Worldly wise: boys get to grips with international diplomacy

A Model United Nations Conference was a challenge in more ways than one for the seven QE pupils involved – but they rose to it magnificently.

The boys represented Rwanda and Qatar in debates on topics that brought together practical politics and moral dilemmas.

The topics on the agenda for the event held at Benenden, the Kent girls’ boarding school, were the:

  • Militarisation of space
  • Protection of rights of the LGBTQ+ community
  • Issue of capacity-building in failing states
  • Integration and assimilation of migrants into new environments.

""Physics teacher and Extra-Curricular Enrichment Tutor Georgina Garfield, who attended with the boys, said: “The conference was excellent, with some fascinating debates. You’d think that Rwanda wouldn’t have a vast amount to say about whether or not we should have weapons in space, for example, but that team – and, indeed, both teams – researched everything so thoroughly that they were able to participate and represent their countries really well.”

And Year 12 pupil Nikhil Shah said: “It was an amazing experience to participate in an event where I could take on the role of a delegate of Qatar, even though it was challenging to voice opinions which are at odds with my own.”

""After the debates in the individual committees, all the delegations met in the hall for the General Assembly, where a resolution that had been passed in SPECPOL (Special Political Committee) was debated in more detail. The resolution was in relation to capacity-building and essentially said that education should be a key priority in trying to improve failing states. Year 13 pupil Shayen Sathiananthan took the floor, speaking in favour of the resolution for Qatar; he took ‘points of information’ from delegates of other countries. “The rest of our delegates were also keen and confident, and challenged the views put forward by other delegations,” said Miss Garfield.

In addition to Nikhil and Shayen, the QE representatives were: Tej Mehta, of Year 11 (representing Rwanda); Mipham Samten, of Year 11 (Rwanda); Zayn Riaz, of Year 12, (Rwanda); Dhruv Kanabar, of Year 12, (Qatar), and Atul John, of Year 12 (Qatar).

""Zayn said: “The conference was an insightful experience and helped me understand the importance of cohesion between member states in the UN.”

The boys are now working to prepare for a mini-conference to be hosted by QE soon. They will also be representing Mexico, Germany, Senegal and India at a Model United Nations conference at The John Warner School in Hoddesdon in February.