400 students participated in the Model United Nations Conference which was held over the last two and a half days at Cork City Hall.
The conference was hosted by Davis College Mallow, and the students discussed the social, political, and economic issues that are facing Ireland today.
Participants also focussed on global issues as they debated the Russian invasion of Ukraine, hate speech and homophobia, and other pressing global issues as students debated and discussed real-life world issues.
Students from up to 30 schools in Ireland along with pupils from a school in Valladolid, Spain, assumed the role of delegates and represented different counties and non-governmental organisations as they debated resolutions in General Assembly, Special Conference, and Security Assembly on topics of pressing national and global importance.
Director of schools, Cork Education and Training Board, Pat McKelvey, said Cork ETB was proud to support such an esteemed event which has proven to be an invaluable learning experience for students over the years.
He said: “The Model United Nations Conference teaches students lifelong skills and is a fantastic way for them to research and learn more about pressing issues, not just for Ireland and the world, but issues that are relevant to them as young people and allow them to form their own perspectives and opinions and discuss them amongst peers.”
Jose Horta, Director of the Conference said the annual conference ran ‘seamlessly’.
“It has been brilliant. We had three assemblies going. The students love the whole concept of the conference. It runs so seamlessly. Many students who attend say it is the best thing they have ever done in school. We are very proud of them,” he said.
Mr Horta said that once the event commences it is student-led.
“The lobbying happens on the first day. They all have been researching for months and they arrive on the first day and they start lobbying. Students that have never met before from 30 different schools start writing resolutions. They then merge the resolutions and submit them to the approval panel. All this is run by students.
“The approval panel then decides the best resolutions which create great excitement. The resolutions that are selected are then debated over the next few days. The students then must speak from the perspective of the delegation they represent,” he added.
The Director of the Conference said students taking part in the event gain lifelong skills that they can apply in their future lives.
“There are so many benefits for students who participate. It is great experience for them. It is good for their confidence in terms of public speaking."
“Students are given freedom that inevitably produces unexpected results; they discover information that we as teachers often lack access to and, therefore, produce ideas that would never come to the fore,” he added.
Student and secretary-general of the Model United Nations, Peter Holland, said that working with the other chief staff members had helped him develop skills in teamwork and delegation of work. “I have no doubt that the skills I’ve developed will help me be more confident and capable in the future,” he said.
The annual Model United Nations Conference will be held in Cork city again year, from Tuesday, January 24 to Friday, January 27.