A team of Bond University students have scooped the pool at the 2012 Asia-Pacific Model United Nations Conference, bringing home a swag of awards, including Best Overall Delegation.
The 19 students won a total of ten awards between them – including two Honourable Mentions, five Diplomacy awards and three Best Delegates.
But for the team’s Head Delegate, International Relations / Journalism student Ashleigh Peplow Ball, the highlight was hearing Bond University announced as the Best Overall Delegation.
“We didn’t ever imagine that we would be in the running for the overall prize so everyone was jumping up and down when the final announcement was made.”
The annual Asia-Pacific Model United Nations Conference (AMUNC), held this year at Melbourne’s La Trobe University, attracts the best and brightest tertiary students from Australia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
The 2012 event, which ran from July 8 to 13, was attended by an estimated 700 students, representing over 25 universities, some of which sent teams of up to 60 delegates.
Under the conference theme of ‘Rights, Recognition, Responsibility’, the students are assigned to represent different countries on various committees for a week-long series of debates and addresses.
“The Bond team sat on 14 committees that all replicate the real-life UN in terms of structure, protocols and operation,” said Ashleigh.
“For example, I was assigned to represent Japan on the UN Development Program committee while other team members sat on the International Criminal Court, ASEAN, UN Human Rights Council, Food and Agriculture Organisation, the European Commission and so on.
“Preparing for the conference involves researching our assigned country’s foreign policy and their stance on the topics that will be discussed so we can present their position and argue their case as the respective committees work towards a resolution.
“From a learning perspective, it’s a fantastic opportunity to research a country and its issues in depth, as well as experiencing how the UN works in practice.
“I think most of the students would also agree that the practice you get in public speaking is a huge benefit, helping to build your confidence in speaking with authority on a range of topics in front of large groups.”
As President of Bond’s on-campus Model United Nations Student Association (BUUNSA), Ashleigh has been instrumental in generating more student interest in the group.
“Previously we’ve only sent small delegations to AMUNC and we’ve never won a delegation award,” she said, “but I’m really interested in international affairs and saw an opportunity to get a lot more people involved.
“We run model UN sessions on campus every semester and host various charity events, like BondAids Week which is coming up in December.
“As a result, we had 40 students apply for the 19 delegate positions we had available for this year’s AMUNC.”
The team have now set their sights on the World Model UN Conference which will be held in Australia for the first time next year.
“World MUN is the most prestigious and highest level Model UN that students can attend and we’re hoping to send a strong delegation of at least 15 students,” said Ashleigh.