MUN Workshop January 2016: The Day Itself

Saturday 23rd January dawned bright and sunny and it promised to be a lovely day. Students started arriving at Ayalde at 9am and by 9.30, we were ready to start the workshop.

The morning session (9.30 – 1.30) comprised of building two resolutions clause by clause. The first resolution was about Fracking and the second about Terrorism. Each delegation started by making a Policy Statement before debating clauses and amendments began.

The students started off a little reticent but soon started to get the hang of it. It was quite obvious which students had already attended conferences as they were very confident using the debating rules. However, the ‘new’ students made a real effort to participate by asking Points of Information and soon started to volunteer to speak for or against clauses.

The morning passed very quickly and the students successfully produced a resolution on both topics. After the lunch break, the afternoon session (2.30 – 4.30) was open to parents, teachers and the directors of Ayalde, the American School of Bilbao and St. Georges English School.

During this session – a mock General Assembly, the delegates debated and voted on the two resolutions they had written during the morning. Both resolutions were approved by the delegations. After the closing speeches, everyone went to the school’s txoko for a well deserved drink and snack.

The feedback from everyone, the students, parents and teachers, has been very positive. Everyone agreed it had been an amazing experience and the students had learnt much from the experience to help them in their preparation for future conferences.

The Press and Media team were kept very busy interviewing people, taking photos and videoing. Videos can be seen at:

https://vimeo.com/152998840

The plan is to repeat this conference next year, and hopefully have other schools from the local area attending.

 

Students´Comments:

Christina Connell, Chair: The MUN conference last Saturday in the school was amazing. Even though it was not a real conference Nicola made it look pretty much alike and it worked perfectly. The debate was vivid and we ended up with two great resolutions.

It was my first time chairing and I was delighted with the experience. Now I can’t decide whether I want to apply for being a chair or a delegate in Royal Russell MUN in October!

All of us enjoyed the experience to the fullest and I can assure certainly that it was a great practice for everyone. Now we can’t wait to the next one!!!”

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Maddalen Lázaro, Delegate for Iran: Monica Barturen and I were both in the delegation of Iran. Together we found out our country’s point of view by doing a lot of research and meeting up during our break time to discuss what we had found out.

During the beginning of the assembly we were both extremely nervous, as we hadn’t been to anything like it before. Nevertheless Monica and I were able to participate and find out what the conference is really like. We had lots of fun and we’re both eager to go to our conferences. This Saturday was a great experience and a fun way of learning how MUN assemblies work.

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Leyre Tejedor, Secretary: The MUN workshop has been a new experience for me, because even if this year I went to Royal Russell, I was a judge for the ICJ (International Court of Justice), and the procedure used in the ICJ is totally different from the one used in MUN. In the workshop held in Ayalde last Saturday, as a secretary, I was able to experience MUN at its finest, and I really enjoyed it. I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in international politics or economy, and likes speaking in English.

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Ana Guillen, Delegate for the Russian Federation: Nicola did her best for achieving what we call a “mini MUN conference”this last Saturday. She’s full of energy and illusion and has lots of ideas to make this become bigger and bigger in Bilbao. We (Ayalde) and the American School of Bilbao are glad with the workshop last Saturday. We studied two important issues of today’s world, Fracking and Terrorism, from the point of view of different countries. We worked in English and we debated them, so it was great for us.

To sum up, I would say it’s an honour having been a member of this little conference and I encourage Nicola to carry on with her goals. Now, let’s get ready for Prague!

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Tadea Lopez-Tello, Delegate for Afghanistan: Last Saturday, we participated in a MUN workshop with the American School and it gave us the confidence to participate and prepare ourselves for the next MUN in Prague. It really helped us and I’m already looking forward to the next one.

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Sofia Perez-Sasia, Delegate for Finland: Last Saturday, people involved in the MUN program did a workshop at Ayalde. There, we debated amendments about Fracking and Terrorism. With those amendments that had passed we wrote a resolution.  In the afternoon, we debated both resolutions. Our parents and the headmasters of the American School of Bilbao and Ayalde watched us while we were debating.

I found it a very useful experience as it was, very easy to stand up and talk. People with experience helped the ones without it and I think everyone participated and enjoyed this activity.

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Valvanera Boogen, Delegate for Germany: Last saturday, we had a Model United Nations conference rehersal, where we discussed about two topics, fracking and terrorism but we also needed to have a basic general knowledge about our country and the countries who were also taking part in. I found it really interesting and enjoyed a lot . We are lucky to have the oportunity to take part in this activity which makes us learn a lot about whats going on in the world and it also enriches our education: our English, speaking in public and encourages our confidence too. I loved it and i’m looking forward to attending the MUN confrence in Prague.

Ana Yepes, Wistful Participant!: Last Saturday, 23 of January, some students from Ayalde School and some from the American School organized a mini-MUN conference. I heard about this right now so I can not say very much, but I think it is a good initiative for the students. I would have liked to participate although I have no time. It would have been a good experience and a great opportunity to improve my English, because it needs to be improved!

 

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MUN Workshop January 2016: Preparation

Whilst attending the conference hosted by Royal Russell School in October 2015, I met with two teachers from the American School of Bilbao (ASOB), Nina Franco and Terry Howard. Terry had recently joined ASOB from the International School of Helsinki and was introducing MUN into ASOB.  We decided it would be beneficial for our two schools to get together to practice writing resolutions, debating and voting in preparation for future conferences. We set the date for Saturday 23 January 2016.

After some brainstorming, we decided we would spend the morning practicing writing two resolutions on Fracking and Terrorism and then open up the afternoon session to parents and guests so they can watch the students debating and voting on the two resolutions as if it was a General Assembly.

The students will be representing 12 members of the UN and have spent the last month researching the two topics and their countries. In total, there will be 41 students attending as delegates, 2 chairs, 2 secretaries and 2 press/media team.

Students’ Comments:

Sofia Pérez Sasia: for the workshop we have been researching, first of all information about the country we are going to represent, then how has that country been influenced by the topic discussed (eg terrorism), and finally the other countries’ position with regards to this topic.

This activity gives a lot of experience when facing problems, develops persuasion skills and makes us feel more comfortable with the language. We hope that apart from learning a log from this conference, we will have a good time and meet new people. We expect that it will be a successful activity that will be repeated in future years.

Christina Connell: Royal Russell MUN last October was one of the most enriching experiences I ever had. Never before had I felt so useful to a world we are all building together and that will soon match our dreams, hopes and expectations.

MUN opened my eyes to what the future may look like, a future in which the world is home to everybody as we are all working towards acheiving that goal.

I knew what the UN did, but participating in MUN only made me realize I was missing a lot of its essential work.

The greatest feeling I could had asked for after this incredible opportunity is to feel that there is a lot to be done in the world, but a lot I can give myself.

Now I couldn’t be more happy to be chairing the MUN Workshop in the school on Saturday as a main part of building our future together.

 

 

Ayalde at Royal Russell School October 2015

After last year’s successful introduction to MUN, Ayalde has once again attended the international conference hosted by Royal Russell School in Croydon. This year’s conference took place between 17 – 21 October and was attended by 516 students from 43 schools across 15 countries. Ten girls from 1 and 2 Bachiller attended, accompanied by Nicola Dignum (MUN advisor) and Belen Orbea.  Five girls represented Greece, four girls represented Kuwait and one sat on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as a judge.

The students worked very hard preparing for the conference and participated very well.  Several students either had their resolutions discussed in their committees or merged it with other delegates.  They also managed to make several points of information and speeches at committee level and during the General Assemblies (GA).

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Students´Comments:

Christina Connell (Kuwait Ambassador):Attending the MUN conference has been the most gratifying experience I’ve had so far.  Being part of the Environmental committee has introduced me to problems our nature is suffering from and has made me even more conscious of the urgency to deal with them.  I was lucky as well to enter the Crisis Committee which has really shown me how all the States members of the UN work together to solve out problems which may not be directly affecting their country.

It’s been a memorable experience which I cannot entirely express just with words and which I’m extremely thankful for, but I’m gonna try doing it by thanking Nicola, in the first place, and my parents. I’ve learnt tons over different topics as well as developed my skills in debating and English.  It has been such an honour and privilege to take part in what will define the future of the world.

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Tadea Lopez-Tello (Kuwait):Having been able to attend the MUN conference has been an amazing experience which I´m extremely thankful for. It has been a great opportunity, not only to learn about all the big problems that the UN countries are fighting to solve every day, but also to improve our English and meet new people.

I was in the Ecofin committee where we debated questions like micro-financing and child labour which are problems that a lot of UN countries are suffering from nowadays and we tried to make the best resolution possible for each issue to combat them.

It has been a pleasure to be part of this conference in which for four days we have been the delegates of one of the most important organisation in the World.

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Maria Lazaro (Kuwait):My committee was Disarmament and International Security 1 (DISEC 1) in which many topics that are present in our society were discussed, such as: cyber warfare, preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, immunity for UN peacekeepers breaking local laws and the use of torture in warfare.  During the three days of our committees, we presented our resolutions, discussed amendments to the resolutions that had passed the approval panel and finally voted in favour or against them.  At the end of the conference, one of two passed resolutions from each committee were selected to be debated at the General Assembly (GA) with the same procedures, except no amendments were allowed.

During the Royal Russell School International Model United Nations (RRS IMUN), I learnt numerous things that could help me in the future.  First of all, the English level was extremely high as most of the attending schools came from English speaking countries.  Nevertheless, the rest of them also had a vast knowledge of the language as well as the subjects at hand.  Speaking in the committees in front of 50 to 70 people was very nerve-racking, practising speech in front of our English classes helped me become more self-confident in that matter.  The overall experience of going to England, taking part in an international conference with over 500 students from all over the World and visiting London has been excellent.  This has been the highlight of my year and the teachers who put up with us during the duration of the conference (four days) are to thank for having organised the trip and making sure that no one got lost in-between.  I highly recommend it to others as great English practice, a good speaking and listening exercise and lots of fun!

Alba Arias (Kuwait):During the MUN conference I have had the honour of being part of the Specpol 1 committee where four of the most important issues of today´s world were debated: Migration, Piracy at Sea, Libya and Guantanamo Bay.

This conference has been the most rewarding experience I have had. Not only because I have learned a lot of things about many important issues that are affecting our world right now but also because it has give me the opportunity of meeting different people from other parts of the world.  In fact, if I had to underline something I would highlight the politeness and kindness of the people specially the members of my committee who make me feel comfortable all the time.

Finally, I would like to thank Nicola for providing us this amazing experience which I think none of us would never forget.

Teresa Garcia-Navarro (Greece Ambassador):I am Teresa García-Navarro and I took part in the RRS IMUN 2015 as a delegate and the ambassador of Greece. I sat on the special globalisation committee and wrote a resolution about the status of patents on treatments for HIV/AIDS.

It is my second year attending this conference and I find it an amazing and unforgettable experience. Some of the things that impressed me the most were the high level of all the students and the huge effort they all did to prepare the conference. However, what I enjoyed the most was, definitely, meeting so many people from different countries and cultures.

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Ane Gil (Greece):Attending MUN has been a memorable experience which I’m very grateful for being able to be there. It made me realize the problems we suffer nowadays which we usually ignore due to the fact we tend to focus only on our problems. It also gave me the insight of how a real UN conference works. You shouldn’t miss this opportunity.

Sara Perez (Greece):Participating in the MUN conference has been a wonderful experience, which I’m very grateful for. Apart from improving our English, it has enabled us to get to know more deeply some of the World’s most important problems and to develop debating and speaking skills. Although it has implied a lot of work and effort, it has definitely worth it, so I recommend every student who is given the opportunity to attend this conference to go through it and to get involved in it as much as possible.

Sofia Sasia Perez:The MUN conference at Royal Russell has been a very instructive activity. Being part of the SOCHUM 1 committee has made me feel more conscious of problems such as the protection of rights of Roma people or the freedom of religious expression on social media. Moreover, the ability of the students to debate has delighted me and that is why I would like to promote this activity to help the younger grades. However, we also had a social side which has been incredible; meeting knew people from different nationalities and sharing cultures has shown me how little Spain is in comparison to the world and that we should to take a step back and have a more global vision of the world.

Personally, I would like to thank Nicola Dignum for the effort to prepare us and for the opportunity she proposed to the school, also I would like to thank the school for the carrying out of the activity. It has been an extraordinary opportunity to assist to this conference.

Marina Rodriguez (Greece): A couple of weeks ago, I have the opportunity of being part of MUN, which means being part of one if the greatest experiences anyone could have in life.  I have always wanted to be involved in something big and transcendental, something with the aim and strength to change the world.  I joined MUN to get started on that purpose, although I didn´t expect as much as what it has been.

MUN has given me so many things. I have met many people from many different countries thanks to who I have been able to get aware and really concerned about lots of problems in the world we do not pay attention to.  Especially within my committee, Special Political and Decolonization 2 (Specpol 2) I have learnt about human rights and the sufferings caused by bad actions of some people. In addition, my fellow delegates have taught me respect, tolerance and determination, the key components necessary to try and change the world. The skills to debate and solve problems and the immense and intense work of all this UN machine was spectacular. I have come back incredibly enriched and I am sure I will carry these days with me all along my life.

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Leyre Tejedor (ICJ):This year I went to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at Royal Russell School. In the ICJ, unlike in the MUN committees, we simulate a trial where a case of International law is discussed and judged.  Just like in a real case, there is a court, two sets of advocates for the respondent and the applicant respectively, judges and witnesses.  The whole ICJ program is run my Mr Stern, an American lawyer that guides us and answers any questions we have about the functioning of International law.  I was part of the court this year and the case we had to judge was about the possession and proliferation of nuclear weapons, where the Marshall Islands accused India, Pakistan and the UK.

For me, the ICJ was an incredibly educational experience, and I have learnt a lot about International law, the functioning of a court, debating and what’s going on in the World today.  I’ve also met many interesting people from different countries and made lots of friends.  Overall, I had an amazing time in the ICJ and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in studying International law.

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Ayalde at Royal Russell School October 2014

Between 18 and 21 October five Ayalde girls attended the 33rd International MUN hosted by Royal Russell School in Croydon (www.royalrussell.co.uk). There were 416 pupils from 30 schools from 11 different countries including Japan, USA, Germany, Italy, Greece, Norway, Finland, France and Uzbekistan. Ayalde was the only school from Spain. The students formed 83 delegations and sat on ten committees.

The students spent at least six months prior to the conference researching and preparing information about their country, New Zealand, and the topics of their committees. Ayalde performed very well during the conference, and came home with a ‘Distinguished Delegate’ award.

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Comments from the Students:

Isabel Sabin:On 18th October I went to England to take part in a simulation of the United Nations called MUN. There, my schoolmates and I represented New Zealand and we had to defend the country’s point of view on several worldwide issues. In my case, I was the Ambassador and I had to do the Opening Speech in the General Assembly. This was completely new to me because I was not used to speaking in front of so many people and, what’s more, in a different language. I also participated as a delegate in the Economic and Financial Committee. In this context, we debated different financial topics. For example we specially focused on the question of Tax Havens being used by Multinational Corporations. After presenting my Policy Statement, I achieved to make two Points of Information to Pakistan. After living this great experience, I have realised about the importance of being aware of our world’s concerns. Also, with this voyage I have improved many competent and communicative skills. And, the most important, not only I did learn a lot but I also enjoyed myself and I got to know many students from varied nationalities.

Isabel´s Opening Speech can be seen at: http://youtu.be/1RAdJAUJpsk at 1hour 39 minutes

Isabel´s Policy Statement can be seen at http://youtu.be/PWI_okQfryo

Eugenia Gomeza:My committee was Disarmament and International Security 2. From the four topics, I choose the one about the Spratly Islands for my resolution and to make my Point of Information. I choose this topic because I thought it was a big problem we could try to solve.  It was great to hear the delegates debating about different topics and also to take part in the General Assemblies where I learnt alot. It was a great experience and I hope to repeat it next year.

Teresa San Roma:I sat on the Disarmament and International Security 1 Committee in which we discussed questions such as Israel’s nuclear weapons or the immunity of peacekeepers. My resolution was about removing and disarming chemical weapons from combat zones and I merged it with the delegate of Germany. I also joined the Crisis Committee to create a resolution about a coup in the Balkans. Nicola Dignum was responsible for coordinating this project and Maria Arzua travelled with us to England. We all enjoyed very much.

Teresa´s Policy Statement can be seen at http://youtu.be/oS8B0JMkSGg

Teresa Garcia Navarro:I sat on the Environment Committee as a delegate of New Zealand. The topics to debate were the questions of deforestation, elephant and rhino poaching, hydraulic fracking and allowing the use of genetically modified crops in farming, in which I wrote a resolution from New Zealand’s point of view.

During the debates in the committee I made a point of information and I tried a few times to do another one in General Assembly, but the Chair did not give me the floor.

From the MUN I have learned some debating skills, as well as English. In addition, I have met people from all around the world and from different cultures. However, what I find the most important is that I have realised how mature, polite, smart, nice and outspoken teenagers, like me, can be. Meeting these people has encouraged me to try to attain those qualities.

Patricia Rey-Baltar:This year, some classmates and I have been participating in a really interesting conference in the UK called Model United Nations. This four-day-long conference is internationally well-known and its aim is getting students to debate about current issues and meeting new people from all over the world. We represented New Zealand and I was in the “Special Political and Decolonisation Committee 1” which discussed topics such as the question of Syria, Thailand, piracy at sea and malaria the one I wrote a resolution on. Although my resolution didn’t pass, all the debate was fascinating and I enjoyed it a lot. The way some students talked in public, their being respectful to everyone else and the seriousness they worked with were some things that caught our attention for good. Thanks to Nicola, the teacher that has organised the whole trip for us, we have learnt a lot of new things and benefited from this great opportunity.

Patricia´s Policy Statement can be seen at http://youtu.be/g9BaHSCkQA4

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