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Local students debate world issues at NorwichMUN

Students from Hethersett Academy at NorwichMUN

The threat of cyber warfare, the welfare state’s responsibilities, renewable energy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were all topics debated by students from four local schools in the inaugural United Nations-style NorwichMUN (Norwich Model United Nations) conference on this week (Wednesday 1 March).

Hosted at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and organised by UEA Model United Nations Society members, the debate was designed to give students a deeper understanding of international affairs and global politics, as well as the opportunity to develop their debating skills.

“Around 50 students from years 9 to 12 attended from Lowestoft Sixth Form College, Benjamin Britten Music Academy, Hethersett Academy and King’s Lynn Academy, taking part in what proved to be a lively and well-argued set of debates,” said Gemma Standen, UEA Outreach Officer. “Each team formed a committee, with a chair and vice-chair and members representing different countries, and researched and debated each motion.

“It was a great way to develop their public speaking, critical thinking and negotiating skills, as well as learn about important global issues and grow in confidence.”

Fred Carver, Head of Policy at the United Nations Association – UK (UNA-UK) and keynote speaker at the event, said: "It was a real pleasure to speak at the very first session of Norwich MUN. With so many of the issues that we face in the world today - such as climate change, cyber-crime and terrorism - having no respect for national barriers, it is so important that we understand how to change and influence our international system. Model UNs give people the knowledge they need to take control over the issues that will affect them. It was a wonderful event and I enjoyed it thoroughly."

Mike Masters, Hethersett Academy (students pictured above), said: “All students started off very self-conscious and quiet but gained huge amounts of confidence as the day progressed and finished up contributing to all discussions and even winning awards. The staff and student ambassadors from UEA were fantastic in working with our students and helped them gain confidence as well as an understanding of international relations, and of course our students were also working alongside the UEA students on a normal working day so they also gained a useful insight into what university life is like.”

Chloe Anderson, King’s Lynn Academy, said: “Everyone had a great day. They are all feeling really inspired by visiting UEA. The student ambassadors were amazing and really helped my students.”