South African Model UN students scoop awards at International Model UN Debate Competition in the United States

6 April 2009 | Uncategorized

New York – A South African high school team of Model United Nations debaters has won the award for Best Small Delegation at an international Model UN debate competition held in the United States.

The team, comprising, 12 Grade 11 and 12 learners from both resourced and under-resourced schools from all nine South African provinces were tasked with representing both South Africa and Germany during the debates at the prestigious Cornell University this past weekend. In addition, all 12 of the students won individual awards in the various United Nations committees that they participated in.

The South African team competed against over 100 other schools, mostly from North America and the judges of the competition praised the efforts of the team for their consistently accurate and realistic portrayal of their foreign policies. The Cornell debates were the culmination of a nearly year-long training programme which involved high schools from throughout South Africa. Provincial training workshops are held in May where students are tutored on Model UN debating before provincial competitions are held in all nine provinces in August. This then leads to the best teams from each of the 9 provinces competing against each other in Cape Town in October where they spend the night on Robben Island experiencing fireside conversations with former political prisoners on the issues facing our world today. The 12 students selected in Cape Town, collectively representing all the provinces and the economic diversity of South Africa, then start preparing for the April debate in the United States.

A Johannesburg-based non-governmental organisation, Education Africa, has taken the lead in implementing and, this year, funding this globally unique programme which partners resourced with underresourced schools, learners and educators. The programme also has the active endorsement of the United Nations agencies in South Africa with the United Nations Information Centre being the focal point there.

Since its inception in 1995 under the auspices of former President Mandela, the South African Model United Nations Debate Competition for High Schools has changed the lives of its participants as they become informed about and embrace the issues that face humanity today. Sudeshan Reddy, the National Information Officer at the United Nations Information Centre describes the programme as “a unique and rewarding initiative that introduces young people to new ways of thinking about the world that they will inherit.”

The South African Model UN students return to South Africa on Wednesday morning, 8 April 2009.

For more information please contact:
James Urdang or Linda Gould at Education Africa at: 011 888 6043 ( / or Sudeshan Reddy at the United Nations Information Centre (

Below is a breakdown of the awards:

DISEC Committee
Verbal Commendation – Tsholofelo Tema and Joyce Pooee
Outstanding Delegate Award – Tshegofatso Malope and Constance Gaanagomo

Outstanding Delegate Award – Meladi Manamela and Thandukwazi Buthelezi

Honourable Delegate Award – Kudzai Nyaumbe
Best Delegate in Committee Award – Maseabata Mdee

Best Delegate in Committee Award – Dexter Munnik

Outstanding Delegate Award – Nicholas Greig

Honourable Delegate Award – Verusha Mudaly
Best Delegate in Committee Award – Sarah Hewitson