Benenden Model United Nations Conference, 9th December 2019

The Benenden Model United Nations conference, which took place this year for the twelfth time, is a prestigious event for senior schools in which pupils debate various current issues of global impact as delegates of countries, much like the United Nations would.

As the only prep school there, we sent two delegations:

Mary KB, Nathan L, Joe P, Curtis Y represented the Czech Republic, and Honor F, Delilah G, Chaya L and Eléanore M New Zealand.

The topics this year mainly revolved around Sudan and the Kurds, though some committee debates went off track to attack China’s human rights record.

All pupils had to make a short opening statement, briefly laying out their country’s position on the topic being debated in their committee, before more open negotiations on draft legislation commenced. Although nervous at first, our pupils soon learnt that underneath a lot of the verbal acrobatics lay simple bluster, and subsequently they grew more confident, especially as we had practised this type of discussion in the debating extra-curricular activity during term. Many made points of information and Mary even stood up to hold a short speech in favour of a resolution and, on opening herself to points of information, realised she didn’t understand what she was being asked by the other delegates! It is a steep learning curve, but ultimately all eight pupils enjoyed themselves and came back with their brains buzzing. We hope to follow up with a couple more MUN conferences in the course of this academic year so the lessons learnt from the Benenden Model United Nations conference can be applied in other settings.

Kornel Kossuth