Wenona at MUNA
António Guterres would have been very proud of our students last weekend, as they headed off to Epping Boys High to compete in the Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA).
More than ever, our students are exposed to news and media coverage that presents over-simplified or biased perspectives on world events such as racism, refugees, radicalisation, climate change, conflict and different approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participating in MUNA is an opportunity for our students to learn how to better negotiate the politics of information in today's world, equipping them to be effective local and global citizens, with a better cultural awareness and understanding of the world and their place in it.
Karoy (Year 11), Ivy (Year10) and Ally (Year 11) represented Bangladesh, forming part of the South Asia Bloc. Gretel (Year 10), Kalara (Year 10) and Emily (Year 10) represented Chile, forming part of the South American Bloc. With the support of International Development Coordinator, Mr Mikkelsen, our students spent several weeks this term researching their assigned country. They were also encouraged to wear their country’s national dress to the forum, with the official judging process encompassing presentation skills, as well as each team’s ability to debate issues convincingly, and demonstrate a high level of research, knowledge and insight. The students had to ensure they adopted positions that were consistent with the known views and behaviours of their assigned country. This meant they had to carefully evaluate and view their own cultural perspectives and practices in order to successfully analyse the beliefs and attitudes of their assigned country.
Emily, who was part of Team Chile, said, “This was my first time competing in MUNA, and it was such an amazing experience. I would highly encourage any student who is thinking about getting involved to do so. It was a wonderful opportunity to practice public speaking skills, meet new people from outside your school and to learn more about global affairs.”
Ivy in Year 10 from Team Bangladesh said, “I learned so many things from MUNA last weekend, not only about delivering speeches, but also about making friends. We were put into blocs for our event and we formed really good relationships within our bloc. We even made an Instagram group chat! We all tried to be really encouraging of each other, which was very uplifting. By communicating within our bloc, it also helped us to find out about all the amendments, so that we could take notes before an amendment was called on. Personally, I think it's important to seize any opportunity to have a say. If you're not called on for the normal session (which is quite likely), then try to promote an amendment and participate as much as you can for other country’s amendments. It’s very helpful to use humour or add a catchphrase to your speech, as well as engage with other countries. Lastly, just don't stress about it! Thing of MUNA as a great learning experience rather than a competition. It's nice to meet other people and make friends!”
Karoy in Year 11, who represented Team Bangladesh, said, “I really enjoyed the whole event, specifically making new friends and being able to learn more about my nominated country. It was also a pleasure to hear from some strong speakers and learn from them. Apart from improving my debating skills, it was a great way to practice teamwork, courage and to get myself up-to-date with information from around the world. The very principle of being a delegate is to prioritise your country's stance and to avoid expressing your opinion. This requires broad researching skills. If the debate becomes heated, you also need to take away any personal emotion and respond with logic and reason. I’d advise anyone who is interested in global affairs to get involved. You don’t need to have debating experience to do well in MUNA. I know some students worry about conflict, but really the debating is all about having fun. It’s a platform for making great friends, learning more and basically having a great time. It’s not your typical competition as countries have to work together and support each other to achieve their goals.”
Well done Wenona!