Pupils take part in mini-UN summit

Heavyweight agenda for gathering of young people in Dubai includes the Koreas and wars around the world.

Rachna Prakash, the headmistress at Delhi Private School, discussing about the International Model United Nations conference with pupils Jayesh Kaushik and Manan Lohia. Reem Falaknaz / The National
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DUBAI// The political situation in the Korean peninsula and the plight of indigenous peoples around the world will be among the subjects discussed during a mini-United Nations conference involving school children.

The International Model United Nations conference has been organised by pupils at Delhi Private School Dubai (DPSD) and will also involve students from Doha and India.

The three-day event runs from November 22 to November 24 and aims to help those taking part to develop critical thinking and debating skills.

“Just like the real United Nations the aim of our conference will be to discuss and debate a range of international issues,” said Jayesh Kaushik, 16, a DPSD pupil who was part of the organising team and believes it will help students learn about global issues.

“Although we have done two similar events before this will be the first time we will be getting international students from schools in Doha and India also taking part.”

The event is open to pupils in Grade 9 to 12.

“Typically these issues debated involve wars, spread of diseases and territorial disputes,” said Jayesh.

More than 100 pupils will take part, split into four committees where they will initially have to come up with solutions to a problem before sending the “resolution” to the general assembly for debate.

“At our conference we will be looking at the North and South Korean dispute, the protection of indigenous peoples and the threat of unmanned civilian drones,” said Jayesh.

“Those who take part get a huge benefit in terms of learning about the complexity of international affairs as well as developing confidence in themselves and meeting people from other countries.”

Manan Lohia, 16, helped to organise the event and is a chairman for one of the general assemblies.

“I’ve taken part in these kinds of debating events before but it will be the first time we will be getting to meet and talk to people from other schools in different countries,” he said.

“I have really benefited on a personal level from taking part in previous events because it really gives you confidence and helps you develop your personality.”

The delegates have to prepare extensively for the debates, studying the subject matter and the country they will be representing, said Manan. “They have to know the subject inside out.”

The students represent individual countries just like the real UN and are required to research their country’s policies and voting behaviour.

“They will also have to find which other countries they work with on international affairs,” said Manan. “The idea is that they get an understanding of how diplomacy works and some of the challenges they will have to overcome.”

Rachna Prakash, DPSD’s head of pastoral care, said the conference was initiated and organised almost completely by the students themselves.

“We as a school are particularly keen on getting pupils to understand that they are part of a global community,” she said. “They need to be made aware of the pertinent issues that are affecting the world.

“As they learn to become diplomats they quickly discover that it’s not as case of blaming other people or countries but solutions are found by working together.”

Rashmi Nandkeolyar, DPSD’s principal, said: “The important skills we hope to inculcate in our students through this platform are resolution of conflict through discussion, respect for divergent views, appreciation of different circumstances, global conflicts and issues and importantly leadership and collaboration.”

The school is also looking into sending some pupils to the United Nations in New York to see how the organisation operates.