MSJ MUN Conference
On Saturday 19 November we were proud to host the second one-day MSJ MUN Conference. Ten schools joined us for an exciting day of debate on world issues: King Edward’s School (Birmingham), King Edward’s High School for Girls (Birmingham), St Mary’s School Calne, Abingdon School, St Helen and St Katharine’s (Abingdon), Malvern College, Kings School (Worcester), Hereford Sixth Form College, Reigate Grammar School, and Wychwood School (Oxford). The Opening Ceremony featured a fascinating talk from Barney Mayhew, an ex-serviceman who has worked as a civilian on conflict and humanitarian aid for the EU, the UN and Christian Aid in Bosnia/Croatia, Rwanda and Congo respectively.
Our girls gain significant leadership experience from leading such a large, complicated conference including planning, critiquing briefing papers, running training sessions for Chairs, leading a complex team and liaising with various School departments. Chairing Committees and working alongside guest Chairs can be a challenge – it is not always easy to run a boisterous and volatile committee full of people you don’t know and keep it on track and focused on serious debate. Girls also run press and media teams and organise a lively social event to close the conference. This year The Brazil Olympics inspired a South American themed disco, where delegates were able to let off steam dancing to tunes such as ‘The Macarena’.
As a dramatic diversion, during the course of the day there were three ‘corruption busts’, where Prep girls dressed as police officers burst into debates and charged one of the delegates with accepting bribes.
We have had great feedback from attending schools, with Peter Ollis from King Edward’s School commenting “The Conference all ran very smoothly and our most experienced MUNer said on the way home that ‘it was one of the best conferences he had been to’ – praise indeed!”
Sasha Lloyd, Joint Secretary General, said “I started MUN as a shy Year 10 student who would never think that she would be able to organise and lead, together with Lucinda, MSJ’s second MUN Conference. Opportunities and capabilities are interwoven: we cannot realise our true capability without seizing an opportunity. I feel MUN is brilliant for this; for the newer delegates, the chance to ask a question from the floor which may lead to the position of Ambassador and even chairing a Committee in no time. Lincoln once said ‘I walk slowly but I never walk backwards’. This thought has stuck with me on my Model United Nations road. For me, this has meant small steps in participating more through Points of Information, amendments and seizing every opportunity to get to the front.”
Lucinda Hobden, Joint Secretary General, agreed “I've been taking part in MUN for several years now. I still remember my very first conference: reading nervously from a sheet of paper in front of a room full of scarily well-informed and intelligent people, I had to try and defend Syria's policies on Human Rights! MUN is never easy, but the skills it has given me since that first shaky speech are so valuable: researching into global issues, defending different points of view and forming bonds with other delegates.”