Pretoria – A group of 12 high school students from throughout South Africa was last week awarded the Best Small Delegation Award at the Cornell Model United Nations Conference held in Ithaca, New York State in the USA. The students, from both resourced and under-resourced schools in all 9 provinces of South Africa, were selected at an international Model UN conference held at the historic Robben Island, off Cape Town in October 2009.
In addition, 7 of the 12 students won individual awards in the committees on which they participated which included the Legal Committee, the Department of Political Affairs and ECOSOC. Issues discussed included migration, regional integration, the MDGs, piracy, climate change and multilateral trade.
UNIC Pretoria is an active participant in the South African Model UN Programme and the delegation was accompanied by the UNIC National Information Officer, Sudeshan Reddy as well as representatives of the sole sponsor, cellphone service provider MTN and the NGO that manages the programme, Education Africa.
Prior to the conference, the students met with colleagues at DPI and were given a tour of the UN Secretariat building. In addition, the Dag Hammarjold Library arranged a short training workshop on Accessing UN Sources which was invaluable for the students in their preparation. Once the conference was over, the students were interviewed by UN Radio.
The South African Model UN programme is unique in its bridge-building between previously separated communities as it lives the ideals of the United Nations and gives one hope for the future of South Africa’s next generation.