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Pupils assemble to debate global issues at Model United Nations conference

Kingswood School in Bath played host to the 33rd Bath International Schools’ Model United Nations (BISMUN) conference, bringing together over 300 pupils from across the country to debate a range of global issues.

 

Over two days, pupils represented 73 member states of the UN, coming together to debate a range of issues facing the global community today, including Artificial Intelligence, LGBT rights, the Israel Palestine dispute, climate change and the rights of women. At Friday’s Opening Ceremony, delegates were welcomed by the Secretary Generals for the conference, Kingswood sixth form pupils Freddie W and Layla A, whose impassioned speeches set the tone of the level of debate that would dominate the weekend.

Freddie spoke powerfully about the fact that 2024 is set to be the year of elections, with 3 billion people heading to the polls around the world and the very real threats facing democracy today. He ended with a powerful call to call to arms, urging delegates to take a stand and protect a liberal world order that is faced with unprecedented challenges: “I’m here to ask you to stand up, to speak up and be heard. Question everything. Dare to be different. Step out of your comfort zone. Work with each other. And that is when progress is made. After all, the answer ‘I don’t know’ is the first step towards new knowledge. So go be proud of who you are, where you come from, where you are going. We are the future. Now go and change the world, because that is exactly what we need.”

The Opening Ceremony was followed by a period of lobbying, during which delegates sought to build support for their resolutions. Saturday saw a day of committee based debates on the issues on the conference agenda, before the conference climaxed on the Sunday with the popular emergency scenarios, where delegates were asked to respond to an unexpected international crisis; this year these ranged from a clash between NATO and Russia to a disease devastating the planet’s supply of wheat.

Mr Craig Woodgate, Kingswood School’s Head of Sixth Form and conference organiser, commented: “The BISMUN Conference is an excellent way for students to challenge themselves, as often they will be debating on positions that are different from their personal opinion. This process allows delegates to get a deep and multifaceted understanding of global affairs - as they learn about each country's position, interests and foreign policy.”

Layla A said of the conference and experience she gained: “The MUN has been a great way to meet new people and develop my speaking skills. It has encouraged me and the other students to solve problems through cooperation and negotiation and fosters awareness of international relations and world events. It has been a great way to get involved in current political debates and learn more about the different ways countries view key issues facing the global community.”

Mr Woodgate concluded: “BISMUN is perhaps one of the most prestigious, demanding, exciting, and useful extra-curricular activities. It offers the opportunity for the young leaders of the world to enhance their current skillset and learn new ones such as communication, cooperation, negotiation, diplomacy, policy and resolution writing, and interpersonal skills. We are delighted that it continues to be a popular extra-curricular activity on offer to Kingswood pupils, and that we demonstrate our commitment to this important opportunity by hosting the conference every year.”

Planning for Kingswood’s 34th BISMUN is already underway, and for any school’s who would like to find out more about the conference and get involved, please email reception@kingswood.bath.sch.uk.






March 2024