08 February 2016
The Sevenoaks School Model United Nations delegation returned home from the Netherlands tired but cheerful last week after an incredible performance at the annual THIMUN conference in The Hague.
Every year, 4000 young people from around the world gather at the World Forum conference centre, a venue often used for international summit meetings, including the 2014 nuclear security summit attended by Barack Obama, Ban Ki-moon, Xi Jinping and David Cameron. Students represent delegations of different nations and discuss ways to tackle pressing world issues, presenting self-written UN-style resolutions for debate.
The Sevenoaks MUN ethos has always been a clear one – we prefer to step back from the role-playing aspects of a conference like THIMUN and focus more on finding genuinely viable international solutions to problems. We were therefore pleased to be representing a relatively neutral country like Mauritius; of the 16 students in our delegation, nine were chosen to be main submitters of their resolutions and six of these nine resolutions passed, our best figures for a number of years and one of the best performances by any delegation at the conference. However, even these excellent statistics do not describe the extent of the commitment and skill with which our delegates lobbied, negotiated and debated throughout the week.
As well as performing so successfully in their various committees (Disarmament, Environment, Human Rights and so on), the students were also able to see a little of The Hague, an important world city in the sphere of international diplomacy and justice. We were invited to a preview screening of the documentary The Uncondemned which explored the judicial response to the genocide in Rwanda, and our students were able to ask questions both to the director of the film and to an ICC judge who had been part of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. We also spent and afternoon at the MC Escher museum, a brief but highly enjoyable respite from the intense work of the conference.
Overall, it was a fantastic trip; the students involved learned a huge amount about a wide range of global issues and even more about how to negotiate with people from all around the world in a variety of ways, a skill which they will no doubt be using a great deal in their future lives.