Helsby Model UN trip to LSE YouthMUN
From the 8th-10th of February, myself and 3 other students from Helsby Sixth Form’s Model United Nations Club travelled to the London School of Economics to take part in YouthMUN, a 3-day Model United Nations conference, to discuss ways to combat Neo-colonialism in Africa and promote growth on the continent.
For the past few decades’ African nations have been exploited by global superpowers through a form of new colonialism, or as it was coined by Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah, Neo-colonialism. Countries like China, France, Japan, the UK and the USA have bought up large areas of land, engaged in high cost predatory loans and have capitalized on the wealth of natural resources that are abundant on the continent – all at the expense of the poorer African nations.
It’s easy to forget that over the dissonant racket of domestic policy and Brexit negotiations, there are global issues like Neo-colonialism that need global solutions through global governance. This is where the United Nations steps in, specifically in the case of Neo-colonialism, the Special Political and Decolonisation Committee (SPECPOL) which is the UN’s Fourth Committee.
Model UN simulates meetings of UN conferences; delegates represent countries who sit on these committees and advocate their national position. The four of us attended the SPECPOL conference with Rebecca K representing Qatar, Tom G representing Spain, Joseph M representing Sweden and myself representing Jordan.
For three days we engaged in heated debate alongside other students, discussing how to prevent and manage the plethora of issues in Africa, such as mineral exploitation and corruption; whilst still allowing African nations to receive the aid and investment that is pivotal for development. The issue of maintaining national sovereignty was of paramount importance, so as delegates we had to tactfully negotiate changes in domestic policy in African nations without infringing upon their right of free governance.
This was our first Model UN conference outside of school, so at first it was challenging especially when were we debating alongside some of the top schools in the country (we were the only state school attending!). But through our dedicated preparation resulting in binders full of research and data, we were able to excel in the competitive environment and effectively promote constructive ideas of reform on the continent.
Model UN has been incredibly helpful in improving our public speaking as well as our ability to put forward coherent academic arguments, which will no doubt help us in our future studies. There has been unanimous consensus that MUN will be something we will continue to do at university level and that YouthMUN has given us more than adequate preparation for future conferences. The knowledge we have gained on the issue of Neo-colonialism has been invaluable in improving our understanding of global politics.
A special thanks must be given to the Sixth Form History and Politics department, especially Mrs M Marvin our MUN coordinator for the trip, for providing us with the necessary support and guidance. Although the club is student run, the department has been very helpful in accommodating the club’s needs.
As Year 13 students, we are in our last year of study – this is why we would urge younger students from years 10, 11 and 12 to consider taking up Model UN as an extra-curricular activity. Model UN is such a wide ranging, facilitating activity that strengthens skills such as: public speaking, debate, teamwork and negotiation.
If you are a year 10, 11 or 12 student at Helsby and interested in Model UN please speak to Mrs Marvin for details.
Head of Helsby Model UN Club