Regent’s University London held its fourth and largest Youth Model United Nations Conference (MUN) from 2-3 July 2017, welcoming more than 180 school students and faculty onto campus to take part in organised debates focusing on global challenges.
Led by a team of Regent’s staff and alumni, students from 11 schools aged 12-18 tackled issues ranging from weapons of mass destruction and racism, through to the rights of indigenous people, environmental catastrophe and disease in refugee camps.
Working in groups divided into the General Assembly, Human Rights Council, and Security Council, the students represented different countries and were given real-time updates on conflicts and developing situations across the globe during realistic UN-styled ‘caucuses’ (assemblies).
Attending her first MUN, Edie Caruthers, a Year 7 student from Bohunt School, said: 'I’m very interested in politics and I like knowing what’s going on in the world and how it impacts me. Today I’ve been representing Guinea, which has a large population of indigenous people. We’ve been working out how to better protect their rights.'
Jamal Simon, a Year 11 student at London Nautical School, added: 'Symbolically MUN gives you the ability to change the world. This is something I’d love to get involved in as a career. It shows you how influential you can be and how much policy affects the wider world.'
Melissa Leach, Year 11 at St George’s School Cologne, was experiencing her first MUN and noted the challenges of international diplomacy: 'My group is representing Libya and we do a lot of research beforehand,' she said. 'The biggest problem is that not many nations want to work with Libya. It’s very interesting to gain an insight into how politics works and resolutions are passed.'
Edward Walker, a 2016 Regent’s graduate in International Relations and this year’s MUN Chair was impressed by the commitment of all the young people involved. 'I travelled twice to New York as an undergraduate to represent Regent’s at MUN and now I volunteer for the University,' he said.
'The notion of international relations has never been more valuable as the complexity of politics in the real world can increasingly impact anyone, whether you’re from London or Eritrea.'
Regent’s International Relations specialist and MUN coordinator, Sabrina White, commented: 'Students genuinely benefit from the mix of theory and real world situations in MUN.
'Our Security Council group has been managing a constant flow of information about threats to international peace, because the real Security Council has to do the same. They’re currently dealing with a drought, followed by flash floods and a cholera outbreak in the world’s largest refugee camp in Dadaab, western Kenya.'
Jess Gray, English teacher and Debate Club leader at Bishop Thomas Grant School has been involved in MUN conferences for several years and has every confidence in the political abilities of her students.
'My students are more determined than ever to become engaged with the world around them, so they can better effect change themselves. The impact of Brexit and [US President Donald] Trump has pushed a lot of them into action,' she said.
'Young people need confidence to operate on the same level as those who may have grown up in a more privileged environment, and Regent’s offers one of the best MUN events available to help them achieve this.'
For further information on Regent’s University London’s Model United Nations work and future events visit the Regent’s MUN page.
Schools that participated in Regent’s University London's 2017 Model United Nations conference:
- St Alban’s High School
- St John’s School Enfield
- Ricards Lodge
- London Nautical School
- Francis Holland School
- Presdales School
- Summerhill School
- St George’s School, Cologne
- Bohunt School
- Merchant Taylor’s School
- Pimlico Academy