South African Model United Nations learners to depart for International Model UN Conference in New York

By | 7 April 2010

Pretoria – On Saturday, 10 April, a team of young South Africans will leave to New York to participate in an international Model United Nations debate competition.

The team of 12 high school learners were selected through a series of simulated United Nations General Assembly debates held in all 9 provinces.  The 9 provincial teams competed against each other and against schools from Kenya, the United States, Ethiopia and the United Kingdom at an international Model UN competition held in Cape Town in October 2009. The winning team of four learners (from the Western Cape) and one learner from each of the remaining 8 provinces was selected by an adjudication panel comprising representatives of the United Nations Information Centre, the Model UN of South Africa and the University of Stellenbosch. This initiative is managed and coordinated by Education Africa, a Johannesburg-based non-governmental organization.

This programme is unique in that each team of four students comprises two from an under-resourced school and two from a resourced-school, thus promoting bridge-building and empathy. The UN agencies and the Department of Education are strong proponents of this initiative which is now in its 12th year of existence. Over this period, South African learners have won numerous awards and accolades (including Best Small Delegation for the past three years in a row) and are an illuminating, tangible example of the potential of tomorrow’s leaders. With September 2010 marking a decade of the Millennium Development Goals, this initiative exemplifies efforts to meet particularly Goal 2 which focuses on education.

The twelve learners will be accompanied by representatives from the United Nations Information Centre, Education Africa, the Model UN of South Africa and the sole sponsor of the programme, MTN. In New York, the delegation will be hosted by the South Africa’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations before they participate in the International Model UN conference at Cornell University. Among the topics to be discussed are human rights, chemical weapons, labour migration, gender equality, genocide, climate change, cyber warfare, humanitarian aid and drug trafficking. The learners will undergo a three day training period in Johannesburg from the 7th of April which will further prepare them for the international conference. Articulate, aware and confident, these 12 young men and women are proud representatives of both South Africa and the United Nations.

For more information, contact:
Ms. Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, UNIC Director
Mobile: +27 (82) 727 7784 or Tel: +27 (0)12 354 8505

or  Mr. Sudeshan Reddy, National Information Officer
Mobile: +27 (82) 563 5286 or Tel: +27 (0)12 354 8507

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