Sixth Formers from three Cheshire schools travelled to The Hague to take part in the International Model United Nations conference. The three schools, The Grange School, Cheadle Hulme School, and Alderley Edge School for Girls, formed a consortium and were collectively given the challenge of representing the interests of Israel.
Model United Nations is a simulation in which future diplomats and politicians are given a taste of what it is like to be part of a real life UN conference. This year’s conference involved 3500 students from all over the world in delegations of up to 18.
Each delegation is given a country to represent and the Cheshire consortium was given a particularly interesting challenge when they were asked to represent the politically complex country of Israel. This was not helped by Israel’s bombing of Syria during the week, which whilst technically not relevant for the conference (history is meant to stop when the conference starts for the purpose of the simulation), influenced opinion in the latter days.
The trip allowed for the delegates to visit the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the ICTY building opposite the conference centre, where they saw Radovan Karadzic conducting his own defence against charges of alleged genocide.
Participants at THIMUN (The Hague International Model United Nations) conferences are encouraged to seek, through discussion, negotiation and debate, solutions to the various problems of the world; questions of human rights, protection of the environment, economic development, disarmament, the problems of youth and of refugees, as well as issues of war and peace.
The research and preparation required, the adoption of views and attitudes other than their own and the involvement and interaction with so many other young people from around the world, all combine to give participants a deep insight into the world's problems, to make them aware of the causes of conflict between nations and to lead them to a better understanding of the interests and motivation of others.
Lower Sixth student, Hugh O’Shea said of the experience: “It was incredible! Meeting people from the country we were representing was eye-opening. It gave us a real-life perspective on the issues we were debating which no amount of research can offer. It was a pleasure to work with students from Alderley Edge and The Grange at the Conference. I learnt a lot from the different experience and expertise they brought to the team.”
Lower Sixth Form Grange School student, Andy Bennett, said: "The conference felt quadrilingual as there were that many languages being spoken in the lobbies. The whole experience offered me a huge insight into issues and the wider world and for me the best part was meeting students from so many different parts of the world. I also enjoyed working with students from two other local schools in our delegation."