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High School diplomats shine at 2018 Model UN Conference

The Gold Coast’s Emmanuel College has taken out the top award for ‘Best School’ at the recent 2018 Bond University High School Model UN (BUHMUN) Conference.

Sixty-two Year 10, 11 and 12 students from across Australia were given a taste of what life is like as an international diplomat at the two-day conference, which simulates a real-life UN proceeding.

At a model UN, or MUN, student delegates adopt the persona of an allocated country and represent that country during a simulation of UN proceedings. 

The 2018 conference theme was ‘To End Poverty in All its Forms Everywhere’, with Christopher Lamb, a former Australian Ambassador and now Special Adviser to the Australian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the keynote speaker.  

Ambassador Lamb spoke to the students of his personal experience and the difficulties that diplomats face when dealing with other countries – with an emphasis on the importance of establishing friendships and networks, regardless of what career path students pursue.

Assistant Professor of International Relations, Mark Dinnen said the event challenges high school students to ‘think outside the box’, and also consider a career that they may never have thought of - that of the international diplomat.

“BUHMUN provides students with an introduction to how the world of international relations truly works - that it’s less about grand speeches in front a flag, and more about negotiations, designed to build support for a specific initiative,” he said.

“I think a number of students were challenged by being required to represent a position on an interest that they personally didn’t agree with, but most importantly, they realised that the world of international relations and diplomacy isn’t isolated to the elites and they themselves are able to have a say in matters of international importance.”

Yasmin Lewis, part of the winning team from Emmanuel College, said she and her teammates were ecstatic to receive the ‘Best School’ award.

“The conference was a multitude of social networking, confidence building and educational development, and the teamwork that was exhibited during the event was spectacular,” she said.

“BUHMUN 2018 enabled all of its participants to think critically about the international platform and the worth of relationships between nations - and understand the value of communication and compromise.

“All of us have a love and passion for international relations, and I truly believe participating in BUHMUN has set me on the path for a career in this exciting arena.”

Student delegate Ryan Beerling Dolovac of Southport State High School said the conference was informative and inspirational, and the skills he gained were invaluable.

“The skills of diplomacy, teamwork, networking, leadership, negotiation, and the knowledge of international relations that I gained during the event are essential components to careers in politics, medicine, business - and virtually all other fields of study in the modern world,” Ryan said.

“After attending the conference, I feel further empowered to continue my endeavours to improve the human condition through medical, social, and political innovation and I look forward to seeing how this conference grows to inspire many others like myself in the future.”

Michelle Gray, a teacher at Robina State High School, said the conference was an enriching and unforgettable learning experience for her students.

“I believe that connecting students with important, globally-experienced experts, such as Ambassador Christopher Lamb, opens their minds and can change their lives forever,” Ms Gray said.

“The BUHMUN experience is truly enriching and really is helping to shape the future leaders of our school.”

In addition to Ambassador Christopher Lamb’s keynote speech, the student delegates received messages of support from the United Nations Secretary General - His Excellency António Guterres, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade - Julie Bishop MP, and Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations, Grace Grace MP.

Minister Bishop’s inspirational message was particularly well-received by the delegates.

“As the next generation of leaders, your ideas and creativity will be fundamental to the role Australia plays in overcoming global challenges, while embracing opportunities for more cooperation,” she said.

“It is inspiring to see so many young Australians take an active interest in the work of the UN and the mechanics of international diplomacy.”

Now in its second year, the 2018 BUHMUM Conference - which is Australia’s first University-run High School Model UN conference - also featured a special screening of the political documentary ‘My Year With Helen’: a film about former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark as she campaigns for the position of United Nations Secretary-General, as well as working on global development issues as head of the United Nations Development Programme. The screening of ‘My Year With Helen’ was followed by a Q&A with the film’s Producer, Catherine Madigan, who had flown in from New Zealand to attend the event.

Below is a list of this year’s student and school award winners:

Committee One Award Winners:

  • Diplomacy Award - Taylor Jewell, Redlands College | Representing: Brazil
  • Best Position Paper - Charlie Turner, Queensland Academies Health Sciences Campus | Representing: Bangladesh
  • Best Delegation Award - St Andrews Lutheran 

Committee Two Award Winners:

  • Diplomacy Award – Duke Lawson, St. Andrews Lutheran | Representing: Paraguay
  • Best Position Paper - Ryan Beerling Dolovac, Southport State High | Representing: Sweden
  • Best Delegation Award - Grace Lutheran College

Security Council Award Winners:

  • Diplomacy Award - Meghaj Babu, Queensland Academies of Science, Mathematics and Technology (QASMT) | Representing: China
  • Best Position Paper - Vita Milojkovic, Benowa State High | Representing: Ethiopia
  • Best Delegation Award - Padua College

Best School Award:

  • Emmanuel College

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