On Sunday 13th February, students from Oxford International College (OIC), d’Overbroeck’s (DVB), and Oxford Sixth Form College(OxSFC) came together in hosting our first ever inter-school Model United Nations Conference.
The conference lasted the whole day with non-stop productivity and discussion, as delegates aimed to write and pass resolutions addressing the topic of: “Tackling the Exploitation and Mistreatment of Refugees”, a very topical issue with many stakeholders in the modern era.
After delegates presented their well-crafted opening speeches declaring their stances on the issue, we promptly formed three blocs, some with more ‘extremist’ agendas than others.
Resolution writing was very productive, with nations coming together to formulate solutions to various aspects of the problem. How do we welcome refugees while maintaining national security? How can we express sorrow for refugees when first world nations directly fund some wars that lead to their suffering? What international standards should be set for refugee camps? All critical yet complex questions to address.
Elegantly hosted by the chair and co-chair Alexandra Cheung and Daniel Chan, the debating phase revealed many creative solutions to these problems, and the delegates attacked and defended each point well, identifying issues within these well-crafted resolutions. For example, the delegate of Germany’s bloc pledged to raise the standards of food provided, the delegate of Spain’s bloc called for university programs encouraging refugees to take on superior studies, and the delegate of Venezuela’s bloc aimed for a total withdrawal of all foreign troops from the Syrian civil war.
We also have more comedic moments, as delegates tried to defend clauses blanket banning all Afghans and North Koreans, solving racial discrimination by sorting refugees into camps segregated by race, and forcing all refugees everywhere to learn English.
Conflicts of interest were identified within these resolutions, and delegates argued for and against passing amendments and resolutions. Overall, two of the three resolutions passed with an overwhelming majority.
Every delegate thoroughly impressed Alexandra, Daniel and me, and having to choose just four delegates to win awards was very difficult. In the end, the prizes were awarded as follows:
Best Delegate: Sara Romero Banfalvi (Spain) of OxSFC
Highly Commended: Ariel Mo and Esther Tam (Bangladesh) of DVB, and Anson Ho (Venezuela) of OIC
Best Opening Speech: Estel Dulaku (Mexico) of DVB
Overall we all had a great time and made many new friends. Alexandra, Daniel and I were delighted that everyone went out of their comfort zones to speak, especially considering this was a first for many. Public speaking is a valuable and versatile skill to develop from a young age and is helpful in any career path. This conference aimed to be a beginner-friendly introduction into the MUN format, and in that regard, I believe it was a very successful event.
I once again thank Naomi Richards (DVB), Kathryn Aveyard (OxSFC), Alexandra Cheung (OIC), Daniel Chan (OIC), and every delegate who participated in the event for making it a truly remarkable experience.
Terence, President of the MUN Society
Anson Ho, Delegate of Venezuela, who was Highly Commended, shared his experience, “In the OOOMUN interschool event, I collaborated with fellow students from different schools to create viable resolutions. Each of these students offered their unique views on the problems at hand, which widened my perspective and taught me the importance of evaluating multiple viewpoints before making a decision. It also allowed me to create comprehensive solutions to the current refugee crisis, which was the main topic for the conference.
All in all, it was a great experience to be able to interact with these enthusiastic students, and I look forward to having another conference with them.”