the international values they learn down to a local level through our community Outreach programme. This is an incredible conference to be at.”

Richard Evans, National President, says of the annual NZMUN, Now an established fixture on school calendars throughout the country, NZ Model UN brings young New Zealanders together to grapple with global challenges.

Through debate, workshops and seminars, students make connections between their lives here in New Zealand and challenges faced elsewhere in the world. How does the seabed and foreshore debate relate to the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? What do climate change negotiations in Cancun mean for New Zealand farmers?

This year’s conference looks at the “UN Today” and asks, what’s happening in the UN system at this very moment and what impact does that work have?

Beyond all the learning and skills acquired, NZ Model UN is an exciting experience through which many friendships are formed and contacts made. For engaged young New Zealanders, there’s nothing else like it.

Media Release 5 April 2011 from UN Youth Aotearoa New Zealand.