Bucks pupils swap the school classroom for the international conference room

Last Friday (3 March), nearly 100 pupils from eight different secondary schools across Buckinghamshire swapped their classrooms for the conference room as they took part in a live action role-play event modelled on the global United Nations Conference.

The Buckinghamshire Model United Nations (Bucks MUN) Conference took place at the Council Chamber in High Wycombe. A total of 93 students took part, representing 27 different countries and five international media organisations.

The theme of this year’s event was Freedom of Movement. The students were asked to discuss and consider a range of topics linked to the movement of people around the world. From refugees fleeing civil war or natural disasters, to those proactively seeking to move to another country to pursue a better life, there are millions of people moving around the globe for a variety of reasons. The students taking part in the event were prompted to consider the impacts and implications of this movement in a humanitarian, political and economic capacity, both for the individuals and the countries involved.

The Bucks MUN event, now in its 12th year, is organised by Buckinghamshire Council in partnership with schools across the county, but the origins of MUN go back to the United State in the 1930s. Its aim is to engage students in current world affairs and develop communication, negotiation and debating skills. It helps students develop skills of enquiry, critical thinking and reflection as well as deepening their understanding of identity, diversity, equality and community. The event is designed to simulate the format of real-world international forums.

As part of the build up to the day pupils taking on the roles of country delegates prepared their position stance to present at the conference. Others attending took on the role of media correspondents. At the end of the day awards were presented to the pupils who excelled in a range of skills including public speaking, diplomacy, delivery and media skills.

Anita Cranmer, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said afterwards: “Congratulations to all the young people who took part in this event. They have truly immersed themselves in this activity. They have undoubtedly learned some valuable skills and gained knowledge of the world beyond Buckinghamshire.

“Some of these pupils could well be the negotiators, diplomats and policy makers of tomorrow and all our schoolchildren of today will have a future part to play in the continued protection of our planet and its people. The small lessons and insights they have learned as part of this event will help them in whatever job they pursue, so well done all.”