A mini session

A mini session

A school's enactment of a UN debate looks at global issues through students' eyes

Order, order!" KGV Model United Nations kicked off with a bang of the gavel last Wednesday at King George V School. The event, which is held yearly, imitates proceedings at the UN.

In the school's Model United Nations, students take on the role of diplomats. They debate, discuss and develop solutions to problems that plague the world. On the agenda this year was the global digital divide, which puts poorer nations at a social and economic disadvantage.

Students pointed to contradictions in a mock resolution that said freedom of expression was vital yet called for the regulation of information technology. As a result, "delegates" from the United States decided to remove clauses from their original resolution.

Hours of spirited debate concerned a US-led proposal for a United Nations Digital Fund and a World Digital Technology Day. Saudi Arabia proposed an amendment that aimed at setting up an organisation for allocating digital resources worldwide. The proposal was voted down, however.

Then delegates from Myanmar spoke up. Representing a country which is led by a military regime that blocks public access to the Internet, they urged western countries to "mind their own business".

Other countries also called on the US to stop interfering in other nations' affairs. "American capitalists want to create regime changes for their selfish interests, in the service of imperialism," they claimed.

Before the vote on the US resolution, a new crisis emerged. The students were informed that North Korea had just bombed a South Korean island.

The North and South Korean delegations responded by condemning each other. South Korea said two of its soldiers had been killed in the attack and called for "immediate condemnation" of the North. It urged "China and Russia to withdraw their support from North Korea."

The North Korean delegation said South Korea had provoked the attack through its threatening military drills. Caren Shin, a delegate for North Korea declared: "It was a pre-emptive strike against South Korea."

Secretary General Tony Chen, and General Assembly President Roni Hiranand mediated the heated debate. Alex Liao, a Year 11 delegate for France, took the floor. He condemned North Korea and urged other delegates to do the same. Delegates for the US did so, accusing North Korea of attacking civilians.

The Security Council decided to consider passing a resolution against North Korea at a later date.

With more than 60 participants, this year's mock UN debate made for a lively atmosphere. Model United Nations advocates awareness of word issues among students. It also hopes to boost young participants' confidence and negotiating skills.

Young people's awareness of global issues is vital as they will one day govern the world themselves.

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