By Brandon Lewis, Social Studies Teacher at Nibras International School
It was both an honor and privilege to represent Nibras International School and the UAE at the first International Schools Partnership (ISP) Model United Nations conference, held at Laude The Lady Elizabeth School in Alicante, Spain.
It was organized by a very enthusiastic team of highly capable and motivated students who have Model United Nations (MUN) experience, and supported by ISP committees in Spain, Mexico, and the Middle East. The conference brought together ISP students from across the globe to provide the best possible experience and learning opportunity for all participating students – and it did not disappoint!
‘Together We Make a Difference’ was the theme for this conference, and it was designed to provide opportunities for likeminded students to bring about global betterment by improving their understanding of political issues, international affairs and to establish and develop diplomacy, debating and public speaking.
At Nibras International School, we aim to take multiculturalism a step further by encouraging our students to grow as “internationally-minded” thinkers and inquirers. Exposure to authentic learning experiences like MUN is paramount in developing students’ critical faculties and leadership abilities.
The power of networking through friendly, cross-cultural connections is another quality to be acknowledged and gained through such events.
“I am from everywhere and everywhere I am going…”
This slightly adjusted quote from philosopher and intellectual architect of the Cuban Revolution Jose Marti, perfectly describes the predicament of Nibras MUN in Spain as our truly diverse group of dedicated scholars commanded attention everywhere we went—from Fontenebro School in Moralzarzal and the plazas of Madrid, to the mountains of the Costa Blanca and the streets of Barcelona alike.
Indeed, it was a unique position we found ourselves in. Whilst there, in preparation for our conference, Nibras MUN employed several avant-garde methods including impromptu public speeches. Yet, the journey to get there was toilsome to say the least, as it required that MUN students meet on Saturdays and daily after school for several weeks—not only for Model United Nations practice but also to help organize and prepare activities for International Week and fundraisers on our campus; all of that while staying on top of their studies in their individual classes.
Chance opportunities like Model United Nations have resounding effects in the lives of young people— as was such with me as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique—and the resulting transition into “global citizens” is truly what the world needs more of.
Yet I witnessed other transitions as well, for although it is true that some students are natural MUNsters, many find that they are not; but ANYONE can do it, given the proper exposure, guidance, and motivation in an internationally-minded environment like the one I created with this MUN group.
Please view the presentations the students put together, sharing their feelings about the trip, as well as the successes and challenges that come along with putting such a big event together in such a short period of time.