Pupils step from the classroom into the conference room at Model United Nations event

More than 100 pupils from secondary schools around Buckinghamshire swapped their regular classrooms for the conference room and the world of international relations earlier today (Friday 1 March), as they took part in a Model United Nations event hosted by Buckinghamshire Council.

Taking place at The Gateway offices in Aylesbury, the pupils from Year 9 took on the task of representing 32 different countries, coming together to discuss the topic of Food Poverty and Sustainability in the day-long activity. The conference mirrored the structure of a United Nations debate, encompassing all the formal processes, professionalism and language typically associated with such discussions, giving the pupils first-hand experience of what a real-life debate would look like.

The event, now in its 13th year, is organised by Buckinghamshire Council in partnership with schools across the county, but the origins of Model United Nations go back to the United States 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 and Education said: “It is always a delight to see the students truly immerse themselves in the experience. It has been a very intellectually stimulating and engaging event for everyone involved. It may seem like a world away from a normal school day but the skills these young people have learned by taking part in this event are invaluable and will be useful for the future in a variety of ways.”