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Bringing the trophy home South African learners win awards at Model United Nations conference in the USA

Pretoria, 26 March 2015 — “We are bringing this home” enthused an excited Ketho Tshipala, a Grade 12 learner from Atteridgeville, a township outside Pretoria. Ketho holds a plaque proclaiming that the South African Schools team at the Washington Model United Nations Conference had won the award for Outstanding Small Delegation.

The 11 South African Model UN students in the chamber of the United Nations Security Council, New York,   17 March 2015 (Photo: Sudeshan Reddy)
The 11 South African Model UN students in the chamber of the United Nations Security Council, New York,
17 March 2015 (Photo: Sudeshan Reddy)

Ketho is a member of a group of 11 high school learners from all nine provinces of South Africa, from resourced and under-resourced schools, who joined 1300 other students from around the world as they simulated a series of debates in Washington DC earlier this month. In addition to the Outstanding Delegation award, four of the South Africans were awarded the title of Best Delegation in their individual committees. Following the awards ceremony in Washington DC, Linda Gould, Operations Director at Education Africa, a Johannesburg-based non-governmental organisation, described South Africa’s participation as a “good news story about our country’s future leaders”. Model United Nations is a programme in which students at both high school and university level assume roles of member states of the United Nations as they discuss and debate topical global issues. Funded and organised by Education Africa, with programme support from the United Nations Information Centre, the South African Model United Nations (SAMUN) programme has groomed a remarkable cadre of young leaders since its first debate programme 20 years ago as South African began its re-engagement with international organizations such as the UN. From being hosted by talk-show host Gail King at the CBS television studio, to a briefing at South Africa’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, from an impromptu chat with Minister of Labour Mildred Olifant outside UN headquarters, to interviews with UN Radio, the 2015 South African Model UN team proved themselves worthy ambassadors. Accompanying the students were two educators, Yvonne Reddy of Crawford College Pretoria and Collen Masopoga of Voortrekkerhoogte High School as well as Sudeshan Reddy, Communication Specialist at UNICEF South Africa. Mr. Reddy said the delegation “represents the best of the ‘born-free generation’ while embodying the values upon which the United Nations was formed 70 years ago.” To interview the students or for more information on SAMUN, contact: Education Africa: Tsholofelo Thema at 083 4505951 / 011 685 7300; or Linda Gould at 083 708 3591; UNIC Pretoria: Helene Hoedl, T: 082-313 0051/012-354 8504; E: UN Radio interview: South African student sees “bigger world” through Model UN