The event welcomed 50 school students aged 14-18 to take part in organised debates focusing on global challenges ranging from terrorism and disease, through to drug trafficking and healthcare.
Working in groups divided into the General Assembly, Human Rights Council, and Security Council, the students represented different countries and were given ‘real-time’ updates on conflicts and developing situations across the globe during realistic UN-styled assemblies.
Tamara Djurovic (15) from ACS Cobham International School in Surrey represented France on the UN Security Council. She said: “We’ve been combatting militant groups, reviewing counter terrorism strategies and preventing the radicalisation of young people.
“We’re receiving ongoing updates so you really have to think on your feet. It’s challenging but great fun. MUN has definitely given me an insight into other countries’ points of view.”
There was also heated debate over whether the voting age for young people in the UK – currently 18 – should be lowered.
Students from Loughborough Grammar School were split on the issue. Zhing-Liu (17) said: “I don’t think 15-17 year-olds should be allowed to vote. We might have lots of ideas, but I’m probably not at the right age to make that sort of contribution yet.”
Sam Stevens (17) was all for the idea. “I thought I might be out of my depth at MUN, but the role play and sense of completion when a resolution is pushed through successfully is very rewarding.
“I think if young people aged 15 upwards were better informed about world affairs, then lowering the voting age would be a good idea. We might be more enthused if we knew we had a right to vote.”
Jess Gray, English teacher and debate club leader at Bishop Thomas Grant School in Lambeth has been involved in MUN conferences for the last three years and has every confidence in the political abilities of students taking part in the event.
She explains: “Seeing the students grow in confidence and challenge other people’s ideas is very rewarding. They get to access ideas and topics way beyond school level, and have to research their countries in great detail.
For further information on Regent’s University London’s Model United Nations work and future events: https://www.regents.ac.uk/events/youth-model-united-nations-conference.aspx