The Model United Nations (MUN) society at Notley High School & Braintree Sixth Form has continued to grow this year. This is an extra-curricular group led by Braintree Sixth Form students, who this year have worked with a number of Year 11 students at Notley each week to develop their understanding of the MUN and to help them prepare for a conference. The Model United Nations gives students the chance to assume the role of a representative of countries which are part of the United Nations, researching issues of global importance, debating in committees and general assemblies and putting themselves in the shoes of world leaders.
After some weeks of preparation, thirteen students from Notley High School & Braintree Sixth Form represented the countries of Ethiopia, Libya and Bolivia as delegations to the Felsted MUN conference on 3 and 4 March 2019. For most of our students, this was the first conference they had attended, and this was a great chance to learn how the procedures and protocols of debates work in practice. Seventeen other schools from across the region were represented alongside our delegations, and this chance to meet other students and work alongside them is one of the great elements of MUN.
The theme of the conference was 'Responsible Production and Consumption', and students explored this in a number of ways in their committees, looking at issues such as access to water-based infrastructure in the Levant region and the management of global food distribution and waste. They also discussed wider issues such as the complexity of the geopolitical situation in the Middle East, and the effects of migration. Brad Frankel, of 'Flooglebinder', led workshops with students on sustainability and consumption, and students were tasked with coming up with a model for development involving their countries, both developed and less developed, thinking about the relationships between the two and the importance of winning consumers over to a vision. Notley students worked on two initiatives, one involving coffee beans and the other with environmentally friendly packaging, and it was fascinating to hear these presented alongside those from other groups. Brad Frankel commented later to staff that he felt from his work with the students that the future is in safe hands - they were energetic and innovative. His keynote about our responsibilities over production and consumption was listened to with rapt attention by all the delegates, and interspersed with interesting facts - I had never known before that Sri Lankan elephants hate citrus, while African elephants are keen on citrus! This knowledge has been helpful in developing strategies for sustainability and conservation in Sri Lanka, and he certainly gave students material for thought.
Well done to all the students involved and a special thank you to all those Braintree Sixth Form students who support the group, including those not able to be present at this conference.
Mrs M Townsend
Assistant Headteacher – KS4