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Auckland Model UN a Rewarding Event

Alanna Santoso (Year 11)

Over a weekend in March, a group of year 11 and 12 students from Sancta Maria College attended the Auckland Model United Nations, a massive regional event of over 500 attendees, held at Auckland University.

Run by UN Youth New Zealand, AMUN is an immersive 2 day event simulating life as a United Nations delegate. High school students are able to represent different countries, investigate world issues, partake in debates and be inspired to make a change.

Representing Sancta Maria College as delegates were Stella Cranwell (USA), Jennifer Joseph (Niger), Harini Pushpakumar (Ireland), Alanna Santoso (Canada), Maryam Shah (Bangladesh), Kathleen Shi (Finland), Chesca Zambrano (Venezuela), Jennifer Zeng (Venezuela).

The first day involved the attendees being split into different groups, or committees, where we were taught how Model United Nations worked, and were able to start debating topics such as Intervention in Civil War, Food Security & Changing Ecosystems and Privacy & Data.

With delegates from countries all around the world, we were able to debate a ‘resolution’ to the topics presented, and develop a plan of action. An example being, restricting a government’s access to its people’s online information when it came to the Question of Privacy & Data. The different perspectives coming from countries in differing situations simulated a real world conference, with alliances and backstabbing coming from left, right and centre.

Lunch for day 1 was a delicious vegan curry and dessert from Sustainability Network, enjoyed by all.

After lunch committees were split into two groups: North Korea and South Korea, to negotiate between the two countries. For some committees, this activity resulted in peace, while for others, the tense rivalry continued.

On Sunday morning we arrived at the venue bright and early for another busy day. We started off with a second committee session, debating yet another global issue. We then rejoined as a group to listen to some inspirational guest speakers: Mazbou Q, Dylan Asafo, Helena Fuluifaga Chan Young and Kirsty Ashleigh, who talked to us about Active Solidarity.

This was followed by the 500+ attendees being split into 3 big groups, sent to different lecture halls to do a larger version of the committee sessions. These “Plenary Sessions” were debates on the Question of Advanced Technology, and deciding what countries should do when it came to technology quickly improving globally. With more delegates than in the previous sessions, there was a representative from every country in the United Nations, and multiple from the larger countries.

While serious topics such as using lab-grown organs and genetic engineering did arise in the active discussion, some joke amendments, or changes to the resolution, were debated. Topics ranged from countries being allowed to use robots as a defence system, to questioning the existence of COVID-19.

Overall, the weekend was an incredible experience for all involved and we would definitely recommend for everyone to participate next week. Special thanks to our high school ambassadors Samara Anubhav, Stella Cranwell and Jennifer Zeng for getting us all prepared!