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Model United Nations Conference

Friday 10 October heralded the inaugural De La Salle Model United Nations Conference. The day was born from the idea of John Buchanan, a College Leader who desired to promote internationalism and highlight the increasing need to act as a global citizen.

The topic addressed on the day was ‘Responsibility to Protect (R2P): Towards an end to mass atrocity crimes’. Preparation began in August Term 3, as students needed to know their allocated country inside and out in order to outline their country’s stance and history regarding the topic, propose amendments to the R2P resolution, and debate their relevance or potential impact given who they were representing or aligned with.

With the assistance of the United Nations Association of Australia (Victoria Division), De La Salle hosted the full day event, which involved the participation of 82 students and eight schools from within the region. To begin the day, student delegates heard from guest speaker Rebecca Barber, Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Advisor at Save the Children Australia. The acting Secretary General for the day was Adjunct Professor Ian Howie from RMIT University – a former UN official.

Once the General Assembly came to order and proceedings began, there was no doubt that each school’s preparation had been thorough and a high calibre of discussion and debate followed. Supervising staff watching on the sidelines were impressed with the sophistication and maturity with which delegates engaged each other. Indeed, their ability to apply depth of knowledge and critical thinking skills was also commented on by Professor Ian Howie in his closing statement.

The Model United Nations experience pushed students to think with greater insight and complexity. The conference also emphasised the weight of responsibility on the shoulders of country delegates in trying to balance domestic and foreign interests in an international diplomatic setting. De La Salle looks forward to making the event an annual one.

Ms Olivia Wenczel
College Leader Coordinator

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