World issues debated at ‘UN Conference’

UN Conference 1Priestley students took on the issues affecting some of the world’s most controversial countries during a model UN debate.

The sixth formers represented Cuba, Iran and Saudi Arabia during debates held at Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College in Birmingham.

They won 10 awards for their lobbying, persuasive speaking and original resolutions.

“I think the biggest thing I took from the experience was confidence,” Lauren Wright, a former pupil at The Grange in Hartford.

“We had to argue our points in front of 150 people and we didn’t know what questions we were going to be asked so it was a tough challenge, but also a lot of fun.”

Lauren was joined by fellow Priestley students Mhairi Macaulay, Greg Horne, Luke Monks and Kyle Kirkpatrick at the Model UN Conference.

They spent three days as delegates as arguments raged about immigration, human rights and equality.

During the conference Lauren, who is studying A-Levels in Politics, History and Economics, took on the role of Iranian ambassador and argued the case for lifting US-imposed trade sanctions.

Strategy came into play when she prepped ‘friendly’ countries to ask questions that would help her counter criticisms from other nations. The hardest part for many of the students was arguing points they didn’t believe in themselves because they had to stick to their country’s view at all times.

However, once the debates were over so were the fierce rivalries.

“We all had lunch afterwards and found one other on Facebook,” said Lauren, who is planning to study at Bristol University.

Priestley Senior Tutor Mark Salmon said: “The students devised their own resolutions and represented their countries throughout which often meant tensions and arguments between our countries.

“They were a credit to the college and should be praised for their high level of engagement in debates.”

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