A Unique Debating Platform

For over 23 years, schools across Manchester and from even further afield have competed in inter-school debate competitions known as Model United Nations. Conferences taking place over the course of the year in the region include MUNCH (Cheadle Hulme School), MGSMUN (Manchester Grammar School), and WiMUN (Withington Girls School), as well as MUNHigh (Manchester High School for Girls) this weekend on the 3rd/4th of February. These may range in length from one to two weekend days, and usually work in collaboration with a charity in order to raise funds from snacks and drinks sold during the conference. Incorporating a range of students from primary school to 6th form or college level, as well as encouraging a variety of skills from debate, technology, or media-related fields, hundreds of young people get involved in Model UN locally, and see it as a valuable skill to apply in all walks of life.

The practice of this is endorsed by the UN itself, by ‘sharing first-hand knowledge about the work of the UN at Model UN conferences; providing guidance with organisers to create accurate and authentic simulations; and encouraging Model UN clubs to take concrete action to support UN values and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).’ 

 Year 11 pupil Bethan Holding from Stockport Grammar School has participated in the activity since year 7, as a secretary, chair, and delegate, remarking that

MUN has helped me gain greater awareness of important world issues and provided the perfect environment to debate and discuss these topics, which has built my confidence and given me skills that will last a lifetime

While prizes help to fuel the competitive spirit at these events, it is the overwhelming community spirit and constructive social elements that keep students participating in Model UN. Funny acronyms in resolutions, joke awards, and gossip boxes signify the upbeat, lively nature of these gatherings. Not only that, but it facilitates meeting new people, improving public speaking skills and knowledge of international relations in the modern day.