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High school diplomats debate at first University run Australian United Nations conference

Budding high school diplomats from across Queensland will rub shoulders with the Consul-General of Japan, Ms Keiko Yanai, at Australia's first university-run high school model United Nations (UN) conference next month (12 October).

The inaugural Bond University High School Model UN (BUHMUN) conference will give year 10 and 11 students the opportunity to represent a member-nation in a full-day debate on nuclear disarmament, which will simulate a real-life UN proceeding.

Consul-General Ms Yanai will deliver the keynote speech at the conference held at Bond University, sharing her experience in handling treaty negotiations and multilateral affairs, focusing on disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons, gained since joining Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1988.

Consul-General Ms Yanai, who is currently engaged in advancing the relationship between Queensland and Japan, has been an instrumental force in international negotiations and affairs for almost three decades.

Bond University Faculty of Society and Design Assistant Professor Mark Dinnen said Consul-General Ms Yanai's involvement would be invaluable to the students, who would discuss the topic 'towards a nuclear free world: accelerating the implementations of nuclear disarmament commitments'.   

"Bond University is focused on providing students with real-world experiences, and to enable our next generation of diplomats to be part of Australia’s first-ever university-run high school model UN conference is a great example of this," Dr Dinnen said.

"It is an incredible opportunity for the students to meet and hear from an international diplomat with decades of experience, and find out first-hand, what it might be like to pursue a career in the exciting, fast-paced world of international relations.

"Since 2012, the topic of a nuclear free world has been a mainstay of the UN General Assembly's agenda, so Ms Yanai's knowledge and experience in this area is a perfect fit for our debate topic."

Assistant Professor Dinnen said the event will provide a unique opportunity to high school students to test the UN waters and to better understand the area of International Relations.  

"There is strong evidence that being involved in a model conference such as this provides students with a host of technical skills that will boost their employability, including improved public speaking and critical thinking, as well as encouraging them to reach for their goals and embrace new opportunities," he said.

"High school students considering studying an international relations degree are encouraged to take part, but need to get in soon, as we have already been inundated with interest."

The BUHMUN is open to all Year 10 and 11 students. Registration is free, however numbers are strictly limited. For further information, click here

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